The next PlayStation will support 8K resolution, 3D audio, and ray tracing technology. It will also be equipped with much faster SSD storage and be backwards compatible with PS4, according to an interview with PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny in Wired.
Revolution, not evolution
In a surprise interview, seemingly timed to coincide with Microsoft's new disc-less Xbox One, Sony PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny revealed the first hardware details and specifications for the "next-gen console", likely to be named PlayStation 5.
He explains that Sony sees PlayStation 5 as a revolution rather than an evolution over PlayStation 4 and 4 Pro. It will still be based on PC hardware, specifically AMD Ryzen (7nm Zen 2) and Radeon Navi graphics, but it will be much faster and capable due mainly to the switch from a conventional hard drive to SSD (solid state drive) and support for ray tracing. Because it is based on the same hardware architecture, it will also be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games.
- "To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games ... On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed," Wired wrote. "What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.
As for ray tracing, it is a technology that can model travel of light in the virtual environment to make lighting effects more complex and realistic. Ray tracing has been supported on PCs for some time but never on a game console. Cerny explains that ray tracing can also be used to model travel of sound in order to make the audio experience more immersive.
- “If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that,” Mark Cerny, lead system architect, explained. “It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”
Cerny confirmed that PlayStation 5 will support 3D audio but did not mention either Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. It is possible that it will be based on Sony's own object-based audio format that was demonstrated at CES 2019.
Update: PS5 will also have a disc drive.
Will also support 8K
PlayStation 5 will also support 8K graphics but Cerny did not provide further details. However, it implies that it will be equipped with HDMI 2.1 and it is entirely possible that it will also feature some type of variable refresh rate technology to make 8K gaming feasible - but this is speculation.
Sony did not comment on its plans for software, services or PSVR. PlayStation 5 will be unveiled officially at a later date. It will be not be released this year, the company said. Rumors suggest that Sony is planning to launch it sometime in 2020.