Sony has officially confirmed a late-2020 launch date for its upcoming PlayStation 5 consoles, which will be based on a semi-custom Zen 2 processor from AMD, while also revealing details about the PlayStation VR 2 that will likely launch at its side - and, unfortunately, also told dozens of European staff that they are no longer required.
Announced earlier this week on the Sony PlayStation Blog in a post by Sony Interactive Entertainment president and chief executive officer Jim Ryan, the PlayStation 5 holds few surprises. Scheduled to be on-shelves in time for the 2020 holiday shopping period, the PlayStation 5 is effectively an upgraded PlayStation 4. At its heart will be a semi-custom AMD processor, as before, this time based on the Zen 2 microarchitecture and boasting eight cores and 16 threads - which, the company has claimed in an interview with Wired, will include hardware-accelerated ray-tracing capabilities. On-board storage will be switched from a mechanical hard drive to an SSD as standard, while the Blu-ray drive is being upgraded to support 4k playback and high-capacity game discs.
Ryan's primary focus, however, was on the controller that will ship with the console. 'One of our goals with the next generation is to deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games, and we had the opportunity with our new controller to reimagine how the sense of touch can add to that immersion,' he writes. 'To that end, there are two key innovations with the PlayStation 5’s new controller. First, we’re adopting haptic feedback to replace the "rumble" technology found in controllers since the 5th generation of consoles. With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud.
'The second innovation is something we call adaptive triggers, which have been incorporated into the trigger buttons (L2/R2). 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. 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.'
While Sony has made no announcement of its own regarding the next generation of its popular PlayStation VR virtual reality platform, meanwhile, LetsGoDigital has dug up a freshly-granted patent for what appears to be the PlayStation VR 2. Designed as an upgrade to the current release, the PSVR 2 includes front- and rear-facing cameras in the headset itself, complete with augmented-reality style mixed reality modes, along with an additional camera located in each wand-style controller. The patent also discusses the possibility to use wireless connectivity between the console and the headset.
Unfortunately, Sony's run of good press was spoiled late yesterday with a report from the Video Games Chronicle which cites 'people with knowledge of the situation' as confirming that Sony has announced dozens of redundancies at its European division and US services team. The European redundancies have been blamed by said sources on a reorganisation which effectively put the US arm of Sony Interactive Entertainment in control of the European division. Sony has refused to comment on the report.
A final launch date, along with pricing for the console, has yet to be announced.
April 3 2020 | 14:09