Sony’s next entry in its critically acclaimed PlayStation line of gaming consoles is nearly here! Called the PlayStation 5 — or just PS5 for short — this next console will arrive November 12th 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. Sony sold over 110 million units as of May 2020. The PlayStation 2 is the only home gaming console to surpass those numbers, selling over 150 million units in its lifetime.
Surely Sony is looking for a home run with its next-generation console. But will it pack enough punch to woo gamers around the world as the PS4 did? Here’s everything we know about the PS5 so far. Be sure to bookmark this page as we’ll update it as additional information comes to light.
Editor notes: This post was last updated 10/16/20 with details on the PS5’s user experience.
At a glance: What is the Sony PS5?
The PS5 is an upcoming next-gen gaming console from Sony. The system will formally be called the Sony PlayStation 5, or PS5 for short. Every prior iteration has adopted that naming scheme, so it’s not a real 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 will be the upcoming Xbox Series X and the Nintendo Switch. The latter of these consoles released in 2017 and while a great system, isn’t necessarily a direct competitor.
What our readers think
The Sony PlayStation 5 isn’t out yet, so it’s really not fair to truly compare it to other consoles for now. Still, it seems fans are very eager for it.
In a recent 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 DualSense controller. The design event revealed that Sony plans to launch two versions of the PS5 — the standard console and a slimmer Digital Edition that removes the optical drive.
As far as the PlayStation 5 controller is concerned, we got an official look at it even before we saw the console. Sony is calling it 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. Sony also revealed that 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, though it has not revealed what it does yet.
Expect to see it launch alongside the PS5 this holiday season with standalone pricing of $69.99.
Sony detailed the PS5’s interface in mid-October, demonstrating how the system’s new UX elements will better serve the gamer.
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.
Sony seemingly thinks this is where PS5 users will spend the majority of their time.
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.
In the video above, Sony notes that the UX is currently in a “pre-production environment,” but it looks pretty slick to us. The firm promised more details will be revealed ahead of the console’s debut.
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!
Further reading: PS5 vs PS5 digital
In Sony’s recent system architecture deep-dive, the company revealed some details about its new technology and other hardware details about the upcoming console. According to the PlayStation 5 Lead System Architect Mark Cerny, the PS5 will tout some serious improvements over the PS4.
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 deep-dive revealed a lot more about the PS5’s future capabilities too. We can expect 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 should also offer faster load speeds, allowing for bigger maps, as well as better system memory management.
Read also: How impressive are the PS5 specs?
The last major thing Sony revealed during the PS5 deep-dive is the console’s new custom AMD compute unit-based Tempest Engine. Using custom Head-related Transfer Function (HRTF) maps, this new tech should allow gamers to experience high-quality 3D in-game audio with even the most basic headphones or speakers. Cerny admitted the Tempest Engine is still in the early stages, and it may take years for it to fully develop.
At launch, customers 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? It’s the games, baby.
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 top 100 titles from the previous generation console. But in a recent blog post, the company announced it will be compatible with “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles.” Furthermore, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan told the Washington Post in mid-September that “99%” of PS4 games can be played on the PS5.
Sony believes most PS4 titles will likely 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.
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. According to a Ubisoft support page, 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. We’ll list a handful of the most popular titles below, just to give you a taste of what to expect:
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Gran Turismo 7
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Project Athia
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Destruction AllStars
- Oddworld Soulstorm
- GhostWire: Tokyo
- Hitman 3
- NBA 2K21
- Demon’s Souls
- Resident Evil Village
- Horizon Forbidden West
- Hogwarts Legacy
- Dying Light 2
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Rainbow Six: Quarantine
- Elder Scrolls 6
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Heavenly Bodies
- Worms Rumble
We also expect titles like The Witcher 4 and Uncharted 5 to launch on the PS5, but that’s just speculation at this point.
It goes without saying that plenty of new titles should be available for the console at or soon after launch. If the console lives up to its promises, we expect many of them will be some of the biggest, most beautiful video games we have ever seen.
PS5 price and release date
The Sony PlayStation 5 release date is now set for November 12, 2020 in the US and a few other select markets. It’s expected to arrive just a week later (November 19) to several other major markets.
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.
Latest PS5 news
Looking for more PS5 news and features? Here are some of the most recent highlights:
- PS5 controller might have a bigger battery than the PS4 controller
- PlayStation 5 will support many of your PS4 accessories
- The PS5 and Xbox Series X make Nintendo Switch look better than ever
- Should you wait for PS5 or buy a gaming PC today?
- Should Sony build a PlayStation Phone, or is the PS5 more than enough?
Q: When is the PS5 release date?
A: The PS5 will be available from 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: While Sony hasn’t confirmed it, we anticipate 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.