While the PS5 is yet to be released, several publications have gotten their review units and discovered some previously unknown details.
With 12 November still a few days away, many of us have taken to reading reviews from various publications to see what we don’t know already from Sony. Though PlayStation have been very transparent with what the latest console offers, there’s ultimately a lot that won’t make it into official blog posts or tweets.
A lot of this info is stuff that is hard to quantify or qualitatively describe from Sony’s perspective, or just specific situations that the Japanese conglomerate would have no particular need from their end to account for. That said, some interesting details have been revealed.
Most reviews are praising the PS5 as a huge revolution in gaming, offering many next-gen features such as ray tracing and 4K at a relatively affordable price point compared to a PC or, depending how you want to look at it, the Xbox Series X/S.
For reference, the standard PS5 retails for $749 and $599 for the Digital Edition which does not come with a disc drive. In comparison, the Xbox Series X also costs $749, while the Xbox Series S is on the market $499. The lower price point comes at the loss of a disc drive, no 4K processing, and a smaller 512GB SSD as opposed to 1TB in the Series X.
Things such as the specificities of backwards compatibility, sound and heat, and the console’s specs in practice are what have been revealed in reviews. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
— PlayStationAU (@PlayStationAU) November 7, 2020
While the PS5 will only offer backwards compatibility with PS4 titles, it appears that using the PS5 to play PS4 games will result in higher frame rates and resolutions in most cases. Trusted testers Digital Foundry have tested a wide range of PS4 titles for their backwards compatibility on the PS5.
Most titles were able to run at a smooth and locked 60FPS with the exception of Bloodborne, Just Cause 4, and the 4K version of Rise of the Tomb Raider which all ran at a stable 30FPS. Considering Just Cause 4 has frame rate issues on the PS4, this performance improvement is welcome. Many fans of Bloodborne will come away disappointed until FromSoftware come through with a performance patch.
In terms of the games that received a huge boost, Crysis Remastered, Final Fantasy XV, and the game of the century Knack were able to run at a much smoother 60FPS which was never possible on the PS4, where their frame rates were lower and less stable.
Press Start Australia tested Days Gone, God of War, and Ghosts of Tsushima. It found that the games could run at 60FPS at 4K. These games received patches specifically for performance boosts on the PS5.
While Sony have said that not every PS4 game will be backwards compatible with a 99 percent estimate, there is one particular title that is bizarrely not backwards compatible. As tested by Polygon’s Michael McWhertor, cult horror demo P.T. is not playable on the PS5.
McWhertor tested P.T. on his review unit where the playable teaser worked, before being forced to factory reset his unit which removed the backwards compatibility. In a communication to Polygon, Sony stated that the change to the status of P.T. was “a publisher decision“, no doubt a result of the bitter relationship between Konami and Hideo Kojima.
Storage size and expandability
While Sony have reported that the SSD in the PS5 has 825GB of space, it’s to be expected that not all of it is usable for game storage. Some of this space is required for the console’s operating system. Multiple publications have tested for the true amount of storage space, with a figure of 667GB being given by most write-ups.
While this should still be enough to hold a decent amount of games, games are getting bigger and bigger as time goes on. The most notable case of this expansion will be seen with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War which will take up 130GB of space. Unlike the PC version which can take up to 250GB(!) worth of space but can be modularly installed, the PS5 version is the game with all its single and multiplayer components.
Sony has previously confirmed that the option to expand the PS5’s storage will not be available at launch. It should be available once it verifies several NVMe SSDs to be usable in the PS5, but for now, this option is not available.
— IGN (@IGN) November 6, 2020
Sound and heat
A major complaint of previous PlayStation consoles, namely the PS3 and PS4, was that they ran quite loud and hot, with dust buildup becoming a major problem. It appears that the PS5 is putting its large size towards solving this issue, with multiple reviews highlighting how much quieter and cooler it is.
TechRadar have stated that the console runs “cool and quiet nearly all the time”, corroborated by Metro GameCentral who said that no sound should be heard if one sits away at a normal distance from the console.
The PS5 does have a message if it overheats, as snapped by Twitter user Xzyliac from her local Best Buy. However, this more than likely due to the nature of a display unit that is stored in an enclosed space which would limit its airflow.
Also lol pic.twitter.com/fKzw7T9JCF
— Xzyliac Electroclash Ariel 2024 (@Xzyliac) November 5, 2020
As discovered by GameSpot, there is a section in the profile tab of the PS5 that displays a list of your played games, including the amount of time played (or wasted, depending on your personal situation).
Notably, the profile also includes the amount of time you played on PS4 titles. The PS4 has no such way to display this info.
Overall, it appears that every review of the PS5 has been absolutely glowing. The PS5 is perhaps the most anticipated console in history, with Sony expecting to move massive numbers at launch. However, there is concern the supply won’t meet the demand.
The launch will be online-only due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This means that while you no longer have to compete against people with foldable chairs and those paid to mind a spot in the line, rather you’re competing against super-fast bots experienced in their purchases of other hyped goods including Yeezys and graphics cards.
Nonetheless, should you be able to get your hands on a PS5 (you may have had the good sense to pre-order), expect a console that provides a gateway into a future where gaming has become an even bigger escape from the many problems right outside your door.