During The Future of Gaming Event on June 11, Sony finally gave the masses their first official look at the upcoming next-generation game system, the Playstation 5. And while most just wanted to get a glimpse, the event gave us details on the powerful new system and the games the system will launch with including GTA 5 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales and more.
The problem with launch events is when a new system releases, there’s always a lot of specs and numbers thrown around, and while some are pretty straightforward, some of it might as well be trying to read the wrong side of IKEA directions. And with a holiday 2020 release date, who has time to figure that all out? So we’ll break them down for you as well as give some insight on when should you get it, what does that mean for the PS4, and what makes the new system so good.
For those who want to watch the presentation themselves:
Here are our cliff notes:
Release Date: Holiday 2020 (Yes, despite coronavirus and everything else that’s going on) Sony says the system is on track for a holiday release. They do expect less demand, so if you want bragging rights, better get in line early.
Cost: TBD – But early reports are saying anywhere from $499 to $699
CPU: AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
GPU architecture: Custom RDNA 2
Memory interface: 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
Memory bandwidth: 448GB/s
Internal storage: Custom 825GB SSD
IO throughput: 5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)
Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot
External storage: USB HDD support (PS4 games only)
Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray drive
There will be the main model as well as a digital-only edition with similar specs, but it won’t have a disc reader for those who don’t want physical copies of games piling up.
While we can go into several areas to dig into the specs, probably the most important to note is the custom internal 825 GB SSD memory. While it is less than the 1 TB, the X Box series X at launch or the PS 4 Pro, it will allow for more control of your use of storage. The most straightforward example of this is being able to control how you install and remove games. For instance, in massive games like Call of Duty, you could install just the campaign and not the multiplayer or vice versa. It will also reduce load times and texture pop-ins.
The easiest way to explain everything else as well as put into perspective as to what’s the big deal about the PS5 and its close competitor the X Box Series X is, well, comparison.
CPU and GPU
Under the hood, the PS5 will be using AMD’s 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (at variable frequencies). The X Box Series X seems to be running a similar setup, so processing speed will be based on factors like games and how everything comes together.
Now the GPU which handles the graphics. Everybody runs custom AMD Chips. The difference is in speed and utilization. When you think speed, the current buzzword is TFLOP or Teraflop, which means trillion floating-point operations per second. With all the nuance in gaming and performance, this gives people at least a base way to make an oranges to oranges comparison. So at a glance, you can see that the PS5’s 10.3 is almost 2 and a half times more powerful than the 4.2 put up by the PS4 Pro. But that also means that the X Box Series X has them both beat at 12. The PS5’s frequency speed will vary depending on the speed needed from operation to operation and game to game shooting for efficiency while the X Box Series X chipset won’t fluctuate between speeds.
On the surface, this means the X Box Series will be able to run content at 8K, cut lags times, etc., while the PS5 will be optimized for 4K and VR. But where this also is important is in backward compatibility. The PS5’s chipset looks more like an emulator for PS4 games, while the X Box Series X will be capable of dragging previous generations’ games to the future.
Both systems offer backward compatibility with X Box Series X clearly in the lead here with a more of a holistic approach making almost it’s entire library going back to X 360 available. That approach makes sense because when it comes to exclusive games, Playstation still reigns supreme. Currently, the PS5 will be compatible with the majority of the top 100 PS4 games but announced a slew of upcoming releases, including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West, Gran Tourismo 7 and GTA 5. While the most notable forthcoming release for the Series X is Halo Infinite.
What about the PS4?
Now with that being said, there are a few other things you need to consider when buying a system– or at least I do, especially after the whole Nintendo Wii U fiasco. Or even the early days of the PS3, where people weren’t exactly happy with the offerings or the system. Some will run out immediately to go get a system. And to you, I say, fortune favors the bold. And if I’m sold on a system, I will jump in as well. But sometimes it’s not that simple as some people still are happy with their PS4. So let’s talk briefly about shelf life and price drops.
Just because the new system is coming this holiday season doesn’t mean the PS4 is on the verge of extinction. The PS3 launched in November 2006, and production didn’t stop until 2016. The last game for it was FIFA 19, released in 2018. Meaning it had a 12-year life cycle– a full 5 years after the PS4 was released in November of 2013. The PS2 held firm for 13 years before Sony stopped making it. So if trends hold, the PS4 will be around at least for another 4-5 years, depending on how fast people move to the PS5. And a big part of how fast that happens will be price.
While we aren’t sure of the price of the system yet, initial reports say it will come between $499 and $699. Sony will be wise to watch this carefully as overpricing nearly doomed the PS3’s initial launch. The PS2 initially launched at $299 and didn’t see a price cut for a year and a half. The PS3 had several models, but the first significant price drop itself was after a year. So holding to that trend, we might see the first price drop on the system between a year or two later again, depending on demand.
As we get closer to the release, we are sure to hear more about pricing, supply, and games coming down the pipeline. But at least now you have a little more information to help you make an informed decision in a few months.