Sony provides in-depth details of the PlayStation 5’s specs

    
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While the proof is often in the pudding in terms of seeing actual games run on the hardware, many people still put a lot of personal and mental investment in the hardware specs of a new gaming console. Sony has most definitely provided those details in the form of a presentation that offered a rather deep dive of the upcoming PlayStation 5’s specs.

In synopsis, the PS5 will feature a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.5GHz and a custom GPU based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and a custom 825GB SSD, which will reportedly provide faster load times overall to the tune of 2GB in 0.27 seconds. The GPU and CPU will also run at variable frequencies, diverting unused CPU power to the GPU and vice versa, though more technically demanding games may likely see the GPU and CPU not hit their top speeds. Sony’s lead system architect Mark Cerny said that downclocking effects should be minimal, however.

Speaking of Mark Cerny, he was the face of the reveal presentation, which was originally meant to be a developer-aimed showcase at this year’s GDC. As a result, the Wheatabix levels of dryness of the reveal likely came as a surprise to many gamers watching. That said, it’s perhaps almost better than having a stampede of hype men shrieking at the camera. Maybe.

With that information in mind, has your opinion about whether you’re getting a PS5 changed from the last time we talked about it? Let us know in the comments. And if you happened to miss the presentation, you can take in all of the packing styrofoam excitement in the embed.

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The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

Stats, stats, stats. As Nintendo has proved decisively time and time again, you can have all the teraflops you want, but in gaming there is only one constant truth: content is king. This is where Sony has the biggest advantage over Microsoft, and will continue to have it for some time to come.

Microsoft, for all of the “improvements” that they made over the last couple years, still continues to behave more like a AAA publisher than a platform holder, and has continued to allow a gaping hole where exclusive, large scale single player games (aka: system sellers) should be to exist on their platform. Microsoft has shown an abject refusal to let third party publishers have all the Live Service crap while they fill in the gaps in their platform’s library. A shining example of this is the first game that Ninja Theory pumped out after being acquired by Microsoft: an Overwatch style, multiplayer, hero shooter/brawler that is loaded up with microtransactions; because apparently there’s a real lack of that type of game available (that was sarcasm for those who can’t tell), and it’s exactly what a studio acclaimed for story focused, single player games should be building (still sarcasm).

Despite their deep pockets, Microsoft is basically trying to nickle and dime their way out of this problem: most of the studios they’ve scooped up have been small indies, and they will continue to build small indie games; because there’s apparently a huge lack indies available (more sarcasm). Meanwhile the larger studios capable of AAA scale titles (mainly Obsidian and Ninja Theory) won’t have anything ready for a couple more years. Complain all you want about platform holders locking down third party exclusives, the fact is that in a competitive market place that is a necessity because no publisher can produce enough first party content to continuously release system sellers. Sony understands that, but Microsoft clearly doesn’t as you can see from how they’ve simply ignored any short term solutions. The refusal to open the wallet and aggressively pursue locking down third party exclusives has continuously put them in the position of playing catch up to Sony (this is true even for the 360/PS3 era: while the 360 outsold the PS3 in North America, the rest of the world stuck with Sony for that generation, thus outselling the 360 worldwide).

On the other side of the coin, Sony has always been mainly concerned with producing system sellers for its first party games. The best system sellers are the games that fill the holes left by major third party publishers: right now that is large scale single player games, and Sony has a crap-ton of them, even without full backwards compatibility at launch (only about 100 at launch; just expect more titles to be added over time just like Microsoft has been doing). Even with Microsoft claiming that they’re moving towards a more hardware agnostic approach, Sony still has more reasons to get into their gaming ecosystem over Microsoft’s.

TL;DR: gamers will follow the games; and Sony has them, while Microsoft does not.

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Jack Pipsam

I have to say, I doubt Microsoft purchased Ninja Theory for Bleeding Edge, but it was already in development at the time of acquisition. If that’s the game they were wanting to make at the time, would you have preferred Microsoft tell them to cancel it? Because even though that’s not all the kind of game I’m interested in, I wouldn’t have wanted it cancelled if that’s what the developers were wanting to do.
Same with Grounded from Obsidian, that apparently was mostly a team of thirteen people within the studio which they had already been working on, should have Microsoft told them no because we expected their next title to be single-player?
One of the biggest issues with Microsoft’s past studio setup has been things were too rigid, this studio only did this, that studio only did that. If the new studios are allowed to hop-around a little, I think that’s overall a healthy thing, especially when GamePass is taken into account.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

Honestly, yes they should have cancelled Bleeding Edge. Ninja Theory was purchased nearly 2 years ago, which means they were maybe half way through development at best. Yes, those resources should have been moved building what Microsoft lacks, single player titles. I don’t know how far along Grounded was, given that Obsidian is a much more recent purchase, so it might have been in much closer to ready for launch.

I get what you’re saying about Microsoft’s rigid nature, and that is a big reason they’re in this particular mess. However, the fact that they did pursue finishing Bleeding Edge, a game that was still fairly early in development, shows that they still continue to behave more like EA than Sony or Nintendo.

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Jack Pipsam

See I don’t see it that way personally, if it was like EA they would have happily cancelled whatever project the studio would have wanted to make and instead tell them to make what they want them to make.

The thing to keep in mind is going forward Microsoft will no doubt try to swivel these studios to make the kind of games they’re wanting them to make as they are after all the sole-funding and green-lighting source, but when they’re in talks to acquire studios, they need to provide certain reassurances. Microsoft has had one clear narrative on this, for the new studios being purchased, they have creative freedom, it’s been said over and over. Do I entirely believe that? No, that would be naive. But I do believe that that for traditionally independently minded studios like Ninja Theory or especially Double Fine, that having a reasonable degree of creative control is extremely important to them and why they were purchased in the first place. Why buy a studio like Double Fine for example if you’re not expecting a bunch of random games from different genres?

I get the impression that if Microsoft had told Ninja Theory they don’t want Bleeding Edge, Ninja Theory would have never agreed to be purchased. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to burn a bridge with a studio who you’ve just purchased for their talent, doing so would risk important members instantly bailing to setup something new instantly.
As far as I can tell, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is the first game announced which began under Microsoft and seems to be the kind of single-player game to which you’re desiring.
What would Microsoft gain from killing a game already in development from buying them, it would only piss off and deeply unsettled those working there, not exactly great when you’re after a highly creative studio.

My prediction is Bleeding Edge’s future will depend entirely on how it actually goes after launch, if it’s some strange hit, great it’ll get support, if not then it’ll have six or so months before entering a kind of quiet maintenance mode while everyone goes back to single-player. Microsoft can keep pushing their supposed ‘creative freedom’ narrative while the staff there can be possibly satisfied with their new ownership. I mean could you image the headlines if it came out Microsoft had killed Bleeding Edge while talking up the studio’s creative freedom? It would permanently scar the public relations relationship.

You seem to suggest Microsoft isn’t interested in single-player, but I see quite the contrary to that, everything to me suggests that Microsoft was very much interested in single-player focused studios. Ninja Theory would have purchased for this, Obsidian would have been purchased of this, inXile would have purchased for this, Compulsion Games would have been purchased for this, Double Fine would have been purchased for this, Playground Games is rumoured to be working on a reboot Fable game and while we don’t know what The Initiative is actually making, the constant word is that it’s very much meant to be their answer to a Sony style high-budget studio.
Out of the new studios being purchased, only Undead Labs is a multiplayer-dreaming studio and personally I still half-suspect they purchased them to just to save face just in case they end up shutting down after State of Decay 2 (which recently just got a huge update to basically reboot the game). And heck even then State of Decay from what I understand is largely played as a single-player game, the original certainly only was, so they could in their own way be counted as single-player.

Microsoft has made a lot of actual real terrible stuff-ups in their time. The Xbox One launch was a disaster, shutting down Lionhead & Press Play was awful, shutting down Ensemble never made sense then and even less now, 343i has never quite understood Halo, Rare under Microsoft could be charitably described as ‘rocky’, they’ve constantly failed to spread out as far as Sony has globally and they’re unwilling to play traditionally like Sony in terms of no longer wanting to play their old cards of buying deals and locking down hardware, as they’re now everything on PC (personally I don’t see this as a bad thing some tend too) and they’ve killed their fair share of services.

But I cannot see how Microsoft isn’t interested in single-player when all they’ve been doing is buying largely single-player studios in preparation for the next generation, it wouldn’t make sense to buy Compulsion or inXile only to force them to make a looter-shooter or whatever.
Will they win hearts & minds like Nintendo does, I doubt it. But also, they have their own audience, they’re different. That’s why I think it’s important to have all three of them in play as they’re each off doing their own thing, feeding off each-other where prudent.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I didn’t say that Microsoft isn’t interested in single player games: I said they’re more interested in behaving like EA or ActivisionBlizzard than Sony or Nintendo. Triple A publishers haven’t completely given up on single player games: in the last year ActiBliz published Sekiro, and EA published Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order: neither one has completely abandoned single player games. But much like those two, Microsoft will not pass an opportunity to launch a live service game at the cost of developing desperately needed single player games.

I understand that they’re allowing their newly acquired studios creative freedom within the constraints of overall needs -which is exactly what Sony does with their studios as well- but I maintain that Bleeding Edge is a mistake. Cancelling it, or at least putting development on hold, in order to fill the gaps needed in their library faster would have been a smarter move. Telling the new studio “hey, this Bleeding Edge thing looks cool, but we need you guys to back burner it for a year or two in order to get some single player content out the door first” would hardly sour relations with the studio, as they undoubtedly knew why they were being bought up to begin with. Instead Microsoft allowed the studio to crank out yet another live service that they don’t need.

I get a lot of people look at what Microsoft has been doing and think that it’s awesome, but I look at it and I see business as usual: all these supposedly great moves are actually all about the live service recurrent monetization. The only difference I see is that they’ve figured out how to distract you from the stink of their BS so you’re less likely to notice the fact that they’re sticking more hands into your wallet. Their behavior continues to be pretty much the same as EA, Actibliz, and Ubisoft. As a result, they will end up falling behind Sony yet again, because as I said before: gamers will follow the games; Sony has them, and Microsoft doesn’t, and won’t for several more years. Ultimately, we’re going to have to say that we both see Microsoft’s moves differently and leave it at that.

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Greaterdivinity

Lemme give all this a big ‘ol MEH as hard as I can.

Why? Because this shit doesn’t matter. Power wasn’t a huge factor this generation and the difference between OG Xbox/PS4 was noticeable (PS4 with the bigger edge), as is the difference between the One X and Pro (One X with the bigger edge). Yet that power largely didn’t matter, their rollouts and exclusives did.

And it matters even LESS this generation. Why?

Ain’t nobody gonna be gaming in 8K. Those machines can likely not output it (without crazy upscaling) and ain’t gonna be no consumers with 8K TV’s.

120fps doesn’t matter either. The overwhelming majority of consumers own standard TV’s, which don’t approach anywhere near that refresh rate.

Loading times, since both are using some sort of SSD solution, will be similar as well.

All this bickering over specs that most people don’t even understand (I know I don’t, I get bits here and there and can put together context clues, but largely my eyes end up glossing over) is silly. The only people these specs really matter to are developers scoping out games so they know what they’re working with.

For all of us? Yet again the only thing that will really matter is what OS/online ecosystem you prefer, where your friends are gaming, and what exclusives they’ll have. The Switch is a relative potato compared to these consoles, but you can bet your butt it’ll still be selling like mad.

Speaking of, I’ll see my way out as I try to hunt down one of the “Let’s Go” Switch bundles, since I’m finally caving and grabbing one now that it seems the “Switch Pro” rumors are all but totally dead and I have little use for the extended battery life.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I’m in agreement with pretty much everything there.

I think 120fps will make a difference sooner than later though. Most new mid-range and higher TVs over 50 inches made in the last year or so have 120hz refresh rates. Much like 16:9 aspect ratios, it’s starting to become the standard.

But, the other side of that is that essentially these machines will basically have the power of a Ryzen 5 3600 and a GTX 2070. That’s a damn powerful machine, but even something like that isn’t going to do current gen games at native 4k 60+ fps with all the PC eye candy, let alone even be capable of pushing more than 5 to 10fps at actual 8k. More than likely, player will have to choose between resolution and fps: either we’ll get 4k at 30 to 60fps, or 1440p at 100+ fps. The 8k claim is actually just a statement of their machines being capable of outputting an image onto an 8k screen (which isn’t something most PC GPUs can’t do at the moment). The Nintendo Switch only does a 720p image regardless of the screen its hooked up to: being capable of outputting the image on a 4k or 8k screen is not the same as actually playing at those resolutions.

Sony and Microsoft can make all the big claims they want about the power of the machines, but it will continue to be the same story as the last two generations of consoles: the first two or three years of the generation will push gaming graphics forward; while the next three to four will hold it back, as that tends to be the time frame at which lower mid-ranger gaming PCs tend to overtake consoles in terms of processing power again.

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traja

I am excited about the CPU in the new consoles. That is the one part that is seeing a massive upgrade over current gen and games right now are having to design around the ridiculously slow processors.

Beyond the CPU it’s pretty meh for me too. People are expecting wonders from the fast SSDs but what PC has shown is that SSD speed matters little in gaming outside of a few exceptions. It’s very unlikely to revolutionize anything.

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Greaterdivinity

Beyond the CPU it’s pretty meh for me too. People are expecting wonders from the fast SSDs but what PC has shown is that SSD speed matters little in gaming outside of a few exceptions.

Kinda sorta not really. SSD’s can be a pretty big performance increase for some games, and games aren’t really designed around that level of data transfer right now. If developers have that as a baseline, that frees them to do a whole lot more exciting stuff since they’re no longer limited by HDD transfer rates.

I couldn’t say what, but between the buzz I’m seeing from some folks in response to the news and the general improvements that come from being a SSD, there’s room for some really impressive looking stuff.

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traja

SSDs affect a lot but specifically SSD speed doesn’t currently matter much. Most games load 5% to 10% faster with a super fast SSD compared to SATA. So based on that I am not expecting a huge revolution to happen anytime soon.

People are always excited for new things but real world results are a different matter. Usually there are other bottlenecks that get in the way of really benefiting from the new bandwidth.

Hopefully I am wrong because upgrading to a new faster SSD would be fairly cheap on PC compared to other parts.

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Greaterdivinity

Uh…5-10%? Much, much, much faster than a 7200 rpm HDD, both when it comes to initial loads and when streaming a lot of data.

HDD usually isn’t what ends up bottlenecking PC’s for a variety of reasons when it comes to actual performance, but in a closed environment like a console there is the potential to absolutely take advantage of the hugely increased speeds.

Alls I know as a consumer is that when the people that make games are excited for new tech, that gets me excited for new tech. They know what it actually means in practical terms of creating the games we play, so I’m trusting in their expertise here. I just know it’ll likely lead to prettier games at the cost of increased storage space, which IMO is a fair tradeoff, especially since Sony doesn’t seem like they’ll be using a proprietary solution (which is good!).

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traja

You misunderstand. I am not comparing HDD to SSD. I am comparing SATA SSD to other faster connections, like NVME. Those in general get you about 5% to 10% faster load times compared to SATA. Spinning drives are of course far behind all SSD solutions.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

Ah, I see what you’re saying. Although I do think this comes back to the fact that game developers are not optimizing for SSDs of any type yet. The big advantage that consoles have over PCs is the set hardware configuration that allows for direct access to the hardware (as opposed to the PC’s need for APIs). With game devs able to program for NVMe drives on a static configuration, the difference will be pretty dramatic (eventually). Direct software to hardware access combined with the lightweight OS of a console means that the next gen consoles will likely be able to cut down load times even more dramatically than on PC (for a while), which will eventually lead to greater NVMe gaming gains on the PC as the tricks used for the consoles will eventually spill over to the PC.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

SSDs don’t make much difference in multiplayer games as load times are more dependent on network speeds, and that limits loading times to being no faster than the player with the slowest connection; but in single player games the differences can be night and day. Already in this gen, using a USB 3.0 connected SSD on a PS Pro or XB1X can cut load times by over half in large open world games like RDR2 or Assassin’s Creed; and that gets even faster on PS Pro when the primary HD is replaced with a SSD. Those gains are for console games that aren’t optimized for SSDs: with the new consoles having SSDs as a default, game devs will be able to optimize load times, eliminating the need for unskippable cutscenes and other such tricks to hide loading screens. SSDs in consoles will push more game devs to optimize for them, which will also improve the PC gaming experience.

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Robert Mann

Well, at least they finally jumped to 16GB for the whole system…

RAM being shared, it’s always been a bottleneck and part of why things just don’t look nigh as good on console. Sadly, now that they have games are more regularly pushing into the 10-12GB range, which means that things will have to slide to accommodate the consoles if integrating play.

*Sighs dramatically* Look, I’ve got nothing against people liking to play on other devices. I just like my games with more meat left on their bones, and the narrow chokepoint there keeps forcing some pre-butchering on titles. Sadly, due to price points they won’t go higher. There’s no real win on this part of this topic. :(

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Bryan Cole

Ugh….I planned to ONLY buy xbox but system aside, the rumors of new Silent Hill games exclusive to Playstation…..I’m torn…or I could just wait a few years for them to finally port to xbox…if they do…see my dilemma?

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Jack Pipsam

There was a rumour about Sony thinking of buying the IP, but I’m somewhat doubtful on it, Konami might not have any interest in making games much, but I don’t think they’re going to be selling off their IP. And even if it is true, that would be years away from a new game if it was the case.

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Jack Pipsam

The at-the-glance look between both consoles is that the Xbox is more powerful in every-way save for the SSD which the PS5 has the edge in (and maybe the 3D sound?). I wonder if Sony will pull a SEGA with their ‘Blast Processing’ in which the SNES was better in every-spec, save for RAM speed I think it was, so therefore BLAST PROCESSING!

But for me, the big disappointment I got from the PS5 is their backwards compatibility, apparently it only supports 100 PS4 games out of the box, while the Xbox Series X claims to support every Xbox One game, plus the XB1 backwards compatible original Xbox & 360, with native enhancements available to all of those.

I think Xbox getting ahead of Sony by a couple days along with their blog-post plus a couple invited YouTubers as meant that Microsoft has set the next-gen agender, clearly wanting to invert how last generation went in terms of narrative leading into the launch.

Of course in the end it’ll come down to games, which I suspect those new studios might be getting some new announcements at their “E3” “conference” this year. Likewise there’s a lot about Sony’s studios which we don’t know about, so I can only assume it’s the same situation, a lot cooking.

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Danny Smith

Man using Dead Space as an example of 3D sound was still a twisting the knife moment years later.

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Java Jawa

I’m an Xbox player just for the apps, windows integration and sleek UI so yup there it is.

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Armsbend

Price, games, subscription bullshit will matter most. As Vinnie said though – if the situation gets as bad as some people think it might – none of us will be discussing video games any longer. We will be more worried about finding a job, finding bread and where to find soap.

I used the last as reference in honor of my grandfather. When he died we found a drawer full of bars of soap. Like 30 or 40 bars. We couldn’t figure it out but my grandmother said he kept that because he was a child of the Depression. He would go weeks without a bath and didn’t want it to happen again.

You always found odd things like like from Depression era folks.

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Arktouros

I’m still more likely to get a new Xbox at this point.

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Vinnie travi

Not sure if anyone will have any money to buy one, but specs look nice