Sony gave us all a peek behind the curtain this week in an article at Wired in which the company's lead PlayStation hardware architect, Mark Cerny, explained the direction that the upcoming PlayStation 5 is headed. There's a lot of technical talk in the article, but the bottom line is that Cerny is aiming big with talk of solid state drives, 8K graphics, ray tracing, backward compatibility with the PS4 and existing PSVR, and much more. Here's a piece:
To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. (He’s not just an systems architect; Cerny created arcade classic Marble Madness when he was all of 19 and was heavily involved with PlayStation and PS2 franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Ratchet and Clank.) 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. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.
But without loading time, when will I have a chance to quickly check Twitter while waiting for the progress bar to inch along? But seriously, Cerny is saying all of the right things about the PS5 and I am there for it. It really sounds like he is trying to balance Sony's needs with the needs of video game developers and players. I'm still using my launch day PS4 and it's hanging in there, but sometimes I think about upgrading to a PS4 Pro just to futureproof my PS4 library similarly to how I retired my launch day Nintendo 3DS in favor of a New Nintendo 3DS. Knowing that the PS5 will support my PS4 games and PSVR keeps me satisfied that I can just wait for the next generation, and honestly I'm not in any great hurry to get there. I still have a small stack of PS4 games that I need to explore. Community chatter predicts a late 2020 launch for the PS5 which should give me plenty of time to finish my PS4 library and save up some preorder money. All of that fancy technology won't come cheap.