Finally here we are. There are just a few hours left before the event that all PlayStation fans have been waiting for: the full reveal of PlayStation 5 and its titles. But let’s turn back the clock for a few months and try to make local mind, summarizing the main events of this Odyssey on PS5 which will end in the next few hours.
It all starts on March 18, 2020. To replace their panel at the GDC dedicated to the console, Sony quickly and furiously organizes the Road to PS5, a presentation in which the console designer Mark Cerny explains (in an extensive and meticulous way) the news of PlayStation 5, both in terms of Hardware and Feature.
The first component that Cerny goes to analyze is the SSD. The choice to use a type of solid state memory rather than a traditional Hard Disk was designed to meet not only the players, but especially the developers. The reading speed of 5GB per second and the absence of SeekTime as regards the game files, will facilitate the creativity of Game Designers who will be able to do without tricks such as long corridors or elevators positioned in a workmanlike manner ”To allow the console to replace assets already loaded with new ones. In addition, this solution will not only eliminate the long waits during the installation of new patches, but will also remove the duplication of game assets, reducing (as far as possible) the final weight of the software.
To facilitate the data transfer process without running into the so-called bottle cones, the SSD has been joined by a Flash Controller in PCie 4.0 which will manage not only the streaming of textures, but also the new compression algorithm called Kraken.
By the way: did you know that the Sony console SSD was at the center of a drama between Epic Games leader Tim Sweeney and the well-known YouTube channel LinusTechTips?
Another key feature of PS5 will be the backward compatibility of PS4 titles. Unlike PlayStation 3, the new AMD chipset will contain a Legacy Mode at launch that will allow the launch of many PS4 and PS4 Pro titles. At the moment, it is predicting perfect compatibility with 90% of the titles in the Top 100 of the games more popular, but we think it will also support the various remastered releases in the past.
From a graphic point of view, PS5 will run with an AMD RDNA 2 GPU from 10.3 Teraflops (similar to that seen on Xbox Series X) and will support not only Raytracing but also features such as the new Geometrical Engine, which will take care of the optimization rendering of polygons. This led to the search for a solution dedicated to console power. To avoid PS4 overheating and ventilation problems, the PS5 power supply will start immediately at its maximum potential, therefore trying to find a balance between the required workload and subsequent overheating, without however compromising the integrity of the machine.
Finally, Cerny switches to audio features. Taking a cue from the solutions implemented on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation VR, the dedicated chipset will allow everyone to enjoy a 3D sound compartment, regardless of the devices (TV, Surround System or Headphones) available. So much so that this presentation, according to Sony, will be even more appreciable if listened to with a nice pair of headphones.
In short, after this long conference, users were impressed by the innovations brought but without the flab. We will have to wait a few months before seeing the first Tech Demo for PS5.
Tech Demo Unreal Engine 5
And it is on May 13, 2020 that Epic Games announces the arrival of the new Unreal Engine 5, after a very shy first approach to next-gen with version 4.25.
In this real-time rendered demo called Lumen in the Land of Nanite, we get acquainted with the innovations brought by the new engine, including the Nanite system for the virtualization of micro-polygons, the Lumen global lighting system and the algorithms for managing VFX ( Niagara) and in-game physics (Chaos Physics). Needless to say, the public freaks out and begins to imagine what the first titles will be that will exploit 100% – perhaps in a few years, perhaps before – the functionality of the new Unreal Engine.
The event, the rumors and the doubts
So we come to June 4, 2020. After months of chatter, hype and waiting, the players would have obtained a true reveal of the new Sony console. However, a big deal happens: due to the protests linked to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Sony is forced to postpone the presentation until 11 June. Regardless of your opinion, the idea of holding an event on the same day as a victim’s funeral and symbol of such an important movement would have put anyone – at the PR level – in a bad light.
In this week of peace, however, something happens: some insiders present on social networks start talking and bringing back an old meme of the PS4 community: a graphically renewed version of Bloodborne on PC and PS5 developed by BluePoint Games. Undoubtedly, compared to a few years ago, Sony began to release its exclusives on Steam too, but in case this rumor turns out to be true: will this be Sony’s cross-platform strategy? Will you (like Microsoft) also start to bring part of your stock also on PC?
The first rumors about the studios that will participate in the event also arrive: in addition to Santa Monica who – in all probability – will announce their new post-God of War era project, a rumor is starting to go online that Konami, Rockstar Games and 2K are ready to announce something big.
PS5 1TB was also listed at £599.99 too, apparently pic.twitter.com/gFLOxvwNll
— Wario64 (@Wario64) June 10, 2020
We come to the doubts that this presentation has the obligation to eliminate: how will Sony recover those months of silence in which Microsoft has implemented a functional marketing strategy for Xbox Series X? How will the first exclusives be managed? Will they be cross-gen like Xbox titles? And if they are, will they be supported by a loyalty program such as Microsoft’s Smart Delivery? Finally, the price. How much will the Coronavirus emergency affect the production and final price of PS5? Will we find ourselves in front of a luxury toy but with low costs, or will we attend a PS3-2 (citing the “599 US Dollars” of the ex-CEO of Sony Kazuo Hirai)?
To find out, we just have to wait for these last hours. We are at the starting blocks of this new generation of consoles and we hope that the race between both sides is exciting and full of surprises.