The PlayStation 5 Announcement: SSD Storage, Backwards Compatibility and 8K Support

April 16, 2019

It probably won't be out this year, but the PlayStation 5 has been officially announced — and it's looking like a beast of a console.

In an exclusive interview with Wired, lead architect Mark Cerny ran through some of the highlights that the new box will bring to your living room.

First and foremost is the move to a solid state drive (SSD) for storage. According to Cerny, this was one of the biggest requests from developers for the next generation of console. Rightly so too: even on the PS4 Pro loading times can still be uncomfortable for some games, while the download sizes for digital titles have expanded to triple digits for massive games like Red Dead Redemption 2. Using an SSD — as Cerny demonstrated during his interview — reduced the waiting time for a Spider-Man fast travel action from fifteen seconds to less than one. The sheer power and flexibility a solid state drive can provide opens up a world of possibilities for studios.

Something as simple as an internal SSD could prove to be a killer selling point.

Then there's the graphical and audio heft. A new eight-core CPU will use a chip from AMD's Ryzen line with 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture, while the graphics card is a customised version from the Radeon Navi suite of cards. The GPU offers ray tracing (namely mimicking how light refraction and reflection can be rendered) while the CPU will provide 3D audio which will work through TV and surround sound as well as headphones. 8K graphics will also be supported, but TVs available to handle that are thin on the ground currently.

Sony aren't ditching virtual reality any time soon either: the PS5 will have full PSVR support. And as there are remnants of the PS4 architecture in play with the PS5, it means that backwards compatibility will also be available. It has also been confirmed that physical media will still be accepted, so hang onto those discs for the time being — Sony aren't moving to a full download-only model any time soon.

There's plenty to chew over here, and a lot more questions needing answers. We won't get them at E3 this year, since Sony are dropping out of the convention for the first time ever. Price, release date, services and what the new console will look like are yet to be unveiled, but it is rumoured that the PS5 may be ready for next year — and could possibly even tie in with Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding.

It has felt like Sony has been on the back foot in recent times following announcements from Google, Microsoft and Nintendo regarding gaming platforms, so this is a welcome rebuttal which shows that — with four years of development under its belt — the PS5 is very much alive and well and ready to storm into Generation Nine.

Are you excited about the PS5 announcement? Let us know in the comments!

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Rob Kershaw

I've been gaming since the days of the Amstrad. Huge RPG fan. Planescape: Torment tops my list, but if a game tells a good story, I'm interested. Absolutely not a fanboy of any specific console or PC - the proof is in the gaming pudding. Also, I like cake.