The PS5 dev stream revealed tons of juicy info

17:03, 18 Mar 2020

Sony's highly-anticipated PlayStation 5 is set to release in Late 2020, and thanks to the dev stream titled 'The Road to PS5' that aired today (March 18th) we now have lots of new information to sink our teeth into about the next-gen console. Lead system architect Mark Cerny heads up this talk.

Here are the most important details from the 52-minute video;
 

  • PS5 will have substantially new capabilities with the capacity to create games that have never been able to be created before
  • Making the PS5 came down to 3 principles
  1. Listening to Developers - Mark Cerny reveals he talks to several publishers around the world, asking them what they want from new consoles. An SSD was the most-requested but involved a lot of problem-solving.
  2. Balancing Evolution and Revolution - PS5 recognise the importance of keeping the system familiar, yet new. Judging the balance between performance and familiarity is key to their audience, as is the balance between time to develop vs new features. 
  3. Finding New Dreams - the increase in graphics performance has been critical, but the custom engine for audio will be vastly improved. A dream of what might be possible, and the steps to take on that path. 
  • The SSD is the key to next-gen gaming. Is it impossible? Or can you put an SSD in the PS5? Well, yes, you can, and they have.
  • The hard drive is limiting, and a lot of developers were designing around low load speeds, due to the inflexibility of hard drives vs SSD.
  • "Fast travel" and "levels" slowly loading, will be a thing of the fast with their new blindingly fast SSD.
  • The hope is for an immediate loading back in after death, and a "blink and you'll miss it" fast travel. 
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The full specifications for the PS5 hardware can be found below.

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  • The 5GB-per-second target is to eliminate load times, but also streamline game-streaming.
  • In the past, level design has been boring, and the data duplicated so many times because hard limits have been put in place due to the pressure on the Hard Drive.
  • With an SSD, there will be no seeks, and no new files needed.
  • RAM Utilisation - system memory on HDD had to contain all data that needed to be used in the next 30 seconds or so, so it was idle. Most of RAM is working on the game's behalf and reduces the need for an increase in size.
  • Targets for SSD - boot the game in 1 second, no load speeds, more game on the disc and more game on the SSD, and the patch installs go away. 
  • Custom Flash Controller - designed for smooth and bottleneck-free operation. 
  • Kraken from RadGamesTools is being used as the compression tool for PS5. 
  • 100x faster IO than PS4.
  • Expandability of SSD is going to be important, and players who want to add storage can do so in a few ways. If you have an extensive PS4 library and want to take advantage of the backward-compatibility, then a large external hard-drive is ideal. 
  • Third-party external drives can be purchased, and installed in a bay on the PS5. These will be revealed later in the year, and just past launch.

Revolution vs Evolution

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  • PS5 will use primitive shaders which will allow for smoothly varying level of detail, and improvements to special effects.
  • Ray Tracers will also be used.
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  • Fan-noise will be minimal for higher power games thanks to the new and updated cooling systems, which will be revealed later.

3D Audio

  • 3D audio, rumble, and haptics - PS5 will take cues from the audio of PSVR. The goals were great audio for everyone, not just VR and headphone users. It will support hundreds of advanced sound sources, adding dimensionality. Presence will be deepened i.e. echo, raindrops etc. Locality will be more immersive ie. the location of where certain sounds are coming from will be clearer. 
  • With 3D audio, the goal is to feel precise sound, using HRTF. 
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  • HRTF is as unique to a person as a fingerprint. The PS5 team has researched and sampled several people, with thousands of location sounds.
  • PS5's unique 3D audio build will be named 'TEMPEST 3D AudioTech' or 'TEMPEST Engine'
  • 3D audio on headphones - largely complete at this time.
  • 3D audio on surround sound setups - not yet begun.
  • 3D audion TV speakers - in the process of implementing virtual surround sound, via a "sweet spot" in front of the TV, which they will increase.
  • A lot of the PS5 games in development have already implemented 3D audio.
     

Check back, right here, at GGRecon for the latest PS5 updates.

Images via Sony

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