First up Mark Cerny clarifies in this article that ray-tracing isn't a software-level fix, and is rather "acceleration in the GPU hardware". The console will also feature a solid-state drive, improving loading times and efficiency.
"If you look at a game like Marvel's Spider-Man, there are some pieces of data duplicated 400 times on the hard drive," Cerny explains, and the SSD removes that. The games themselves will use 100GB optical disks, which will then be placed into an optical drive that can also be a 4K Blu-ray player.
Game installation is different too, and Cerny says that "rather than treating games like a big block of data, we're allowing finer-grained access to the data". This could mean installing just the multiplayer side of things on a game, if you need to, or installing the whole thing and maybe deleting one side when done.
The UI is different as well, as "multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single-player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them—and all of those choices will be visible in the UI. As a player you just jump right into whatever you like," according to Cerny.
The look of the UI will be talked about in more detail later, and patents are being filed right now. The controller doesn't have a name either, but as mentioned in the announcement linked above, this will feature haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Programmable voice-coil actuators in the left and right grips make the former possible, and there's even an improved speaker.
The controller uses USB-C for charging as well, and it has a larger-capacity battery. With the haptic motors on board too, the controller is a little heavier, but will still be lighter than a current Xbox controller with batteries in.
Bluepoint Games is working on a "big" game using the PS5 devkit, according to president Marco Thrush. "The SSD has me really excited. You don't need to do gameplay hacks anymore to artificially slow players down—lock them behind doors, anything like that. Back in the cartridge days, games used to load instantly; we're kind of going back to what consoles used to be."
"I could be really specific and talk about experimenting with ambient occlusion techniques, or the examination of ray-traced shadows," adds Laura Miele, chief studio officer for EA. "More generally, we're seeing the GPU be able to power machine learning for all sorts of really interesting advancements in the gameplay and other tools." Above all, Miele adds, it's the speed of everything that will define the next crop of consoles. "We're stepping into the generation of immediacy. In mobile games, we expect a game to download in moments, and to be just a few taps from jumping right in. Now we're able to tackle that in a big way."
We still don't know what the console looks like, but these are still a lot of details.
Are you ready for the PS5?
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