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PlayStation 5 launching Holiday 2020

Johnny Cullen

PlayStation 5 launching Holiday 2020

Sony officially confirms name, release timeline, and new details on capabilities and new controller.

Johnny Cullen,Tue, 08 Oct 2019 21:06:00

It’s official: PlayStation 5 is the name of Sony’s next-gen console and is launching next holiday season.

Sony announced the news in a blog post on the PlayStation Blog by PlayStation president and CEO Jim Ryan and a feature by Wired, which interviewed Ryan and lead system architect Mark Cerny.

“These updates may not be a huge surprise,” Ryan wrote on the PlayStation blog, “but we wanted to confirm them for our PlayStation fans, as we start to reveal additional details about our vision for the next generation.”

Wired's story detailed features like hardware level ray-tracing, as well as games allowing piece-meal installation on the system. A revamped UI interface has also been promised for the console. Cerny and Ryan also confirmed how the SSD, which’ll provide load times of less than a second, will help loading times, boot times, and streaming. Additionally, the PS5 will contain a 4K Blu-ray drive that can run discs with storage up to 100GB.

But the biggest reveal is the console’s new controller. Currently unnamed, the pad will feature haptic feedback, not rumble feedback, which has been a feature since Sony released the first DualShock controller a few years after the PlayStation 1 was released. Haptic feedback have become somewhat of an industry standard (including smartphones), including it as part of the controller for Xbox One and with the JoyCons for Nintendo Switch.

“Developers can program the resistance of the triggers so that you feel the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain," Ryan commented on the PS blog. "In combination with the haptics, this can produce a powerful experience that better simulates various actions. Game creators have started to receive early versions of the new controller, and we can’t wait to see where their imagination goes with these new features at their disposal.”

Marco Thrush, president of Shadow of the Colossus remake developer Bluepoint Games, confirmed it has PS5 dev kits - which Wired said was similar to the dev kit referenced by Gizmodo last week - and that it was already working away on a game for the system.

“We're working on a big one right now. I'll let you figure out the rest,” said Thrush. 

“I could be really specific and talk about experimenting with ambient occlusion techniques, or the examination of ray-traced shadows,” EA chief studios officer Laura Miele said in Wired's interview. “More generally, we’re seeing the GPU be able to power machine learning for all sorts of really interesting advancements in the gameplay and other tools.”

Speaking with GameDaily.biz, Serkan Games’ Dr Serkan Toto said there’s still “a long road” of teasers and announcements, such as today’s events and the likely full public reveal, ahead of next year's launch.

“Well I think there was no surprise about the PS5 for holiday 2020,” David Cole of DFC Intelligence added. “I don’t think it will change where the industry is at. We are at the end of a lifecycle so you have lots of people holding out for a new system and also people buying the Switch as a second system.”

But we're not discounting the PlayStation 4, and neither are the analysts. Sony has said that there’s still more to come from PlayStation 4 with a final year that’s shaping up to be incredible just from first-party developers. Concrete Genie from PixelOpus launches today, while Death Stranding from Kojima Productions releases a month today on November 8.

“Sony has build up an incredible IP catalogue over the last 20 years, but it's pure speculation which IP will be used to coincide with the PS5 launch,” Toto continued. “My personal guesses include a new Gran Turismo, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 or maybe a blockbuster IP from a 3rd-party developer.”

“Sony has quite a few franchises that could do well," Cole remarked. "Personally, I thought Horizon Zero Dawn was better than Zelda: BOTW. There is God of War, Uncharted, Spider-Man, Death Stranding. However, PlayStation is not so much about big name exclusives but for having a deep catalog with something for everyone.”

Between the release of the first information in April and today’s drop, along with other bits of info in between such as the SSD demo to investors or how the system will use less power than PS4, it’s a unique way of rolling stuff out. In a way, it feels like it's getting the obvious stuff out of the way before dedicating any big event coming up mostly to games.

Sony has been mercenary in revealing the PS5's details along the way, leaning heavily into Wired's prestigious tech background with the original, albeit vague, details back in April. Between April's story and today, Sony has trickled out info to investors about the SSD and revealed how the PS5 will use less power than its predecessor. The analysts we spoke to agree that the slow reveal is a shrewd, tactical approach.

“Overall I think a slow reveal is the smart way to go,” Cole noted. “The more you give stuff out early, the more time it has to get stale in the public mind. Microsoft has a habit of tipping its hat too early. Sony has been a little more low key but still letting investors now they have something coming. I think that is the better strategy.”

Toto added: “Sony is quite clever with the rollout strategy. At least they are quite transparent without being too transparent, but they also try to give fans small bits of information along the way - without trolling people. What I find interesting is how quiet Microsoft is, as they are the ones who are under pressure after clearly losing this console generation to Sony.”

Not everything has been smooth sailing, with one third-party publisher telling GameDaily last week, amid the departure of Sony Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden, that the next-gen switchover has seen “the least amount of clarity we've ever had on a new console this close to transition” from Sony.

The publisher's concerns over the PS5's slow reveal are understandable, especially as the biggest are gearing up to determine where they're going to throw their initial support behind. And with more concrete details to go on, including a much needed release date, Sony's third-party partners should be able to breathe a little easier.