Everything We Know About the PlayStation 5

By Ari Notis on at

Yesterday, in an 85-minute event called “The Future of Gaming,” Sony finally revealed the PlayStation 5. Between the presenters who may not have been human, we got a thorough look at plenty of video games (and some technical stuff, too). The info feed surrounding the PS5 has been a slow drip, but, several months ahead of its “holiday 2020” launch, a clear picture is starting to shape up. Here’s everything we know about the PlayStation 5.

First things first: Talk to me about the games.

As Microsoft handily learned the hard way back in 2013, a console is only as strong as its library. Sony nailed things in the runup to the PS4’s launch. Based on yesterday’s reveal – which was largely dedicated to showing off an impressively robust slate of games – the same can be said about the runup to the PS5.

Fans of robust open-world games will be happy to hear that Horizon Forbidden West, the followup to 2017’s well-regarded Horizon Zero Dawn, made a splashy appearance. Like the first game, there are more robot dinosaurs than people. Aloy (voiced by the inimitable Ashley Burch) makes a welcome return, as does Lance Reddick’s character. But best of all, it appears developer Guerrilla Games took a page out of Tolkien’s book and introduced mechanised oliphaunts.

Insomniac Games teased Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’ll be a standalone adventure – perhaps not quite a full-blown game, but not mere DLC, either. Perhaps we’re in store for something akin in size and scope to Uncharted: Lost Legacy?

In the Department of Remakes, Remasters, and Definitive Editions, Demon’s Souls is apparently getting the top-to-bottom treatment. The 2009 action role-playing game will be remade for PS5 by Bluepoint Games, the very same remaster masters who brought a new version of Shadow of the Colossus to the PS4. Thus far, Demon’s Souls looks to be coming along quite nicely:

The PS5 is already shaping up to have plenty of third-party support. Gearbox is publishing an action-fantasy game called Godfall. Bethesda has two games it’s publishing in the hopper, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. There’s another Hitman, another NBA 2K, and another Resident Evil on the way.

Sony showed off plenty of smaller games, too, many of which look terrific. Solar Ash and Stray continue the tremendous pedigree of publisher Annapurna Interactive (If Found…, Outer Wilds, Sayonara Wild Hearts). A game called Goodbye Volcano High wowed many Kotaku staffers. Personally, I’m counting down the minutes until I can get my hands on the mystical Kena: Bridge of the Spirits.

Some of these games, like Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, are PlayStation exclusives. Some, particularly many of the third-party games, will come to other platforms, including PC and [gasp] Xbox Series X. Here’s a full roundup of all the games Sony revealed yesterday, and a clarifier on which games are (and aren’t) PlayStation exclusives.

That’s cool, but when can we actually play them?

As yet, only one game is confirmed as a launch title: Astro’s Playroom. The effervescent platformer will come preinstalled on all PS5 consoles. (Yes, the PS5 is available as a bundle right out of the gate.)

Specific release dates weren’t announced for any of the games shown yesterday, but plenty are broadly scheduled for the fall and holiday 2020 season. Expect to see NBA 2K21, Bugsnax, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Arkane’s Dishonored-like Deathloop, and the fantastic-looking Kena: Bridge of the Spirits in those first few months.

If all goes as planned, the new year will start off with a (silenced) bang with Hitman 3. Agent 47’s next adventure will wrap up the trilogy that started with 2016’s episodic Hitman. The rest of 2021 seems pretty full too. Resident Evil Village and Ghostwire: Tokyo will assuredly scare some people, but not me, because I am too tough and strong. Both of the Annapurna games, Solar Ash and Stray, are planned for 2021, as is Goodbye Volcano High. Before 2021 wraps up, Grand Theft Auto V will release on the PS5, marking the third console generation for Rockstar’s open-world bad-boy game. It’ll be free for PS5 owners for the first three months.

Stray (Screenshot: Annapurna Interactive)

Just one game is currently scheduled for 2022: Pragmata, a game about… Um… Well, there’s a feline hologram. Times Square makes an appearance, looking not unlike how it does currently. Then it’s off to the moon. Whatever else you hear, Pragmata can only be described right now with two words: “Who knows!”

Plenty of games – including Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, and the Demon’s Souls remake – weren’t announced with release dates.

Speaking of the PS4, what’s the deal with PS5 backwards compatibility?

Good news: The PS5 will be backwards compatible! Bad news: Only kind of.

As revealed in March, Sony is targeting the top 100 most-played PS4 games, ranked by playtime, for backwards compatibility, but the PS4’s catalog is more than 4,000 titles deep. According to Mark Cerny, the console’s lead architect,due to some technical restrictions, each game has to be hand-tested for PS5 functionality, so it’s only natural the biggest games get first crack on the shiny new console. Sony hasn’t shared yet but fingers crossed for God of War!

One potential workaround could be PSNow. The monthly games-on-demand subscription allows gamers to play more than 800 PlayStation games dating back to the PS2 era. It’s a terrific service, particularly when compared to what it looked like at launch. But at the moment, Sony hasn’t offered up any official word about its possible availability on the PS5.

What are the technical specs for this thing?

Last month, Epic Games showed off an eye-popping tech demo “running on PS5.” For the tech enthusiasts, Kotaku’s Mike Fahey has the full rundown of the stuff under the hood. For everyone else, here are the key points:

  • It’ll have 825 GB of internal storage. That’s significantly more than the 500 GB included in first-edition PS4s, but still less than the 1 TB promised in Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.
  • That storage will be a solid-state drive (SSD), rather than a hard disk drive (HDD). SSDs tend to offer faster load times than HDDs. Technical footage we’ve seen thus far corroborates this.
  • But worry not! The PS5 will support external HDDs via USB.
  • A digital edition will also be available. It won’t have a disc drive, so you’ll have to download all of your games.
  • The PS5 will have ray-tracing, which, to put it simply, will make lighting effects work much like light works IRL.
  • Thanks to proprietary tech called Boost, the PS5 will be able to automatically adjust GPU and CPU usage to make games run smoother.
  • The I/O throughput is –

Yeah, yeah, yeah… How many teraflops?


Why does the PS5 look like that?

We got our first look at the console yesterday, and the internet writ large immediately went to town. Within a matter of minutes, social media meme machines went into overdrive and compared the PS5’s design to [deep breath] default ISP routers, the Barclays Center, a Wii cosplaying as Batman, Destiny helmets, air humidifiers, popped collar polos, ducks, and Detroit: Become Human characters.

Personally, I think it looks magnificent and belongs in a museum – preferably behind four-inch thick glass, where cats and children will never be able to besmirch that pristine powder-snow plastic. But I’ll let you judge for yourself:

You can set up the PS5 vertically or horizontally. (Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

You’d think the PS5 controller would be called the DualShock 5. Think again – this one’s called the DualSense. Whatever you think of the design, it’s a marked improvement over the already-solid DualShock 4. The DualSense will have adaptive triggers, meaning you can feel the tension shift as you do in-game tasks. It’ll also feature haptic feedback. And the Share button is gone, replaced by a “Create” button. (Sony hasn’t shared what, exactly, the difference is between the two.)

A close-up look at the DualSense. (Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

How are the memes?

Amazing. Top-notch stuff.

Okay, so, what are we still in the dark on?

Sony hasn’t said anything yet about if virtual reality might play a part in the PS5 – nothing about the PSVR units, nor about what VR games might potentially come to the PS5.

We also haven’t heard anything about the God of War franchise (sad trombone). We know that the PS5 has a planned holiday 2020 release, but we don’t know exactly when. And, above all else, we haven’t the faintest clue what it costs. Is Sony in for another “five-hundred and ninety-nine U.S. dollars” debacle? Only time will tell.

Featured image: Sony Interactive Entertainment