Sony revealed a bit of information about its next generation console, probably called the PlayStation 5. In an interview with Wired, Mark Cerny, a leading systems architect for PlayStation 4, spoke about his work on the successor to PS4.
In the interview, Cerny confirmed that the next generation of the PlayStation is partly based on the PS4 architecture, which means that it is compatible with previous versions. Cerny also revealed that it is not a fully digital device and supports physical disks. The Wired article describes the transition from PS4 to PS5, as indicated by Cerny, as "smooth," adding that several games will be released on the PS4 and next generation console. The description of a smooth transition indicates that the PS5 will be an iteration on the PS4, instead of being drastically different from the way the PS3 was from its predecessor.
Installed on the console will be an AMD chip that has a third-generation Ryzen-based processor. It will have eight 7-nanometer Zen 2 microchip cores. Although the console supports 8K, the display at this resolution will depend on the recovery of the TVs.
The graphics, meanwhile, will be driven by a customized version of Radeon's Navi line. This graphics chip will support ray tracing, something that is starting to become popular in movies and video games. Although traditionally considered a lighting technique, Cerny says there are implications beyond the creation of realistic environments.
"If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if enemies can hear the players' footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that," he explained. "It's all the same as catching lightning through the environment."
In fact, audio is one of the major improvements that Cerny is interested in talking about. The AMD chip will allow 3D audio, and that, according to Cerny, is key to immersing the players more deeply. This naturally led to discussions about the PlayStation VR, and although Cerny has not confirmed whether a new version of Sony's headset will be released, the existing one will be supported.
"I will not go into the details of our RV strategy … besides saying that RV is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console," he confirmed.
Another important leap that the next PlayStation will make comes from your hard drive. According to Cerny, developers have told Sony that they want solid-state drives on new hardware, as opposed to the slower equivalents used on today's consoles. These SSDs are relatively prevalent now on laptops, and what Sony is bringing to the next PlayStation is described as being specialized for the hardware.
Cerny demonstrated the change an SSD introduces in the game by comparing an Insomniac's Spider-Man loading sequence to a standard PS4 Pro and a next-generation PlayStation development kit. At first, it was about 15 seconds, while in the second it was 0.8 seconds. This, Cerny added, has implications for how the world can also be processed, which in turn affects the speed with which Spidey can move around the world. In new hardware, the camera moves around the city much faster, as hardware is able to keep up with rendering requirements.
Discussing the SSD, Cerny said that "the raw read speed is important, but also the details of the I / O [input-output] mechanisms and the stack of software that we put on them. I have a PlayStation 4 Pro and then put an SSD that costs as much as the PlayStation 4 Pro – it could be a third faster. "
Cerny did not provide details about any of the services or a broader overview of PlayStation's vision for the next generation of games, focusing on the essentials of its hardware. Currently it is unclear when the console will be fully revealed. Traditionally, Sony would have released its new PlayStations at E3, but the company will not have its usual press conference this year. That leaves PlayStation Experience, one of its new state of play streams like Nintendo Direct, or a stand-alone PS5 ad event as possibilities – that is, assuming it plans to unveil the PlayStation 5 this year.
Nor is it clear when Sony plans to release the PS5. In May 2018, Sony's video game director John Kodera said the new PlayStation was three years off. "We will use the next three years to prepare the next step," he said, "to lower us so that we can jump higher in the future."
Although Sony's plans are still unclear, Microsoft's plans are starting to come into focus. The company is scheduled to hold an E3 press conference this year, and Xbox director Phil Spencer said it will be "as big at E3 as we have been." In 2018, Microsoft confirmed that a new Xbox was in development, and we are expected to see this next generation console at E3 2019. More immediately, it has been suggested that an all-digital Xbox One S will be announced soon. . As the name implies, this new console would not accept physical disks and would be designed around downloading and streaming.