Sony’s PlayStation 5 will kick off the next generation of console games alongside the Xbox Series X in a few short months. The company has given fans only glimpses at the gaming system’s specs, features, and peripherals. It’ll be capable of PC-grade graphics, come with a completely redesigned controller, and it could eventually get an upgraded set of virtual reality equipment. But many key details about the PS5 are still a mystery, and its holiday 2020 release date is rapidly approaching.
When will Sony announce a release date for PS5? How much will it cost? What will it look like? Will it come with backward compatibility? Here’s everything we do know — and what we don't.
On March 18, PS5 Lead Architect Mark Cerny hosted a live stream to get into the nitty-gritty of the console’s specs. What he revealed on paper sounds less powerful than the Xbox Series X numbers-wise, but the overall system architecture might far surpass the PS5's competition.
The presentation, originally meant for Game Developers Conference, wasn’t the exciting news bonanza some gamers were hoping for. It didn’t include any information about the PS5’s price, design, or release date. Instead, Cerny went into details about many of the console’s unique features like its focus on 3D audio.
This built on months of glimpses at the PS5’s hardware that Cerny and Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan had shared with fans. The console will tout plenty of flashy features, like ray-tracing support and built-in haptic motors in its new controllers. The juiciest information about the PS5 has come from leaks, rumors, and patent filings showing glimpses at Sony’s plan to dominate the next-gen console market.
The PS4 has effectively won the current console war. Sony 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.
When it comes to gamers’ preference, Sony clearly has inertia on its side. But some uncertainties and industry forces at play could the PS5 a run for its money.
What is the release date for PS5?
Sony has announced that the PS5 will launch ahead of the holiday season of 2020 but has yet to reveal an official release date, and as of March 18, the company maintains that will still happen.. The company has released the past two generations of PlayStation in November, which suggests the PS5 could follow the same timeline, barring any significant delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sony has stuck by its release date window but multiple analysts and supply chain reports have suggested that delay in PS5 production is likely. The console maker plans for most of the hardware manufacturing for the Series X to happen in China, which is the focal point of the coronavirus outbreak. As governments and institutions around the world try to halt the spread of the disease that has already killed thousands, quarantines have disrupted the workflows and schedules of all sorts of tech and gaming companies.
If COVID-19 doesn’t end up affecting Sony’s launch schedule, a late-November launch is most likely.
The PS4 launched in North American on November 15, 2013 and the PS3 hit shelves on November 17, 2006. Sony has stuck by its console launch date traditions for over a decade, but this year could shake that up.
When will Sony reveal the PS5?
It has been over a year since Sony first announced that it was working on the PS5 and it has yet to show gamers what the console will look like when it launches.
Designs and images of the gaming system’s developers kit were leaked online earlier in the year, but the PS4’s dev kits looked nothing like the final product. So what will the PS5 actually look like when it launches in late 2020? Sony could be gearing up to reveal its next-gen console in June.
VentureBeat reporter Jeff Grubb broke the news confirming that Sony would host a PS5 event in June, but he could not verify what exact date it would take place. He explained that the showcase would be what the company was planning on revealing during E3 2020 before that was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
How much will the PS5 cost?
The same day Grubb confirmed that Sony is planning a PS5 reveal in June, he tweeted that the company would not reveal the console’s price at the event. He told his followers he doesn’t expect the company to announce the PS5’s price tag until at least August, but gamers already have a good idea of what to expect.
The PS5 could come with an eye-watering price tag. A Bloomberg report in mid-February revealed that the manufacturing cost of the PS5 was estimated to be $450 per unit due to a shortage of materials needed for internal components.
That could drive up the new console’s price to $500 or even more if Sony wants to make sizable margins on its sales. A lofty price could spell doom for the console.
When Sony released the PS3 in 2006, it retailed at $499, substantially more than the Xbox 360, which also launched that year. The PS3’s price tag led to a lag in initial sales that even Jack Tretton, former console chief for the company, admitted were due to “missteps” regarding its price. Sony will be wary not to repeat the same mistake again.
But Sony’s grand plan for the PS5 could involve two consoles instead of just one.
Will there be a PS5 Pro?
There’s been some chatter suggesting that Sony could launch a PS5 Pro right off the bat, alongside a more-affordable base version of the console. This rumor resurfaced on March 2 on video games discussion forum NeoGAF where users VFXVeteran stated that they “heard” Sony is preparing two consoles to launch later in 2020.
“Sony is releasing [two] PS models. The base PS5 is 9 [teraflops].” they wrote. “Their other one is also top of the line to compete with [Xbox Series X] ... I also heard that the top of the line models will be expensive. No pricing but I would guess around $600. Also no dates on when the top models will come out for PS5. My guess is that they are going to release both models at the same time.”
VFXVeteran has been privately vetted by NeoGAF’s administrators as an “industry professional,” and high-profile developers have been known to participate in the website's forums in the past. But this isn’t the only evidence we have of a potential PS5 Pro.
Back in September 2019, Japanese games journalist Zenji Nishikawa posted a YouTube video stating that Sony had “acknowledged the interest in a high-end model and wants to give players what they want right from the beginning of the generation.” The report was translated by Wccftech in September 2019. Nishikawa has made accurate predictions regarding the Nintendo Switch Lite in the past, so that lends even further credibility to this rumor overall.
A two-pronged PS5 launch could help Sony overcome the aforementioned price concerts sparked by its supply chain component shortage.
Confirmed features and specs coming to PS5
Here are some of the most tantalizing PS5 specs and features that Sony have revealed so far, along with some information that is still missing:
- CPU — 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
- GPU — 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz (variable frequency) Custom RDNA 2
- Die Size — ???
- Process — ???
- Memory — 16 GB GDDR6 / 256-bit
- Memory Bandwidth — 448 GB/s
- Internal Storage — Custom 825GB SSD
- I/O Throughput — 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
- Expandable Storage — NVMe SSD Slot
- External Storage — USB HDD Support
- Optical Drive — 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
- Performance Target — ???
Here are other standout features that were previously announced:
- 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.
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 on it 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. Here are all of the titles gamers should expect and games that are unannounced but expected to eventually launch on the PS5.
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Call of Duty: Warzone
- Observer: System Redux
- God & Monsters
- WRC 9
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- A remake by Bluepoint Games
Unconfirmed, but anticipated