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PlayStation 5 release date, pricing and specs

The upcoming gaming console from Sony is named the PlayStation 5 and is expected to be released between October and December 2020, the same time window for the release of the Xbox Series X. Furthermore, expect two variants of the console to be released: the Lite and the Pro versions. Although no official pricing has been announced yet, expect the console to cost €399 for the lite version and €599 for the Pro version. Ray-tracing, 8k and 122Hz will be supported, as will VR and Remote Play functionality. Backwards compatibility is confirmed.

The PlayStation 5 gaming console is the next generation console following the release of the highly popular PlayStation 4 Pro and the PlayStation 4 Slim. This has been confirmed in early 2019 by Sony’s own Mark Cerny, who is the chief architect of the next generation console. However, he had stopped short of announcing information relating to the official name of the console or providing an exact date of when the console is going to be released. What Cerny did share, however, is the performance capabilities of the upcoming console.

Following the announcement by Mark Cerny, Sony have been providing more information about the new PlayStation, such as an official release window, its name and other key information.

Release Date

Expect the PlayStation 5 to be release some time around October or December 2020. This release time window is the same as the Xbox Series X. More specifically, a leak allegedly states that the exact release date will be on 20 November 2020 for the US market. No information has been released yet pointing at whether the European variant is going to be released on the same day as the US variant, or whether it is going to be released some time later. What is certain is that the PlayStation 5 will be available in all markets by the end of 2020.

Should I buy a PlayStation 4 now?

Since the PlayStation 5 is so close to launch, which is in less than a year from now, buying a PlayStation 4 is highly discouraged. However, if you are in an urgent need to buy a PlayStation, maybe because your current one has broke, then it is suggested to find one on sale or to get a used one. If you are not in a hurry or can wait, then it is a no brainer to wait for the PlayStation 5’s release at the end of 2020.

The PlayStation 5 will be released in less than a year.

Pricing

The upcoming PlayStation 5 is expected to come in different hardware configurations. Depending on the hardware configuration, the price will vary. The cheapest PlayStation should cost around €399 in Europe, which can go up to €599 for the top-tier PlayStation 5.

Hardware

The new PlayStation 5 will have new hardware components which are expected to be significantly better than the hardware found in the current PlayStation 4 consoles. In this respect, the new PlayStation will have 8-core 16-thread processor. The CPU is based on AMD’s new Zen 2 microarchitecture, which is similar to the CPU to be used in Microsoft’s new Xbox gaming console. Furthermore, the PlayStation 4 will be used AMD’s Navi graphics processors which incorporate the RDNA microarchitecture, thus supporting real-time ray-tracing.

Ray tracing will be supported out of the box.

In relation to storage, as expected, the PlayStation 5 will have an SSD. 500GB and 1TB storage options should be made available on launch. The move to an SSD as opposed to a mechanical HDD will translate in a substantial performance improvement, where loading times are exponentially reduced. This means that the console will boot up in less time and games will take less time to load. Furthermore, the shift to an SSD is now a requirement for 4K and 8K games, where texture data size can run into gigabytes.

The optical disc will continue to be supported, with the Blu-ray standard making it to another generation of the gaming console. Its interesting to see how long the Blu-ray standard will continue to be supported, especially considering that AAA games are now taking up around 150GB, while a Blu-ray disc can only hold data up to 128GB. Just like the PlayStation 4, games purchased on a Blu-ray disc will have to be installed on the console’s SSD in order to take advantage of fast loading times. In this respect, the user will have control over how much of the game’s content is installed on the SSD when using Blu-ray media.

An improved suspended gameplay state has been implemented in the PlayStation 5. This improvement has led to less energy being consumed when the PlayStation console is in standby mode. This is likely to be a move by Sony to incentivise the use of ‘suspended’ mode rather than turning off the console. Keeping the console in ‘suspended’ mode has enables the use of remote play, faster booting, charging of the controllers connected to the console and the facility of not exiting the game when not using the console.

Due to more energy efficient components being used for the new PlayStation 5, the console is expected to use considerably less power when compared to the PlayStation 4. Furthermore, as a result of more efficient power consumption, less heat is expected to be generated when compared to the heat generated by a PlayStation 4 console. As a result of more efficient hardware and revised component cooling, less noise is expected to be generated by the new gaming console. This is in contrast to the PlayStation 4, where under load, the fans get loud due to high speed spinning in order to move enough cold air through the components in order to be able to keep the components cool.

Controller

A new controller is expected to compliment the new PlayStation 4. Although the controller will have a very similar design to the current PlayStation 4 controller, USB-C support will be introduced together with the introduction of longer-lasting battery. The internal components of the controller will also see an improvement, with more capabilities being rumoured to be introduced to the controller. Headphone connectivity, the light bar and internal speakers will also be present in the new controller.

Haptic feedback has been introduced in the new controller, which replaces the old rumble technology used in the PlayStation 4 controller. The new haptic feedback enables the controller to provide more accurate feedback to the user due to more granular options being provided to developers.

The L2/R2 buttons will have a never-seen-before force feedback technology, where the force required to push the buttons changes. The feedback can be customised and finely tuned by developers. As a result, the buttons can emulate the force of a breaking pedal in a racing game.

The updated PlayStation controller will have force feeback and haptic feedback.

Benchmarks

Although no official benchmarks have been released or leaked yet, it is known that the PlayStation 5 will be able to deliver games at either 4k 122Hz or 8k 60Hz. Furthermore, as a result of the use of an SSD, games will load 19x faster when compared to the PlayStation 4’s loading times.

Backwards Compatibility

Since the upcoming PlayStation will be built based on the PlayStation 4’s architecture, backwards compatibility is possible. Thus, if you have PlayStation 4 games, you can rest assured that these games can be played on the PlayStation 5 as well, be they on a Blu-ray disc or in your PlayStation account.

Furthermore, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation games available on the PlayStation Now service platform will also be supported on the new PlayStation 5. This is because PlayStation Now will also be available on the PlayStation 5.

The PlayStation 5 supports backwards compatibility going back to PlayStation 2.

Games and PlayStation Now

Since the PlayStation 5 supports all PlayStation 4 games, as well as the PlayStation Now service, the console already has thousands of games available at launch. However, if you want new games released for the PlayStation 5, you can expect to see Godfall, Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Gods and Monsters to be made available on launch. Furthermore, EA Games have also confirmed that Battlefield VI will be made available on the PlayStation 5.

PlayStation Now will still be required to access online features offered by games, such as to play multiplayer or coop online. The pricing and structure of the service will remain the same. Free games are expected to be offered on a per month basis for the PlayStation 5.

PlayStation Now subscription will be required for online gaming.

Remote Play

An improved version of the Remote Play functionality will be made available on launch on the PlayStation 5. The new Remote Play will support higher refresh rates, a higher resolution to complement the PlayStation 5’s improved hardware, and better performance throughout.

Custom Firmware and Homebrew

The PlayStation 5 has not had any custom firmware, jailbreaks or homebrew released yet. This might be because hackers have not yet laid their hands on a PlayStation 5 unit. However, following the PlayStation 4’s tightly secured architecture, it will be difficult for hackers to be able to successfully get a custom firmware running on the PlayStation 5. More so, even if someone manages to install or run custom firmware or homebrew on the PlayStation 5, the hack might not be made available to the general public or might be patched by Sony even before the hack is made available.