The PlayStation 5 is an upcoming home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced in 2019 as the successor to the PlayStation 4, it is scheduled to launch in late 2020. The platform is anticipated to launch in two varieties, as a base PlayStation 5 system incorporating a Ultra HD Blu-ray compatible optical disc drive for retail game support alongside digital distribution via the PlayStation Store, and a lower-cost Digital variant lacking the disc drive while retaining digital download support.
The PlayStation 5 features a customized solid state drive designed for high-speed data streaming to enable significant improvements in graphical performance. The hardware also features a custom AMD GPU capable of ray tracing, support for 4K resolution displays and high frame rates, new audio hardware for real-time 3D audio effects, and backward compatibility with most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games.
The first news of the PlayStation 5 came from lead architect Mark Cerny, in an interview with Wired magazine in April 2019. In early 2019, Sony’s financial report for the quarter ending March 31, 2019, affirmed that new next-generation hardware was in development but would ship no earlier than April 2020. In a second Wired magazine interview in October 2019, Sony said it intends to ship its next-generation console worldwide by the end of 2020. The current hardware specifications were released in October 2019. At CES 2020, Sony unveiled the official logo for the platform, which follows the similar minimalist styling of the previous PlayStation consoles and brand. Full specifications were given in an online presentation by Cerny and published by Sony and Digital Foundry on March 18, 2020. Digital Foundry spoke with Cerny in detail and published a “deep dive” on April 2.
A major game library showcase for the PlayStation 5 had been planned for June 4, 2020, but was postponed until June 11 in light of events due to the George Floyd protests. This presentation also premiered the external design of the PlayStation 5.
Sony plans to launch the PlayStation 5 by the end of 2020, as to be available for end-of-year holiday sales.
Two versions are expected for launch: The base PlayStation 5 will include a Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive, while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition will omit this drive, serving as a lower-cost version for consumers who prefer to buy games through digital download. Both versions will ship with one Dual-sense controller.
Bloomberg reported in February 2020 from people with knowledge of Sony’s manufacturing process that the current bill of materials selected for the unit were estimated to be about US$450 total, driven by the current higher costs of flash memory, which was in high demand by cell phone manufacturers for the roll out of 5G wireless connectivity. Bloomberg estimates the PlayStation price will be at least US$470, however increased revenue from online subscription services may allow Sony “greater flexibility” on final hardware pricing.
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