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The PlayStation 5’s Big Reveal: Bigger, Badder, & Backwards Compatible

Playstation Logo PS5 news

Since its release in 2013, the PlayStation 4 has been one of the most reliable home video game consoles on the market and a superior follow up to the PS3. Now, six years later, Sony is now releasing some of the details of the upcoming unnamed console, currently dubbed “PlayStation 5.”

Wired has reported that Mark Cerny, lead architect and producer of the PS4 and Vita, is saying that this new console will not just be an upgrade, but potentially allow for “fundamental changes in what a game can be.”

One of the things the new system is boasting about is about attempting to be the first console that is able to incorporate ray tracing, “a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments.” According to Wired, the benefits of the technique are mostly visual, because “it mimics the way light bounces from object to object in a scene, reflective surfaces and refractions through glass or liquid can be rendered much more accurately, even in real-time, leading to heightened realism.”

Cerny promises that, if done right, it’ll be more immersive for gamers, but it’s not just visuals they’re looking to improve but audio, as well:

“The AMD chip also includes a custom unit for 3D audio that Cerny thinks will redefine what sound can do in a videogame. ‘As a gamer,’ he says, ‘it’s been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.’

“The result, Cerny says, will make you feel more immersed in the game as sounds come at you from above, from behind, and from the side. While the effect will require no external hardware—it will work through TV speakers and visual surround sound—he allows that the “gold standard” will be headphone audio.”

All of this is great, but for me, the thing that caught my eye the most during this report was news of the inclusion of an SSD (solid-state drive). SSDs for the Xbox One and PS4 exist as upgrades, but they aren’t exactly the greatest, especially when compared to how SSDs work with laptops. Testing has shown that the PS4/PS4 Pro consoles only barely benefit from the upgraded speed of SSDs, but the difference is much bigger for the PlaySation 5, being built to take advantage of SSD speed from the start.

Cerny, in the piece, is able to show that the in-progress SSD is able reduce a 15-second load time to a .08-second load in the PS4 Spider-Man game. This will allow games to pull massive amounts of data out of storage much more quickly, letting games flow more freely and quickly while maintaining huge scale.

And yes, it’ll be backwards compatible with PS4 games, which is what I really care about beyond more space. The Wired piece elegantly breaks down the hardware aspects of the system, and I’d recommend reading the whole thing if you want the full alphabet soup breakdown. Still, it’s exciting to know that Sony and PlayStation are working to create something brand new and push console gaming forward again.

As a loyal PlayStation customer, I look forward to seeing what this new generation will bring to the table—and how much it’ll cost me.

(via Wired, image: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.