PlayStation 5 is Going to Be an Absolute Beast
We’re still at least a year away from the official announcement of Sony’s next-generation gaming console. But, in an exclusive interview with Wired published on Tuesday morning, Mark Cerny—the lead system architect of the PlayStation 4—discussed the work he’s been doing for the last several years, preparing Sony’s forthcoming PS4 replacement machine.
Cerny wouldn’t go on record calling the machine the PlayStation 5, but naming conventions aside, the system is shaping up to be an incredibly powerful device. As with any next-gen console, the jump from the current PS4 to whatever comes next is going to be all about improved graphical experiences that are driven by upgraded CPUs and GPUs. That also leads to increased memory size, improved speed performance, and, in turn, larger game files. The next-gen PlayStation console will have all of that, with the CPU being based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line, as Wired details. In addition, we can expect 8K graphics support and backwards compatibility—at least for PS4 titles.
But what stood out from the interview, and what Cerny makes a point to highlight, are two key upgrades over the current-gen console: improved audio performance, and the possibility of a solid state drive being added to the console.
On audio, the integration of AMD’s new chip into the system will allow users to experience 3D audio presentations, according to Cerny. “As a gamer, it's been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4,” he said. “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, he said, would make users feel more immersed in the game, with sound coming at them from all different directions. The effect won’t require any additional hardware, but it sound like the ideal presentation for this kind of experience is one that’s delivered through headphone audio. We’ve had our own experiences recently with this idea of spatially aware audio, which left us more than impressed. So hearing that that type of performance could come out of the box on a next-gen console is something that excites us for sure.
What will excite the gaming developer community even more is the possibility of a solid state drive making its way into Sony’s next-gen console. According to Cerny, it’s one of the most-requested features that Sony appears ready to deliver on. SSDs come standard, essentially, on budget laptops today and are crucial when it comes to enabling those devices to run smoothly and at a relatively fast pace. Sony, and Microsoft for that matter, offer external SSDs that can improve load times. But not all SSDs are created equal, and, understanding that fact, Sony plans to build something a little more customized for its next-gen console.
The top-line result will be dramatically reduced load times for gamers, even as the next-gen console offers support for things like 8K graphics.
What Cerny didn’t get into with Wired are things like target release date, potential pricing, software availability, and the like. And we shouldn’t expect Sony to do so anytime soon either—the company, for the first time, has no plans to hold a press conference at the annual E3 gaming convention this June. Either way, whenever this thing sees the light of day, it’s going to be an absolute beast of a machine that I can’t wait to get my hands on.