Sony’s Mark Cerny Opens Up About Their “Next-Gen Console”
On Tuesday, Sony figurehead Mark Cerny finally answered the droves of speculation by confirming his company is working on a successor to the PlayStation 4. Sony’s “next-gen console” is currently without an official name, but it will eventually be dubbed the PlatStation 5 if the past four hardware cycles are anything to go by. (And for my own convenience, that’s what the system will heretofore be referred to as.)
While there’s still plenty of details in need of further elaboration, Wired has an exclusive scoop detailing the device. It is known the next PlayStation will not arrive this year, but several studios have already received development kits. In terms of specs, the console will bear an AMD Ryzen chip with eight cores utilizing Sony’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU is a stylized variation of Radeon’s Navi series and will allow for the ray tracing, a lighting technique new to gaming but that Hollywood’s been capable of for years.
Cerny, as the PlayStation 5’s lead architect, also spoke of the console’s 3D audio capabilities – the word he uses when speaking of it is “presence” – while lamenting how the improvements between the PlayStation 3 and 4 on this front were miniscule. “As a gamer, it’s been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4,” Cerny said. “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.” However, while Cerny did not confirm whether Sony’s commitment to VR gaming would carry over to the new platform, he did attest that, yes, VR technology is important to his company.
During the event, Cerny loaded Insomniac Games’ 2018 hit Spider-Man as a demonstration of the PlayStation 4’s technological shortcomings, in this case showing how long it takes to use the short travel feature. He then did the same thing in the game on a PS5 dev kit, where the time it took for Spidey to travel was cut down by over 14 seconds. This was done to demonstrate the new SSD that’ll be utilized by the PS5, although Cerny couldn’t yet delve into too much detail concerning their new hard drives. He did note, however, that its raw bandwidth is superior to any SSD available for computers.
Cerny did confirm physical media will continue to be supported by Sony, and he may have hinted that some PlayStation 4 titles, such as Hideo Kojima‘s Death Stranding, could release on both the PS4 and PS5. However, in terms of other essential details – how much will the PS5 will cost, when it will release, what features and online services it will have, and what games await players – Cerny and Sony are tight-lipped. E3 will not focus on the platform either, meaning more details are a ways away.
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That’s just one consequence of an SSD. There’s also the speed with which a world can be rendered, and thus the speed with which a character can move through that world. Cerny runs a similar two-console demonstration, this time with the camera moving up one of Midtown’s avenues. On the original PS4, the camera moves at about the speed Spidey hits while web-slinging. “No matter how powered up you get as Spider-Man, you can never go any faster than this,” Cerny says, “because that s simply how fast we can get the data off the hard drive.” On the next-gen console, the camera speeds uptown like it’s mounted to a fighter jet. Periodically, Cerny pauses the action to prove that the surrounding environment remains perfectly crisp. (While the next-gen console will support 8K graphics, TVs that deliver it are few and far between, so we’re using a 4K TV.)
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