Sony Unveils Details of 'Game Changer' Next-Generation Console

AP Photo/Kamil Zihniog
Playstation 4 Pro 

Sony has finally pulled back the curtain on its long-rumored next-generation console. Speaking to Wired, Mark Cerny, lead system architect on the as-of-yet untitled new system, detailed what is currently in the works and what to expect from the PlayStation 4's replacement.

Cerny says the new console "allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be," noting increased processing power for higher graphical fidelity by implementing ray tracing, a rendering technique that traces the path of light as pixels, making for more realistic images. The tech is already used in big-budget Hollywood productions but has so far not been realized fully in gaming.

Ray tracing is also important for improving the quality of sound in gaming, says Cerny, who details plans for more 3D audio on the new console. "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,” he says. 

The so-called PlayStation 5 will also be compatible with the current PlayStation VR headset. “I won't go into the details of our VR strategy today, beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console," he says.

What Cerny calls a "game changer," however, is the new console's Solid-state drives (SSD), which drastically improves loading and rendering times in-game. Cerny showed off a demonstration of Marvel's Spider-Man on both the PS4 and the new console DevKit and the load times dropped from 15 seconds on the latter to less than one second on the former. Cerny claims the new console's SSD has a higher raw bandwidth than any current PCs. 

While Cerny did not detail any information on features or software for the new console (other than saying developers are currently working with the tech), he did say that the PlayStation 5 will not be a download-only machine and physical copies of games will still be accepted on the console. 

As for rumors of game streaming services, such as Google's Stadia or Microsoft's Project xCloud, Cerny says, "We are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch."

No release date for Sony's new console was revealed, but it will not be available in 2019.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.