Sony’s next entry in its critically acclaimed PlayStation line of gaming consoles is here! Called the PlayStation 5 — or just PS5 for short — the ninth-generation console officially released today (November 12) and it has some pretty big shoes to fill.
Its predecessor — the PlayStation 4 — is one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time, selling over 110 million units as of May 2020. The legendary PlayStation 2 is the only home gaming console to surpass those numbers.
Does the PS5 pack enough punch to woo gamers around the world as the PS4 did? Here’s everything you need to know about the PlayStation 5.
At a glance: What is the Sony PS5?
The PS5 is the next-gen gaming console from Sony. The system is formally called the Sony PlayStation 5, or PS5 for short. Every prior iteration has adopted that naming scheme, so the name shouldn’t be a surprise.
The Sony PlayStation 5 is a massive jump forward from its predecessor, offering more powerful specs and a space-age design. Its main competitors are the Xbox Series X and Series S, and to a lesser extent the Nintendo Switch. The latter home-handheld-hybrid console released in 2017 and while a great system in its own right, it isn’t necessarily a direct competitor due to its unique form factor and significantly reduced specs.
There are two PS5 models: the regular PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. The two share identical specs, though as the name suggests, the Digital Edition will only play digitally downloaded games as it does not have a disc drive.
What our readers think
We’re expecting to hear far more of your thoughts on the Sony PlayStation 5 now it’s available to buy! Prior to launch, fans seemed very eager to get their hands on one.
In an Android Authority poll, we asked if folks were more interested in the PS5, Xbox Series X, or happy with another platform such as Switch or PC. An overwhelming 61.9% voted for the PS5, out of nearly 15,000 votes.
Sony PlayStation 5 design
Sony revealed the PS5 design in full at a June 11 event. The console — as seen in the video above — stands vertically (but can be laid horizontally) and sports a black and white design that matches the all-new DualSense controller. The design event also saw the reveal of the two versions of the PS5 — the standard console and the slimmer Digital Edition.
As far as the PlayStation 5 controller is concerned, Sony calls it the DualSense, and it’s the largest design departure from any PlayStation controller to date. Check it out:
As you can see, it features a new futuristic black and white design. The controller touts haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone array. It also comes with a USB-C charging port, and Sony is replacing the Share button with a brand new Create button. The DualSense controller comes bundled with the console, though you can buy additional gamepads separately for $69.99. Check out more on the DualSense controller via the link below.
Sony detailed the PS5’s interface in mid-October, demonstrating how the system’s new UX elements will better serve users.
Like the PS4, the PS5’s user experience still revolves around the PlayStation button on the DualSense. Users tap it on boot to access the user screen. But that’s where the similarities largely end.
Tapping the PS button in-game now opens the Control Center. It’s a side-scrolling but detailed bottom menu system that gives users immediate access to audio controls, friends lists, and more. Activities is the standout addition to the new menu. It’s a set of cards that can shortcut users to particular levels or adventures within a game. These cards also display progress, while some also provide gamers with tips, tricks, and tutorials to help find collectibles or best tough challenges. Sony also demonstrates how these cards can be viewed in a picture-by-picture mode. The Control Center also lists recent screenshots, news from PlayStation, and friends’ activities. Speaking of the latter, gamers can also join voice chats, view other users’ streams, or directly join their game.
Read more: Xbox Series X interface: what’s new?
The new home screen is where users will land when first booting the console. It now features dedicated Media and Games pages, which should serve to separate your binging and playing habits. The PlayStation Store is now also integrated into the latter, and no longer a slow-loading app. Each game also gets its own hub, too.
PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition
What’s the difference between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition? It comes down to the missing optical drive and the price tag. The designs are also a little different, due to the missing optical drive. If we’re being honest, the PS5 Digital Version looks a little better, as the bulge added by the drive throws off the device’s symmetry.
Should you get the PS5 Digital Edition over the standard model? If you honestly agree with the following statements, then yes:
- I plan to buy my games digitally anyhow.
- I don’t see myself borrowing games from a friend, Redbox, or a service such as GameFly.
If you will never use the drive, might as well save some cash! We’ve got even more of an in-depth comparison between the two models in the article linked below.
Further reading: PS5 vs PS5 digital
The PS5 will tout some serious improvements over the PS4 as far as raw hardware is concerned. Here’s a complete overview of the PS5’s specs list compared to the PS4’s:
|PlayStation 5||PlayStation 4|
|CPU||8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)||8x Jaguar Cores at 1.6GHz|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (Custom RDNA 2 architecture)||1.84 TFLOPs, 18 CUs at 800MHz (Custom GCN architecture)|
|RAM||16GB GDDR6/256-bit||8GB GDDR5/256-bit|
|Internal Storage||Custom 825GB SSD||500GB HDD|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD slot||Replaceable internal HDD|
|External Storage||USB HDD support||USB HDD support|
|IO Throughput||5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)||Approx 50-100MB/s (dependent on data location on HDD)|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray Drive||Blu-ray Drive|
The PS5 features an upgraded CPU in the form of the AMD Zen 2, which touts eight cores clocked at 3.5GHz. This should provide significant performance gains over the PS4’s eight-core Jaguar 1.6GHz CPU. The PS5’s custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU is also a solid upgrade over last gen’s custom GCN GPU.
This CPU and GPU combination will allow the PS5 to utilize ray tracing acceleration. Ray tracing is advanced lighting tech that can take in-game graphics to a whole new level by more realistically mimicking the way light behaves in an environment.
We also learned the PlayStation 5 will sport a proprietary 825GB SSD, and it will support off-the-shelf NVMe SSD expandability. Not only does that mean users will be able to easily expand their PS5’s storage, but it also offers faster load speeds, allowing for bigger maps, as well as better system memory management.
Read also: How impressive are the PS5 specs?
The console also has a new custom AMD compute unit-based Tempest Engine. Using custom Head-related Transfer Function (HRTF) maps, this new tech allows gamers to experience high-quality 3D in-game audio with even the most basic headphones or speakers. In a deep dive prior to launch, the PS5’s lead architect Mark Cerny admitted the Tempest Engine is still in the early stages, and it may take years for it to fully develop.
PS5 users will be able to select from one of five custom HRTF maps that best fit their sound profile. Cerny hinted at how Sony could expand on this tech in the future:
“Maybe you’ll be sending us a photo of your ear, and we’ll choose a neural network to pick the closest HRTF in our library,” said Cerny. “Maybe you’ll be sending us a video of your ears and your head, and we’ll make a 3D model of them and synthesize the HRTF [or] you’ll play an audio game to tune your HRTF. We’ll be subtly changing it as you play and home in on the HRTF [that] matches you the best.”
What makes any console better than the next? The games!
At launch, the PS5 will be backward compatible with nearly every single game in the PS4’s library. At first, the company claimed that it would work with nearly all of the top 100 titles from the previous generation console, but later clarified that “99%” of PS4 games can be played on the PS5.
Sony says most PS4 titles will benefit from higher, more stable frame rates and higher resolutions on the PS5. It can’t guarantee every game will work, but it has already tested hundreds of titles with thousands more to come. And the aforementioned 99% figure means that there’s a great chance your desired title works. Early testing has shown some impressive results. We’ll be putting it to the test ourselves very soon.
The PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with nearly every PlayStation 4 title at launch.
Unfortunately, those of you who want backward compatibility to go even further back will likely be disappointed. You won’t be able to play PS3, PS2, or PS1 games on the PS5 unless those games were previously ported to the PS4.
For the full list of confirmed PlayStation 5 titles, head to this link here. Below are all the new and/or PS5-optimized games that are available from the PS5’s release date of November 12:
- Astro’s Playroom
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Demon’s Souls
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
- Borderlands 3
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light
- Dirt 5
- Just Dance 2021
- Overcooked: All you can eat
- NBA 2K21
- No Man’s Sky
- Observer: System Redux
- Planet Coaster: Console Edition
- The Pathless
- Warhammer: Chaosbane — Slayer Edition
- Watch Dogs Legion
In addition to the above, any PS5 owners with a PlayStation Plus account will also get immediate access to the PlayStation Plus Collection. This collection lets PS Plus subscribers download 18 highly-acclaimed PS4 games for no additional fee. The list includes some of the best PS4 games ever. The full PlayStation Plus Collection list can be found below:
- Battlefield 1
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- Days Gone
- Detroit: Become Human
- Fallout 4
- Final Fantasy 15
- God of War (2018)
- Infamous: Second Son
- Monster Hunter World
- Mortal Kombat X
- Persona 5
- Ratchet and Clank
- Resident Evil 7
- The Last of Us: Remastered
- The Last Guardian
- Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
- Until Dawn
PS5 price and where to buy
The Sony PlayStation 5 release date was November 12, 2020 in the US and a few other select markets. It arrives just a week later (November 19) in several other major markets such as the UK.
The PS5 price is set at $499 for the regular edition, or $399 for the Digital Edition. While the former is the same as the Xbox Series X, the all-digital Series S is actually cheaper than the PS5 Digital by $100. The PS5 Digital is more powerful than the Xbox Series S, but it is worth noting nonetheless the barrier to next-gen entry is cheaper if you opt for Microsoft.
PS5 pre-orders launched September 17, though there were very limited quantities out of the gate. It’s currently sold out at virtually all retailers, though various outlets have said they will have limited quantities available on launch day (November 12) starting from around 12PM ET. Keep checking the links below for stock!
Here are the prices for the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition around the globe:
- Australia: AU$749 and AU$599
- Europe: €499 and €399
- India: ₹49,990 and ₹39,990
- United Kingdom: £449 and £359
- United States: $499 and $399
Q: When is the PS5 release date?
A: The PS5 release date was November 12 in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. The system will launch on November 19 in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, and South America.
Q: What can I play on the PS5?
A: In addition to plenty of new PS5 games, you can play PS4 games as well!
Q: How much will PS5 games cost?
A: Games will cost similarly to new PS4 games — so around $59.99.
Q: How much will the PS5 cost?
A: The PS5 digital edition starts at $399, while the standard model (which includes a disc drive) will cost $499.
Q: Will the PlayStation 5 support VR?
A: Yes! Several new PS5 games will be able to utilize the PSVR hardware. There are even rumors suggesting a newer PSVR model is in the works.