PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5’s First Details From Sony With PS4 Backwards Compatibility, Ray-Tracing, And SSD



Sony Interactive Entertainment’s lead architect Mark Cerny spoke with Wired in an interview to share the very first details on the company’s next-generation console that has yet to be revealed.


Below are some highlights from the interview on the new console, dubbed the PlayStation 5:

  • Cerny: “The key question is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be.”


  • According to Cerny, the “next-gen console” will not release in 2019, however, a number of studios have been working with it, and Sony recently accelerated its deployment of devkits in order to provide game creators with time to adjust its capabilities.


  • Sony’s next-gen console will have an AMD chip based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line with eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture.


  • As for the GPU, it is a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family. It’ll support ray-tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments.


  • The immediate effects of ray-tracing mostly goes into the visual side of things, as it mimics the way light bounces from object to object in a scene, making it easier to more accurately render reflective surfaces and refractions through glass or liquid.


  • Cerny on ray-tracing: “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. It’s all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”


  • Cerny on AMD chip’s custom unit for 3D audio: “As a gamer, it’s been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”


  • When asked whether there will be a next-generation PSVR to go along with the PS5, Cerny says VR is very important to the company and the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console, but didn’t share more on that, however, with the new CPU and GPU’s ability to deliver unprecedented visual and audioo effects in a game, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of an upgraded version in the future.


  • What Cerny finds more exciting is the hard drive, what he considers “the key to the next generation.” Do demonstrate the decreased loading time of Sony’s next-generation console, Cerny compared the loading time of the 2018 PS4 title Spider-Man running on the PS4 Pro, which took about 15 seconds for Spidey to fast-travel. When doing the same thing on a next-gen devkit (an early “low-speed” version) connected to a different TV, it took only 0.8 seconds.


  • Cerny: “No matter how powered up you get as Spider-Man, you can never go any faster than this, because that’s simply how fast we can get the data off the hard drive.”


  • During its demonstration, Cerny paused the action to prove that the surrounding environment remained crisp. While the demonstration was used with a 4K TV, the next-gen console will support 8K graphics.


  • Sony wouldn’t share details about the SSD, including its makers and whether it utilizes the new PCIe 4.0 standard, but Cerny says it has raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs.


  • Cerny: “The raw read speed is important, but so are the details of the I/O [input-output] mechanisms and the software stack that we put on top of them. I got a PlayStation 4 Pro and then I put in a SSD that cost as much as the PlayStation 4 Pro—it might be one-third faster.”


  • No further info was shared regarding services and other features, games and price, but Sony confirmed that their next-gen console will be backward-compatible with PS4 games. 


You can read the full interview in its entirety over at Wired.

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