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tclittle Professional Forum Ninja from Somewhere Down in Texas
Professional Forum Ninja
Apr 16th 2019 at 5:45:48 AM

I wouldn't be starting this thread, but it looks like this is official information given exclusively to Wired.

Playstation Twitter announcement.

Original Wired article.

Arstechnica article for those who may have used up Wired's free articles.

Tl;dr:

  • 8 core AMD 7nm Zen 2 based on third generation Ryzen
  • Ray-tracing support with custom AMD Navi GPU
  • Custom AMD unit for 3D Audio, also aided by ray-tracing, a big upgrade
  • Extremely fast high-end custom SSD storage faster than any solution currently available for PC
  • New Virtual Reality platform strongly hinted at but also supports current PSVR
  • Physical Media
  • Backwards Compatible with at least PS 4
  • Four years in development so far
  • 2020

    Full Article 
Mark Cerny would like to get one thing out of the way right now: The videogame console that Sony has spent the past four years building is no mere upgrade.

You’d have good reason for thinking otherwise. Sony and Microsoft both extended the current console generation via a mid-cycle refresh, with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 spawning mini-sequels (the Xbox One S and PS 4 Pro). “The key question,” Cerny says, “is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be.”

The answer, in this case, is the latter. It’s why we’re sitting here, secreted away in a conference room at Sony’s headquarters in Foster City, California, where Cerny is finally detailing the inner workings of the as-yet-unnamed console that will replace the PS 4.

If history is any guide, it will eventually be dubbed the PlayStation 5. For now, Cerny responds to that question—and many others—with an enigmatic smile. The “next-gen console,“ as he refers to it repeatedly, won’t be landing in stores anytime in 2019. A number of studios have been working with it, though, and Sony recently accelerated its deployment of devkits so that game creators will have the time they need to adjust to its capabilities.

As he did with the PS 4, Cerny acted as lead system architect for the coming system, integrating developers’ wishes and his own gaming hopes into something that’s much more revolution than evolution. For the more than 90 million people who own P S4s, that's good news indeed. Sony’s got a brand-new box.

A true generational shift tends to include a few foundational adjustments. A console’s CPU and GPU become more powerful, able to deliver previously unattainable graphical fidelity and visual effects; system memory increases in size and speed; and game files grow to match, necessitating larger downloads or higher-capacity physical media like discs.

PlayStation’s next-generation console ticks all those boxes, starting with an AMD chip at the heart of the device. (Warning: some alphabet soup follows.) The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into $10,000 high-end processors, no game console has been able to manage it. Yet.

Ray tracing’s immediate benefits are largely 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. According to Cerny, the applications go beyond graphic implications. “If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that,” he says. “It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”

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.

One of the words Cerny uses to describe the audio may be a familiar to those who follow virtual reality: presence, that feeling of existing inside a simulated environment. When he mentions it, I ask him about PlayStation VR, the peripheral system that has sold more than 4 million units since its 2016 release. Specifically, I ask if there will be a next-gen PSVR to go alongside this next console. “I won't go into the details of our VR strategy today,” he says, “beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.”

So. New CPU, new GPU, the ability to deliver unprecedented visual and audio effects in a game (and maybe a PSVR sequel at some point). That’s all great, but there’s something else that excites Cerny even more. Something that he calls “a true game changer,” something that more than anything else is “the key to the next generation.” It’s a hard drive.

The larger a game gets—last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2 clocked in at a horse-choking 99 gigabytes for the PS 4—the longer it takes to do just about everything. Loading screens can last minutes while the game pulls what it needs to from the hard drive. Same goes for “fast travel,” when characters transport between far-flung points within a game world. Even opening a door can take over a minute, depending on what’s on the other side and how much more data the game needs to load. Starting in the fall of 2015, when Cerny first began talking to developers about what they’d want from the next generation, he heard it time and time again: I know it’s impossible, but can we have an SSD?

Solid-state drives have been available in budget laptops for more than a decade, and the Xbox One and PS 4 both offer external SS Ds that claim to improve load times. But not all SS Ds are created alike. As Cerny points out, “I have an SSD in my laptop, and when I want to change from Excel to Word I can wait 15 seconds.” What’s built into Sony’s next-gen console is something a little more specialized.

To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS 4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS 4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. (He’s not just an systems architect; Cerny created arcade classic Marble Madness when he was all of 19 and was heavily involved with PlayStation and PS 2 franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Ratchet and Clank.) On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.

That’s just one consequence of an SSD. There’s also the speed with which a world can be rendered, and thus the speed with which a character can move through that world. Cerny runs a similar two-console demonstration, this time with the camera moving up one of Midtown’s avenues. On the original PS 4, the camera moves at about the speed Spidey hits while web-slinging. “No matter how powered up you get as Spider-Man, you can never go any faster than this,” Cerny says, “because that's simply how fast we can get the data off the hard drive.” On the next-gen console, the camera speeds uptown like it’s mounted to a fighter jet. Periodically, Cerny pauses the action to prove that the surrounding environment remains perfectly crisp. (While the next-gen console will support 8K graphics, T Vs that deliver it are few and far between, so we’re using a 4K TV.)

What else developers will be able to do is a question Cerny can’t answer yet, because those developers are still figuring it all out—but he sees the SSD as unlocking an entirely new age, one that upends the very tropes that have become the bedrock of gaming. “We're very used to flying logos at the start of the game and graphic-heavy selection screens," he says, "even things like multiplayer lobbies and intentionally detailed loadout processes, because you don't want players just to be waiting."

At the moment, Sony won’t cop to exact details about the SSD—who makes it, whether it utilizes the new PC Ie 4.0 standard—but Cerny claims that it has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for P Cs. That’s not all. “The raw read speed is important,“ Cerny says, “but so are the details of the I/O [input-output] mechanisms and the software stack that we put on top of them. I got a PlayStation 4 Pro and then I put in a SSD that cost as much as the PlayStation 4 Pro—it might be one-third faster." As opposed to 19 times faster for the next-gen console, judging from the fast-travel demo.

As you’ve noticed, this is all hardware talk. Cerny isn’t ready to chat about services or other features, let alone games and price, and neither is anyone at Sony. Nor will you hear much about the console at E3 in June—for the first time, Sony won’t be holding a keynote at the annual games show. But a few more things come out during the course of our conversation. For example, the next-gen console will still accept physical media; it won’t be a download-only machine. Because it’s based in part on the PS 4’s architecture, it will also be backward-compatible with games for that console. As in many other generational transitions, this will be a gentle one, with numerous new games being released for both PS 4 and the next-gen console. (Where exactly Hideo Kojima’s forthcoming title Death Stranding fits in that process is still unconfirmed. When asked, a spokesperson in the room repeated that the game would be released for PS 4, but Cerny’s smile and pregnant pause invites speculation that it will in fact be a two-platform release.)

What gaming will look like in a year or two, let alone 10, is a matter of some debate. Battle-royale games have reshaped multiplayer experiences; augmented reality marries the fantastic and real in unprecedented ways. Google is leading a charge away from traditional consoles by launching a cloud-gaming service, Stadia, later this year. Microsoft’s next version of the Xbox will presumably integrate cloud gaming as well to allow people to play Xbox games on multiple devices. Sony’s plans in this regard are still unclear—it’s one of the many things Cerny is keeping mum on, saying only that “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch”—but it’s hard to think there won’t be more news coming on that front.

For now, there’s the living room. It’s where the PlayStation has sat through four generations—and will continue to sit at least one generation more.

Edited by tclittle on Apr 17th 2019 at 1:25:42 PM

So I'll make a resolution, that I'll never make another one, just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun, until its done.
Demongodofchaos2 Best Dad from Eldritch Nightmareland Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
Best Dad
Apr 16th 2019 at 8:48:48 AM

Interesting.

Apparently, Inside Xbox was supposed to announce something today too, so it seems Sony decided to beat them at the punch,

Can’t wait for insider info about this beast,

Watch Symphogear
tclittle Professional Forum Ninja from Somewhere Down in Texas
Professional Forum Ninja
Apr 17th 2019 at 11:24:18 AM

It should be pointed out that the article you linked links to the Wired article in OP, but it can be useful for people who have used up Wired's free articles. Going to add it to the OP for others.

So I'll make a resolution, that I'll never make another one, just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun, until its done.
Redmess Redmess from Netherlands
Redmess
Apr 20th 2019 at 6:12:50 AM

Yes, I belatedly realized that Ars posts Wired stories as well.

ShirowShirow Eat the rich from Land of maple syrup Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Eat the rich
Apr 21st 2019 at 1:44:24 AM

Still waiting on my "Playstation Complete" that can play Playstation 1, 2, 3 and 4 games.

If the PS 5 does that I'd buy it even if I didn't plan on playing and Playstation 5 games.

Bleye knows Sabers.
Redmess Redmess from Netherlands
Redmess
Apr 21st 2019 at 4:59:56 AM

So what games could we expect? Will the next Assassins Creed be on the PS 5? The next Grand Theft Auto?

Primis from Nsburg
Apr 21st 2019 at 10:57:36 AM

[up] Is there any reason they wouldn't be? It's not like those franchises are dead or anything.

Night Vision Image Quality Cleanup Thread
VeryMelon SUPER SOMETHING ELSE
SUPER SOMETHING ELSE
Apr 21st 2019 at 11:00:54 AM

It's like asking if the next Nintendo console will still have Mario and Zelda games. Of course the new Sony console will have the same franchises it always did.

slimcoder Black-Hearted Evil or Brave-Hearted Hero
Black-Hearted Evil or Brave-Hearted Hero
Apr 21st 2019 at 11:04:07 AM

If there’s one thing I clearly like about this is that the PS 5 will be PS 4 backwards compatible.

Huh maybe I should get it at the start since I can play everything as normal.

Can you see all of me? Walk into my mystery. Do you remember me? Capture you or set you free I am all. I am all... I am all of me
Redmess Redmess from Netherlands
Redmess
Apr 21st 2019 at 11:44:04 AM

What I meant is that these games may or may not already have been pinned for the PS 4.

BZL8 Muramasa from Somewhere... Relationship Status: I know
Muramasa
Apr 21st 2019 at 2:18:31 PM

While I doubt it will happen, I am hoping the PS5 is backwards compatable with the PS3. I can finally play Demon's Souls at last if Sony can't give us a remake.

Death Stranding, Cyberpunk 2077, and The Last of Us Part II are definitely next-gen launch titles for the system.

It's pronounced "Bezel", not "Bee-zel".
Primis from Nsburg
Apr 21st 2019 at 5:05:59 PM

[up][up] Well, Assassin's Creed has yearly releases, so the next one probably won't be on PS5, but the one after probably will, assuming the PS5 is actually released by then. Of course, when the PS5 is released, they might do a dual release with the PS4 and PS5 getting different games, like they did with Rogue and Unity.

As for GTA, I dunno, I've never kept up with that series. It seems to only get a new game once a generation though, so GTA6 will probably be on PS5.

If the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn is on PS5, that would instantly convince me to buy one.

Night Vision Image Quality Cleanup Thread
Apr 22nd 2019 at 3:59:25 AM

Honestly, I'm kinda wary about the PS 5. With those specs, I'm predicting a pretty high price at launch (hopefully we won't have a repeat of 599 US Dollars), and given how successful Sony was with the PS 4, I can't help but worry that, like with the PS 3, they get way too overconfident and feel they can do no wrong with the PS 5, and make several boneheaded decisions in the process. Heck, they're already starting to do that with all their censorship nonsense.

Redmess Redmess from Netherlands
Redmess
Apr 22nd 2019 at 4:11:16 AM

I'm a bit annoyed that this is coming along just as remakes for several games for the PS 4 are coming out. Will these be compatible with the PS 5?

Cris_Meyers reluctant author, willing misanthrope from Chicagoland Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
reluctant author, willing misanthrope
Apr 22nd 2019 at 7:54:01 AM

I'm a bit more concerned about my PSN games myself. I mean, Tales of Xillia is probably out as it's a ps3 game but what about Persona 3 & 4?

I'm thrilled we're getting some semblance of backwards-compatibility back finally, but now I've got more questions than answers.

Apr 22nd 2019 at 9:40:54 AM

I feel this gen could still go for two or three years more, but that's more of a modern age problem where everything gets obsolete in 5 or so years.

tclittle Professional Forum Ninja from Somewhere Down in Texas
Professional Forum Ninja
Apr 26th 2019 at 1:17:10 AM

More info from Sony's finacials (thanks to Wall Street Journal's Takashi Mochizuki):

  • No next-gen launch over the next twelve months.
  • Much of S Ony's 81.1 billion yen operating profit from last year will be used for R&D on next-gen.

So I'll make a resolution, that I'll never make another one, just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun, until its done.
Redmess Redmess from Netherlands
Redmess
Apr 26th 2019 at 2:52:16 AM

That would make sense, it would give developers time to build games for the new console.

Pichu-kun ...
...
Apr 30th 2019 at 8:49:10 AM

It's a shame the PS 5 is coming so soon after the PS 4. A lot of big PS 4 games either just came out or haven't came out. I feel bad for the FF 7 Remake fans who brought a PS 4 just for that.

Demongodofchaos2 Best Dad from Eldritch Nightmareland Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
Best Dad
Apr 30th 2019 at 8:50:54 AM

...not really?

7 years isn’t that short. If anything, that’s a couple of years longer then some previous generational leaps.

Watch Symphogear
Redmess Redmess from Netherlands
Redmess
Apr 30th 2019 at 9:41:28 AM

Yeah, by the time PS 5 rolls around it will be almost a decade, and there will no doubt be a few more games for the PS 4 after that, which happened for the PS 3 as well when the PS 4 came out.

Pichu-kun ...
...
Apr 30th 2019 at 11:30:39 AM

7? I thought it was closer to 6. Either way, it feels like a short gen, likely because so many games take years to come out.

tclittle Professional Forum Ninja from Somewhere Down in Texas
Professional Forum Ninja
May 20th 2019 at 6:42:06 PM So I'll make a resolution, that I'll never make another one, just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun, until its done.
MorningStar1337 Aegroto dum anima est, spes est. from 🤔
Aegroto dum anima est, spes est.
May 20th 2019 at 6:48:44 PM

Its not like its unprecedented, Nintendo had the Switch debut in the middle of this generation (and I hope it will continue until the end of the next one but thats a digression). Though it does make me wonder if the PS 5 will see a higher than usual ratio of Western titles compared to Japanese ones.

A storm of despair draws near. Will it herald dark nights, or a new dawn?

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