Ladies and gentlemen, the next round of the console war is upon us, with Sony announcing that the next PlayStation, simply dubbed the PlayStation 5, will launch alongside Microsoft’s Project Scarlet during “holiday 2020”. This news come hot on the heels of an earlier leak that the next gen PlayStation development kits are already in the hands of developers. Even though there are still a lot we don’t know about the PS5, Lead Systems Architect, discussed the architectural improvements, innovations and some system specs in a recent interview.
Firstly, the PlayStation 5 will have an internal SSD as storage medium. Even though the inclusion of an SSD comes at no surprise, Cerny pointed out that game developers often duplicate data at multiple points on a disc or in a hard drive installation in order to make it easily accessible on traditional drives. This new storage solution could allow developers to end that practice, either making room for more assets in the same installation size or freeing that space up on users’ drives. To cater for the increase in game sizes, the PlayStation 5 will also use 100 GB optical discs, as well as 4K Blu-ray disc format.
Since the SSD simplifies the game data, fine-grained access is given to the data. That could mean the ability to identify specific chunks of a game that can be installed or removed as needed. This implies certain game modes or levels can be uninstalled by users once they are done with it to free up drive space. This finer granularity also allows gamers to jump directly into specific points in the game, without having to go though the main menu.
To facilitate these new features , the PlayStation 5 will feature a completely redesigned UI. According to Cerny:
Even though it will be fairly fast to boot games, we don’t want the player to have to boot the game, see what’s up, boot the game, see what’s up. Multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single-player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them—and all of those choices will be visible in the UI. As a player you just jump right into whatever you like.
Arguably the biggest announcement was the innovation regarding the PlayStation 5’s controller. Bearing striking similarity to the DualShock 4, the unofficially named DualShock 5 features haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. The haptic feedback hopes to improve the player’s sense of the environmental textures by replacing the old “rumble” technology. With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud. The adaptive triggers allow developers to program the resistance of the triggers to allow different tactile sensations. For example, the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow will feel significantly different to accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.
It is still early days, and we expect more news as we start counting the days to “holiday 2020”. How about you? Will you buy a PlayStation 5 at launch?