The hotly anticipated PlayStation 5 has been spotted in the wild. Journalists, media outlets, and gaming personalities have begun to receive review models of the next-generation console that’s set to release in November.
Sony unveiled the PS5 and the Digital Edition (which has no disc drive) back in June. Then in September, the company revealed how much both models of the gaming system will cost. Now, gamers have a better idea how the gaming system’s form factor stacks up against the upcoming Xbox Series X and Series S, plus how it will look like in their living rooms and bedroom.
Leading up to the dawn of next-gen console gaming, Sony was extremely vague about the PS5’s details. Now that all the cards are on the table, it’s gamers’ turn to pick if they want to continue on the Sony bandwagon or if they want to jump on the Xbox train.
The three biggest deciding factors for gamers this time around will be exclusive titles, price, and backwards compatibility. Sony has teased a handful of games, like closer looks at Marvel’s SPider-Man Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls, and a cryptic teaser for God of War: Ragnarok. But the company has been slightly less forthcoming about its plan for backwards compatibility.
All of these elements will feed into how the PS5 performs against Microsoft’s competing set of consoles. Sony has dominated the current-gen console war against Microsoft. The company announced that the PS4 had become the second best-selling console of all time during an earnings report in October 2019, coming in just behind the PS2. In 2018, Sony hardware made up nearly half of all consoles in use according to a Strategy Analytics report late that year.
Could the PS5 continue what the PS4 started? Here's everything we know about the upcoming next-gen console.
When is the PS5 release date?
Sony made it official on September 16: The PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition will launch in the U.S. and select countries on November 12 and worldwide on November 19 (except in China).
How much will the PS5 cost?
Sony confirmed that the price of the PlayStation 5 at launch is $499.99 and that the PS5 Digital Edition is $399.99, during its September 16 showcase.
This corroborates a rumor reported by Spanish publication Vandal on September 15, which claimed listings for the PS5 consoles went live on the website for Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles. The two devices were listed for the cost of $499 and $399, which both turned out to be accurate.
How can you preorder the PS5?
The preorder window for the console was supposed to begin on September 17, but reservations actually opened up within a few hours of the September 16 presentation.
Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, and Walmart are all offering preorders, but as of 4 p.m. on September 17 all of these retailers' supply has been booked. Gamers' best bet is to periodically check in on all of these sites to see if they're restocked.
What comes in the PS5 box?
Media outlets began posting unboxing coverage for the PS5 on October 27, so gamers now know exactly what they'll get if they choose to buy a PS5. Here's what to expect:
- The console itself
- The console base (with a screw inside its compartment to attach the console)
- A Dualsense controller
- Power cable
- HDMI 2.1
- USB-C connector
- Two manuals
How big is the PS5?
The PS5 is a chonk. The console will be the largest iteration of Sony's console ever and it will stand taller than any other next-gen Xbox.
The base model and the Digital Edition are nearly identical in size, the only difference the consoles' height. The disc-drive-less version is slightly shorter. Here's a breakdown of each models' dimensions according to a PlayStation Blog post, these measurements do not factor in the size of the console's base which will make its footprint larger when it's standing up straight.
- Width: 15.35 inches (390 mm)
- Depth: 10.23 inches (260 mm)
- Height: 4.09 inches (104 mm)
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition
- Width: 15.35 inches (390 mm)
- Depth: 10.23 inches (260 mm)
- Height: 3.62 inches (92 mm)
The PS5 is substantially taller than the Xbox Series X and Series S, but it's more slender compared to the Series X. Here's a side-by-side photo of the base PS5 next to the two upcoming Xboxes courtesy of The Verge.
PS5 Standard vs. PS5 Digital Edition
The standard PS5 has a physical disc drive but the more affordable PS5 Digital Edition does not. Gamers will have to exclusively purchase and download digital versions of games, whereas with the standard version, they can do both.
Sony has confirmed that the disc drive is the only difference between these two consoles. In other worse, the hardware specifications are identical, so you're getting the same overall quality. There's just no way to play discs in one of them.
What about PS5 backward compatibility?
Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will be able to run all PS4 titles, but what about the vast gaming libraries of veteran PlayStation fans? The company has yet to confirm how far back the PS5's backward compatibility will reach, but Ubisoft might have leaked Sony's backward compatibility plans on August 31 and gamers were not pleased.
The game publisher posted a brief rundown of how upgrading from a current-gen to next-gen consoles will work. This announcement initially contained a disappointing statement for anyone expecting to be able to play their PS2 games on the PS5:
Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games.
The company has since removed this statement but not before fans expecting to be able to play their entire back catalog of PS games were dishearten by the update. So don't toss your old consoles in preparation for the PS5 launch, you're still going to need them if you want to play old games you have lying around.
PS5 confirmed features and specs
Here's a look at the PS5 specifications Sony announced:
- CPU — x86-64-AMD Ryzen “Zen 2," 8 Cores / 16 Threads, Variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz
- GPU — AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine, Ray Tracing Acceleration, Variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz (10.3 TFLOPS)
- System Memory — GDDR6 16 GB, 448 GB/s Bandwidth
- SSD — 825 GB, 5.5GB/s Read Bandwidth (Raw)
- PS5 Game Disc — Ultra HD Blu-ray, up to 100GB/disc
- Video Out— Support of 4K 120Hz TVs, 8K TVs, VRR (specified by HDMI ver.2.1)
- Audio — “Tempest” 3D AudioTech
Here are other standout features that were previously announced:
- The SSD will enable snappier and smoother console gameplay than ever before. Sony published brief statements by a dozen developers asking them how they intend to leverage the next-gen hardware to further refine their work.
- Currently available PSVR hardware will be compatible with the PS5.
- Built-in haptic motors in the DualShock 5 will vibrate in various ways depending on the surfaces in a game as well as "adaptive triggers" that could give add resistance in required scenarios.
- The PS5 will let gamers install individual game modes, instead of forcing them to install an entire game. That means if you’re not interested in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare single-player campaign, you can choose to only install the multiplayer. (It's fair to assume you'd still have to buy the whole game though.)
- The PS5’s home screen will show gamers mission details, or if friends are currently squadded up online.
- It will support 8K resolution. That might not matter much right now, but it could be relevant a few years down the line when 8K TVs are more commonplace.
- Sony announced a slew of PS5 peripherals that will likely be sold separately including: the DualSense controller Charging Station, Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, a media remote, and an HD camera
Everything we know about PS5’s DualSense controller
The PS5’s new controller will drop the DualShock moniker of the four previous PlayStation controllers and be renamed the DualSense. The controller was designed to give gamers haptic feedback and comes with adaptive triggers so players get a better sense of touch and feel when playing a game.
Here’s a few more standout features:
- Its form and color scheme was completely redesigned. It’s much more rounded and its primary color is white, with hints of blue and black. The lightbar is now located on the sides of the central touchpad.
- It will come with a USB-C port for much quicker charging compared to the DualShock 4.
- The Share button was replaced with the Create button. Sony hasn’t explained how this new feature will work just yet.
- The controller comes with built-in microphones. So say goodbye to the PS4’s clip-on earbud.
New PSVR hardware could be on its way
There have been numerous patents suggesting Sony is working on a new generation of PSVR hardware for the PS5. A Bloomberg report published February 13 also stated that the company is developing a new headset that is “tentatively scheduled [for release] after the PS5 goes on sale.”
The final product could be completely wireless, come with all-new controllers, and offer high-end specs comparable to something like the HTC Vive at a more affordable price point. The PSVR 2 price could be a lot closer to that of Sony’s current VR headset, $299.
Confirmed and potential PS5 launch games
A strong list of PS5 exclusives and launch titles will be crucial to Sony’s success in the next-gen console war. Though there are a number of games that have been announced for release in 2021 and beyond — like God of War: Ragnarok, Final Fantasy XVI, Horizon: Forbidden West, and more — there are also other games expected during the "launch window," like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
But what of the actual launch titles for day one? Outside of PS4 games that players already own, ongoing live service games like Fortnite, and a curated list of PS4 classics free to all PS Plus subscribers via PS Plus Collection, the actual launch lineup is an impressive, tight list:
- Demon's Souls
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla
- The Pathless
- Observer: System Redux
- Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Astro's Playroom
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- Fortnite (PS5-specific version)
The Sony PlayStation 5 will be released sometime in late 2020.