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PS5: what’s the latest PlayStation 5 news and when will Sony release it?

[Update: Hold onto your hats, folks, the latest report on the development of the PS5 suggests that the console could be released this very year. That’s right. 

SemiAccurate (via ResetEra) is claiming that it’s received some leaked information on the yet-to-be-announced console and says that the number of dev kits which have been distributed suggests the console could be released in 2018. 

In addition to this, SemiAccurate also reports that Sony will use this console to push its VR efforts even further, with VR-tech baked in at the Silicon level, and will sport a GPU based on AMD’s Navi architecture with a CPU that’s potentially a custom item from AMD’s Zen line.

Though SemiAcccurate has a decent track record with its reports, having accurately reported Nintendo’s Nvidia partnership for the Switch and the PS4 specs back in 2012, we still say take this with a pinch of salt. 

Though the specs sound plausible, a 2018 release date doesn’t. Regardless of how many developer kits that Sony has distributed, it feels to soon after the release of the PS4 Pro for the next PlayStation console. Besides that, now that we’re four months into the year it doesn’t feel like there’s sufficient build-up time to the introduction of a new console generation.]

 There’s something about the launch of a new games console that’s unlike anything else. It only comes once every few years and between the reveal of the specs, the launch titles, and the pre-order dates we all lose our minds somewhat.

It’s been five years since Sony last revealed a brand new console generation so we know that when the time of the PS5 comes around, we’ll hardly be able to keep it together.

However, as great as that announcement always is, the run up to it is pretty spectacular too. The rumors, the anticipation, the infuriatingly convincing fan-made product renders, they’re all part of it.

At this point in time, Sony hasn’t confirmed there’s a PS5 in the woks and even though we’d love to be able to say we know there’s an announcement coming soon, we can;t. It’s hard to say when we might get our first look at the PlayStation 5.

Don’t despair though – while we can’t be sure when the PS5 will be revealed or even announced, we do that a PlayStation 5 will be coming eventually. Sony’s President and CEO, Shawn Layden, confirmed as much in an interview with Golem.de. Sure, he said it wouldn’t be any time soon. But that’s better than not coming at all!

It’s hard to fault Sony for looking before it takes the leap into the next generation of consoles. The PS4 Pro is still relatively new to the market and its direct competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One X, is an even more recent release.

By introducing greater power and 4K capabilities to the market, mid-generation upgrades such as these have extended the lifespan of the current generation significantly. If we’re honest, we can’t really see any urgent need to start a new generation right now. And given Microsoft’s growing commitment to backwards compatibility, we think it’s key for Sony to really think about its next steps.

We imagine it’ll be another couple of years at least before a PlayStation 5 is necessary, or even wanted, and recent rumors have suggested that’s when it’ll arrive.

When Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, was asked about the PS5, he responded that he thought the PS5 was a question of ‘if’ rather than ‘when’

Though Sony briefly had the most powerful console on the market with the PS4 Pro, Microsoft threw a spanner into the works in November 2017 with its Xbox One X. It’s too early to tell just yet but that could spell trouble for Sony.

But just because Microsoft has launched a new system doesn’t necessarily mean that Sony will counter immediately – there are good reasons to believe that Sony is less comfortable with the idea of taking a mobile phone-style “upgrade every year” approach to consoles in the future, including comments from Yoshida himself.

Also, it boils down to simple economics: it’s well documented that the longer a console can persist on the high-street shelves, the more profitable it becomes, as economies of scale reduce manufacturing costs, while a large install base means publishers can sell more copies of their latest games.

The PlayStation 4 is selling extremely well and although numbers are slowing, there are still plenty of fantastic games for the console to come.

What does that mean for the PS5? Will Sony’s fifth console come to fruition? What would it do differently? What can it do differently?

For right now, at least, we don’t have all the answers.

But instead of twiddling our thumbs and waiting for Sony to plop the next system on our laps, we’ve done some digging to try and get to the bottom of the mystery that’s kept us up at night: what is the PS5 and when is it coming out?

PS5 Release date

With no official word from Sony, it’s difficult to know exactly when we might get to see a PS5, so all we have for the moment is the guesswork of industry analysts to go on.

Analysts are predicting we could see the PlayStation 5 as soon as 2018 but the most likely outcome is 2019 or 2020. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal,analyst Damian Thong (who previously predicted the PS4 Pro and Slim) suggested that the console would arrive in the latter half of 2018. Though this release seems very early, it’s supported by a report in SemiAcccurate which claims that the number of developer kits handed out points to plans for a 2018 release.

Another analyst, however, believes we’ll have to wait a little longer. Speaking to GamingBolt, Michael Pachter said that though he thinks the PS5 will be a half step and will be backwards compatible with the PS4 Pro he doesn’t think we’ll see it until “2019 or 2020 but probably 2019.”

This slightly later release, he says, would make more sense as it would fall in line with predictions for when the 4K TV market in the US will reach 50%. “I think Sony has probably got the next console cycle lined up already”, he says, “I think they already know what they’ve got to do.”

More recently Pachter reiterated this claim, saying that Sony would most likely release the new console in 2020. He added that at this time he thinks the PS4 Pro will become the base model PlayStation and will see a reduction in price.

PS5 news and rumors

Without any official PS5 announcement from Sony, solid news is pretty thin on the ground at the moment. But, as always, we do have rumors and we’ve collected and assessed them right here.

The SemiAcccurate report

SemiAccurate (via ResetEra) is claiming that it’s received some leaked information on the yet-to-be-announced console and says that the number of dev kits which have been distributed suggests the console could be released in 2018.

In addition to this, SemiAccurate also reports that Sony will use this console to push its VR efforts even further, with VR-tech baked in at the Silicon level, and will sport a GPU based on AMD’s Navi architecture with a CPU that’s potentially a custom item from AMD’s Zen line.

Though SemiAcccurate has a decent track record with its reports, having accurately reported Nintendo’s Nvidia partnership for the Switch and the PS4 specs back in 2012, we still say take this with a pinch of salt.

Though the specs sound plausible, a 2018 release date doesn’t. Regardless of how many developer kits that Sony has distributed, it feels to soon after the release of the PS4 Pro for the next PlayStation console. Besides that, now that we’re four months into the year it doesn’t feel like there’s sufficient build-up time to the introduction of a new console generation. 

The Marcus Sellars claims

Renowned leaker Marcus Sellars has been making some bold claims on Twitter recently (Via GameRant), alleging that PS5 development kits are already in the hands of third-party developers. He also claimed that Nintendo is planning a Direct stream for March 8 (something which has since proven to be accurate). In fact, Sellars has been accurate with his claims a few times: recently he revealed Metroid Prime 4 was being developed by Bandai Namco.

However, Sellars didn’t provide any evidence to back up his claims so they really can’t be taken as anything more than rumor at the moment.

Something which may be interesting in relation to this, though, is that recently CD Projekt Red revealed that their upcoming title Cyberpunk 2077 was being developed for current and next generation consoles which came as a great surprise to many. Whether this means they’re one of the third-party developers at work with these rumored kits is yet to be seen.

Even if development kits are in the hands of developers, this doesn’t mean the PS5 is coming any time soon. It could still be another couple of years before any kind of reveal.

The patent

Something that does help Sellars case is a recently updated patent for backwards compatibility that’s been filed by Sony. Originally filed in 2015, the patent was updated in February to say “Backward compatibility testing of software in a mode that disrupts timing.” This is no guarantee that Sony is actually working on the technology for the PS5 (it could be creating an entirely separate peripheral that makes backwards compatibility possible) but it’s not impossible that this could be for a new generation console.

The PlayStation Plus news

Though there’s been no official word from Sony on the development of a PlayStation 5 just yet, a recent announcement in relation to the PlayStation Plus service has ignited some speculation. It’s been announced that from March 2019, PS Plus will no longer offer free PS3 or PSVita games and will instead focus on PS4 titles. This has led to some wondering over whether or not Sony is attempting to phase out these older generation titles in preparation for a new generation. This is, of course, pure speculation but it’s interesting that Sony would be willing to reduce its game offering to only two games (as it informed Polygon) without any other excuse than wishing to focus on titles for an already highly successful console. Whether Sony is truly making way for the PS5 or whether it’s going to offer a higher quality of PS4 game is unclear and it seems we’ll have to wait a while to find out what the final plan for PS Plus is.

We’ve got the TVs: can we have proper 4K gaming?

The PS4 Pro offers a tantalising hint of what 4K gaming could be like. But the stark fact remains: it still doesn’t have the grunt to do native 4K consistently.

Its “checkerboard” technique of taking single pixels and using each to render four pixels in 4K resolution is clever and it can do native 4K output but it often has to sacrifice resolution to keep performance consistent.

Chris Kingsley, CTO and co-founder of developer Rebellion, dangles an even more ambitious technological carrot in front of a putative PS5: “Obviously new hardware should be able to support 4K TVs and possibly even 8K TVs at a push!”

Native 4K support, surely, will be a basic requirement of the PlayStation 5. And if Sony cracks that particular problem with alacrity, it could even mean that a PlayStation 5 will arrive sooner than anticipated.

ps5 games

Aside from 4K visuals, if recent showings at GDC 2018 are anything to go by we certainly can expect the next generation to offer incredible visual advancements in terms of character models.

During GDC, we got a glimpse of what the next generation of games might look like and it’s left us extremely excited for the PS5.

Real-time ray tracing was revealed to be the next big thing in rendering while Epic Games gave us a taste of how it might be used to create the most lifelike characters ever. Using its capture technology, the Unreal Engine creator displayed a future with character models so realistic they bring us close to crossing the uncanny valley. Watch a performance from Andy Serkis below to see just how capable these new development technologies are:

“Honestly, between five and ten years from now, I don’t think you’re going to be able to tell the difference between the real and the virtual world,” Epic CTO Kim Libreri told GamesIndustry.biz, “You’ll see hardware that can support these kinds of capabilities pretty shortly, and then, finally, the greatest blockbuster with the most complicated effects, within ten years, you’ll be able to do that in real-time.”

When Libreri tells us we’ll see hardware that can support this technology “pretty shortly” we can’t be sure, but we like to think she’s talking about the yet-to-be-announced PS5.

The VR effect

Sony recently became the first console manufacturer to embrace virtual reality, thanks to the PlayStation VR, but if you examine PlayStation VR closely – and observe how it operates on the PS4 Pro – it invites speculation about how a PS5 might take VR to a new level.

Currently, PlayStation VR operates at lower resolution than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – but, as it stands, even its current incarnation almost pushes the base PlayStation 4 beyond its limits. Running a PlayStation VR on a PS4 Pro brings improved frame-rates, which are very handy indeed in terms of the overall VR experience, but even the PS4 Pro can’t overcome the resolution constraints set by the PlayStation VR headset.

Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration of PlayStation VR

So it’s a good bet that, presuming PlayStation VR is successful (and it already appears to be catching on) Sony will want to return to the market with a second, markedly higher-tech iteration: which would provide an obvious selling point for the PlayStation 5.

And if a PlayStation VR 2 headset could be sold without an external black box, it should be markedly cheaper, further accelerating VR’s march into the mainstream. A recent report from SemiAcccurate which claims that the PS5 will have virtual reality capabilities built-in at silicon level suggests this will indeed be the case.

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