After the Wired article late last year talking about the ambitions that Sony had for the next Playstation, Mark Cerny’s talk giving more technical details in April, we have finally seen the final hardware design for the Playstation 5 and what games we have to look forward to when the console launches sometime later this year.
There is a lot to talk about with the PS5. Plenty of memes, too. The design won’t work for everyone, both in terms of aesthetics and the sheer size. If you have an entertainment center, get out your tape measurer because there is a good chance it will not fit.
The Xbox Series X has been mocked for looking like a refrigerator – something team Xbox has embraced. The Playstation 5 is being compared to a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi. At least the Xbox Series X looks a lot like a smart home device and won’t be out of place next to your TV. The Playstation is more distinctly its own thing – a futuristic, swooping, high-contrast design that is trying to impart to buyers that gaming is about to take a massive step forward.
More interesting are the two PS5 SKUs that will be available at launch: One with a disc drive, and the other without. Pricing isn’t yet available. A few analysts have worked out that the cost of a UHD Blu-Ray drive is around $20, but the value that physical media provides is likely much higher than that in consumers’ minds. Meaning that Sony might need to price the digital console for $50 less, at a minimum. Sony will make up for that through game sales in the digital storefront (cost of physical media, retailer’s cuts, and distribution effectively go to zero).
Pricing isn’t available yet. It is thought that Sony might be waiting for Microsoft to reveal their pricing so they can undercut team Xbox. The Series X has a more expensive GPU that provides a 2 teraflop power advantage, but Phil Spencer has commented that he has the backing of Microsoft to price the console competitively. But even if the PS5 does come in below expectations, it may be undone by the rumored “Lockhart” next-gen console from Microsoft, which targets a significantly lower price with a 4 teraflop GPU and around 10GB of ram.
Outside of hardware and price, for many gamers the console they buy depends on the games. The PS5 looks like it will have a good selection of titles at launch and in the following year or two.
PS5 Games We’re Excited For
Sony has a large first-party studio lineup, but we have only gotten a taste of what is to come.
Horizon: Forbidden West
Horizon: Forbidden West is the sequel to Horizon: Zero Dawn, an open-world action-adventure game that wowed us with giant robot dinosaurs that Aloy fought with a bow. The story goes that robotics became a massive industry, eventually leading to the creation of artificial intelligence capable of sentient thought. In a moment of self-awareness, the AI decided that it should create new robots that look like dinosaurs. Then the corruption came, and by that point, the robots could self replicate by consuming organic matter.
Eventually, the Earth was picked clean. Now, not too far into the future, mankind is rising again, but the corruption is back. In the first game, Aloy fought it back, but it isn’t gone. The corruption has gone further West and into an area of what is now San Francisco.
Guerilla Games is targeting a 2021 launch window for the game, but we won’t be getting our hopes up. It could wind up being late 2022 when we finally get our hands on it.
Having seen the trailer, it should be worth the wait. Graphically, it is a step forward. Although it is hard to impress us after the first game. What is most obvious is how the more powerful PS5 allows developers to push a much greater density of objects and significantly better lighting. The gameplay looks like it will further build upon the first, but we are still waiting for more details.
Gran Turismo 7
Gran Turismo 7 was a strange reveal. We got a brief trailer followed by snippets of gameplay, as well as the menu structure. Overall, it looks like Polyphony took Gran Turismo Sport and polished everything up just a bit. We were shown ray tracing and the dynamic time of day system, but no word on weather, number of cars on track, what tracks will be in the game, or online features.
We’re a little less excited only because it currently feels like an upgrade to Gran Turismo Sport, which might hurt depending on what happens with Forza 8. Rumors are that Forza 8 features a completely reworked physics system, a new atmospheric model to simulate air resistance, plus an entirely new graphics engine.
No release date was given for Gran Turismo 7. If they follow the same formula as Sport, expect it to arrive sooner than later, with free content being delivered over time.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Aside from being longtime Ratchet & Clank fans, the newest entry to the series, Rift Apart, gives us a glimpse at the Playstation 5’s SSD performance. In Rift Apart, players will be able to jump between worlds almost seamlessly. What would normally take 30 seconds or longer can now be done in about 3 seconds.
How this jump mechanic will work in the game hasn’t been discussed, but at one point in the trailer and gameplay reveal, we see Ratchet use a portal gun to pull objects from another world into the current world to defeat enemies. At another point, while falling from a building, a portal opens and allows Ratchet to land safely on a flying vehicle in another world.
Gameplay looks more refined with new enemies, guns, dodge moves, and a new playable female character. The graphics, on the other hand, have improved significantly. They are now closer than ever to what Pixar is doing .
No word on a release for this one, but the game is looking quite polished.
Heavy hitters from Santa Monica and Naughty Dog haven’t been revealed (they might not be ready until 2023 at the earliest,) but we did get a glimpse at a few other titles. Demon’s Souls is a notable standout, even if it is a remake of the original; Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is another we are keeping our eye on. There are a few others, too:
- Astro’s Playroom
- Destruction AllStars
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure
The Playstation 5 is giving us a lot of reasons to want one at launch. But Microsoft is looking to avoid bungling the launch of their new console like they did with the Xbox One. This time around, Xbox promises a more powerful console, a competitive price, and a slew of first-party exclusives being delivered semi-yearly over the coming years. Whether you are team Xbox or team Sony, or don’t care either way, the next generation will be amazing.