The rumored PS5 is already confirmed for quite a long while. Though it is still officially a few years away from appearing in our gaming lounges, there are already lots of either approved and deduced information about its release, features, capabilities, and, for this article, its technologies.
But before we start enumerating all the juiciest tech the PS5 has to offer, let us first ask the most fundamental question about the PS5:
Why develop the console?
Nowadays, we do have enough enjoyment in PS4 games. 1080p or even 4k ultra HD titles provide us most of our gaming needs — to the extent we can explore virtual reality. Heck, with the massive revival of retro-bit games, the continuous development of cell-shading techniques, as well as, revolutionary concepts that ditch the need for optimized GPU usage altogether, it would seem that there is a minimal incentive (if there is at all), to even develop the PS5.
Because we need an upgrade?
Think about it. How many years has it been since the release of the PS4 or the PS4 Pro? The PS4 started to thrive in an era where the most budget-friendly competitive GPU is the GTX 750 Ti, a graphics card that, frankly speaking, is already laughably inferior to the cheapest competitive GPUs available on the market as of 2019.
As such, we are leaving the PS4 behind to develop the PS5 to move forward. And, that’s it. Besides, there is also another indirect reason why, which we will discuss a bit later.
Picture Perfect Ray Tracing
Ray tracing is perhaps a technology not exactly new even today. But it had only seen prominent use in the last few years due to efficiency-based incremental improvements developed for commercial GPUs in the previous years.
For those who are not familiar, it is a rendering technique that simulates beams or rays of light to create an image or environment depending on the other solid 3D objects present around the image. This results in almost realistic light settings, which can potentially make the most basic of 3D settings into something that seems like the real world.
According to the official data unveiled by system architect Mark Cerny, the PS5 would most likely use an 8-core, 16-thread AMD CPU that is of Zen2 architecture, and would have a clock speed of around 3.2 GHz. This will presumably be combined with a Navi-based next-gen AMD GPU rated at 12 to 14 teraflops. That puts it around three to four times more power efficient than the PS4 Pro.
Does that sound powerful, fast, or even good? Absolutely! So powerful, that it can technically do ray tracing on its own. If these inference estimates are accurate, we will have the very first ray tracing-capable gaming console in the next few years.
The sample video above essentially turned Minecraft into ‘Realcraft’ with modern ray tracing technology. Think of the wonders it could do to something like Horizon Zero Dawn, or even Red Dead Redemption 2.
Seamless Data Optimization
Also known as “no more loading screens —” for real this time. SSDs have been known to significantly reduce data transfer times, thus loading times, due to flash memory technology. It is reported that the PS5 will use SSDs as its primary hard drive, which will be combined with a patented software technology that is designed to “remove loading screens altogether.”
Of course, it is still not sure how exactly fast it will be, but with such a straight and bold claim, the source of information must have been very confident that this will be possible in the next few years.
Such data transfer enhancements are not just limited in the local hardware department. The PS5 will also sport upgraded cloud computing technologies to improve connected gaming performance, whereas the PS4 might have remote play options, as well as optimized streaming and media sharing functionalities; the PS5 will take it several steps further and emulate something the likes of Google Stadia.
That’s right. The PS5 will also promote the concept of your games entirely in the cloud only for you to remotely access. This is presumably in anticipation for yet another round of incremental developments in telecommunications technology in the next decade. Probably not straight up 5G, as that is one still mired with many implementation issues at the moment. But something more transitional, just a few steps away from our current LTE systems.
Visual and Virtual Overdrive
We can’t discuss upcoming technologies in the PS5, or any game console for that matter, without mentioning what perhaps is the most important in terms of general gaming experience — vision.
Accurately what displays we will use for the PS5, and if the PS5 will have an enhanced version of the PSVR. One thing is almost certain, though. The standard display resolution will undoubtedly be 8k, with 4k as the bare minimum, and 1080p below as the “classic” resolutions.
While 8k displays certainly are not that normal yet to be considered “standard,” we are already progressing rapidly towards its implementation in nex-gen monitors. Since for one thing, we are already tinkering with its use already.
In fact, there is even considerable thought that the PS5 might extend upwards to 16k resolutions. That one will certainly NOT be standard, most likely as an option if you can set screen systems such as these at home.
As for PSVRs upcoming little brother, well, there isn’t one. Since the bulk of VR processing is in the console, the headset is more or less an output interface. It has been clarified, however, that the current PSVR will be compatible with the upcoming PS5. Thus, there is just little reason to design a successor for the VR headset — for now.
As mentioned by Global Head of R&D Dominic Mallinson explained in an interview, an enhanced PSVR with a few convenience and efficiency tweaks, such as lesser wires, or lighter build, or even better tracking using newer technologies could be the impetus to introduce the little brother.
Other Interesting, but Less ‘Tech’ Important Tidbits
Most of the other technologies currently heard for the PS5 are not too game-changing, or perhaps a bit too run of the mill to give special mention even if it does represent a significant change from what the previous PS generations had.
For example, the debate over whether the PS5 will focus more on digital assets, or if it will introduce technologies that allow users to enjoy direct hardware like the good ol’ days. Or even the big news that the PS5 will be backward-compatible to everything going back to even the first PSX games. Which was something that the PS2 and PS3 tried before, but ultimately wasn’t even able to properly do.
Upcoming PS5 controllers may be of considerably essential to mention in terms of technology. But based on what we have heard so far, there isn’t any significant departure from what the PS4 can already do. Maybe infuse PS Move functions onto it? Enhanced touch precision, perhaps? Quite hard to top that share button, you know.
As of whether every single bit of detail will check out once Sony finally decides to pull the curtain up for PS5, there is no final confirmation just yet — at least for the better part of this year.