Regardless of its name, we know that the next console won’t be coming this year, according to Cerny.
Cerny acted as the lead system architect for the PlayStation 4 and for the upcoming console, and he had his own hopes for improvements between the console generations. The PlayStation 5 is getting a hardware boost, in part from an improved CPU. The CPU is “based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture,” according to Wired. Along with the AMD chip comes a custom unit for 3D audio that Cerny anticipates will make a big difference in the audio experience.
Without the aid of external hardware, this will make the sound from the game seemingly come to the player from different directions: above, behind, to the sides via TV speakers or headphones.
“As a gamer,” Cerny said, “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.”
Plenty of details weren’t revealed about the PlayStation 5— we don’t have a confirmed name, release date, or price, for example. But, we do know it will support the use of the PSVR headset, and that it will still support physical media. The console will also be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games.
It will also be getting a new GPU, a custom version from Radeon’s Navi lineup that will support ray tracing. This feature allows for more dynamic representations of illumination, shadow, and reflective surfaces. For more details on ray tracing, check out this Variety feature.
One of the, arguably, most exciting aspects revealed for the next-gen console will be its high-speed solid-state hard drive. As games get larger, the longer it takes them to load and the play. A high-speed SSD could be a literal game-changer.
Cerny demonstrated the speed of the new drive using 2018’s “Spider-Man.” Fast travel for the titular character took 15 seconds on a PlayStation 4 Pro, and a next-gen devkit completed the same exact action in 0.8 seconds.
A high-speed SSD can render the in-game world quicker for the player, enabling them to move even faster through it. Cerny explained the stopper that the PS4’s hard drive capabilities place on the gaming experience, again using “Spider-Man” as an example.
“No matter how powered up you get as Spider-Man, you can never go any faster than this,” Cerny said while demo-ing the game,” because that’s simply how fast we can get the data off the hard drive.”
Cerny demonstrated using the next-gen console, and the in-game camera “speeds uptown like it’s mounted to a fighter jet,” according to Wired, despite the environment’s images still remaining crisp.
Loading times are part of the reason busy loading screens are so prevalent, an attempt to distract players from time passing, which Cerny mentioned as well.
“We’re very used to flying logos at the start of the game and graphic-heavy selection screens, even things like multiplayer lobbies and intentionally detailed loadout processes,” Cerny said, “because you don’t want players just to be waiting.”
Since Sony is not holding a keynote at E3 this year, we likely won’t hear more at that event.
What we do know is that the transition between PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 will be a “soft” one, meaning that multiple games will be released for both consoles. Kojima’s “Death Stranding” will for sure be releasing on the PlayStation 4, but there’s no confirmation yet if the game will also release on the next console, for example.
Some of the details of the next console, such as ray tracing support, were in line with this Variety feature about predictions for next-gen focuses, based on the highlights at 2019’s Game Developers Conference.