There have been rumors about the Sony PlayStation 5—price, what games will be compatible with it, whether it comes with its own branded Ritalin—but rumors are just rumors (especially about the Ritalin, we made that up).
Now we have some solid info straight from Sony and it details a PS5 that will definitely feel like a serious upgrade from the PS4.
Specifically, these deets are from an interview with PS5 lead architect Mark Cerny.
A true generational shift tends to include a few foundational adjustments. A console’s CPU and GPU become more powerful, able to deliver previously unattainable graphical fidelity and visual effects; system memory increases in size and speed; and game files grow to match, necessitating larger downloads or higher-capacity physical media like discs.
PlayStation’s next-generation console ticks all those boxes, starting with an AMD chip at the heart of the device. (Warning: some alphabet soup follows.) The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture.
The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into high-end processors and Nvidia's recently announced RTX line, no game console has been able to manage it. Yet.
Regarding ray tracing, Wired reports that it's usually a visual enhancement that "mimics the way light bounces from object to object in a scene" and aids in rendering realistic refracted and reflected illumination.
But Cerny says in the PS5 even more is going on with this application. "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," he tells the magazine, "It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment."
In the same interview Cerny states that the PS5 will likely utilize more bandwidth than PCs can handle. He gave a demo using Marvel's Spider-Man that showed how it loaded much faster on the 5 than on PlayStation 4.
It's possible to geek out for hours on picking apart Cerny's words, but along with enhanced imagery, speed, and sound, perhaps the most important detail is that it will be backward-compatible with the PS4. If nothing else, that means no need for buying new games tweaked to work with the updated console.
This all sounds great but of course there has to be bad news with the good: Stand down from staking out a place in line to buy this bad boy. The PlayStation 5 will not hit store shelves in 2019.