First details of Sony's next-gen console have been revealed, and they prove that what is coming next is more than just a standard hardware upgrade, with a number of major improvements coming with whatever the fifth PlayStation is called.
Speaking exclusively to Wired, Sony's lead system architect Mark Cerny revealed the first details of the next-gen PlayStation console.
As expected with any generational upgrade, a new CPU (central processing unit) will be one of the biggest talking points. The CPU is essentially the brain of any system, and is often the baseline when it comes to comparing speeds.
The PS5 will run an 8-core processor, based on the 3rd gen AMD Ryzen CPU's. The mid-range Ryzen 5 for example, runs at a base clock of 3.6Ghz - the current PS4 pro processor is only at 2.13Ghz, so if it matches up with the current Ryzen speeds it would be a significant upgrade.
Another of the main features will be the graphics processing unit (GPU). As the name suggests, this is the chip or 'card' that provides all the graphical power to the system.
The PS5 GPU will be a custom variant of AMD's Radeon, and will support ray tracing. Although very few games currently utilize ray tracing technology (Battlefield V and Metro Exodus for example), it can produce stunning effects. In simple terms, Ray Tracing allows light, reflections and shadows to be displayed more naturally, as opposed to traditional 'rasterization' used in most video games.
This is a must-have for some players, as they will want to ensure that they don't have to repurchase their entire game library when the new console drops.
Sony's Mark Cerny has confirmed that PlayStation's next-gen console will be backwards compatible with PS4 titles, as it's based on the "same architecture". Backwards compatibility was already 'leaked' by a Sony patent too.
Console gamers will be well aware of the increasing size of many big releases, as they chew up more and more of the rather limited 1 TB of storage which comes with the higher-end PS4 Pro - and only 500GB on the lower-end PS4.
Unfortunately, no details were given as to the size of the next-gen's storage, but we may have got something better instead. The new console will use an SSD, rather than a hard drive. The benefits of this are obvious - it cuts loading times considerably, and there are no moving parts, meaning it will be more durable and quieter (no more clunk-clunk as the rusted PS4 hard drive loads up a level).
The new SSD cut the loading time in Spider-Man from 15 seconds on a PS4 Pro to only 0.8 seconds on the next-gen system.
Yes, 8K resolution will be supported on the next-gen Sony console, although currently, you'll have a hard time finding a display that can output that many pixels, so that's another consideration here.
Not to mention, achieving even 30 FPS (frames per second) while running 8K resolution would be a miraculous achievement with the hardware in this system. This means the 8K functionality will be more for entertainment like TV shows and movies - it's unlikely 8K will be possible in most video games without seriously sacrificing frame rates.
All we know at the moment, is that it won't be releasing in 2019. A 2020 release is likely, although 2021 may also be on the cards.
Sony won't be at E3 in 2019, which led to lots of speculation that they will be announcing a new console later, as they might not have much to show off at the Summer convention until they have a new console to brag about.