Lead System Architect Mark Cerny has been working on the successor to the PlayStation 4, for roughly four years now. This machine is in no way a mere upgrade to the PlayStation 4 but the next evolution.
Since launching in 2013, the console landscape has seen a mid-cycle refresh with the PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro. The Xbox One saw a similar upgrade with the One S and the One X. Now, nearly six years after the original launch date, Mark Cerny is ready to reveal details in the leadup to the next PlayStation console – but don’t call it the PlayStation 5.
Speaking to Wired, Mark Cerny talks about the architecture of the next console. In a conference room at Sony headquarters, Cerny confirms that we won’t see ‘the next-gen console’ in 2019. Not only that, but studios are already working on titles for what will likely be known as the PlayStation 5, eventually.
Sporting an AMD chip based on the third generation of the Ryzen line and with eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU is a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. Next up is a Solid-state Drive that developers asked for, and it looks like that’s happening.
To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.
Another big component of the next-generation console focuses on audio. Using ray tracing techniques, developers use the technology to push audio a certain way in an environment. Hearing specific footsteps from a sneaky enemy, for example, uses ray tracing to align players in the right direction. “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,” said Cerny.
Over on the features side of a next-generation console, physical media plays a big part for Sony. Because it’s also using the PlayStation 4’s architecture, it will also be backwards compatible with PS4 titles.
While no details about VR were mentioned, Cerny confirmed that VR is still an important component for Sony and that the current headset will work with the next-gen console.
More information on Sony’s plans are mentioned in the article which is found here.