The next generation of PlayStation is finally here with the arrival of the PS5. This generation, it seems like Sony is sticking with the approach that made the PS4 so successful: sell consoles that can play first-party games from Sonys storied franchises, and supplement that lineup with great third-party titles, too. You should expect to see better graphics in your games, and the PS5 will also support high refresh rates, which should make games feel smoother (if you have a display that supports those refresh rates). Plus, the PS5s custom SSD promises to offer such a leap forward in loading speeds that it could change the way games are designed.
Weve already reviewed the PS5, and it turns out that the console is pretty good. Its new controller is amazing, games load quickly, and the console has a more streamlined user interface than the PS4. We felt that it left a great first impression even if there arent a lot of actual next-generation games to play just yet.
Microsoft also has a powerful console in the Xbox Series X, which promises better graphics and faster loading times, and its also selling the somewhat lower-powered Xbox Series S. The company continues to make Xbox Game Pass, its Netflix-like game subscription service, one of the best deals in gaming, and it doesnt mind whether you play its games on an Xbox or a PC. And while the PS5 will play most PS4 titles, the new Xbox consoles boast backwards compatibility with not only Xbox One but also many Xbox 360 titles and some OG Xbox games as well.
Well have to wait and see which console proves to be the better buy in the long run. But if you want to learn more about what the PS5 offers right now, heres everything we know. (And for even more information, check out Sonys extensive PS5 FAQ.)
There are actually two PS5 consoles, but theyre largely the same
Like Microsoft, Sony is actually selling two versions of its upcoming next-generation console. For $499.99, you can buy a PS5 with a 4K Blu-ray drive. But for $100 less, at $399.99, you can buy the Digital Edition PS5 (which also looks noticeably thinner than its more expensive sibling). Unlike Microsoft, the only thing that differentiates those two versions is which console has a disc drive and how much each one costs.
The PS5 is powered by a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU and a custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based GPU that will provide 10.28 teraflops of raw graphical power. The console also uses variable frequencies on both the PS5s CPU and GPU, which could theoretically push the graphics to run slightly faster than normal when the CPU isnt running at peak. Though it sounds like the difference is minimal based on this technical presentation (skip to 35:30):
And that game-changing SSD I mentioned earlier? It has 825GB of storage and 5.5GB/s of throughput which could be fast enough to let game developers build levels without things like elevator rides or winding corridors that actually mask levels loading in the background. Just look at how much faster PS5 games loaded than their PS4 versions in our testing:
PS5 load times
|Spider-Man: Miles Morales||17 seconds||1 minute, 27 seconds|
|No Man’s Sky||1 minute, 34 seconds||2 minutes, 52 seconds|
|Final Fantasy VII Remake||35 seconds||1 minute, 29 seconds|
|Genshin Impact||59 seconds||2 minutes, 57 seconds|
|Ghost of Tsushima||1 minute, 4 seconds||1 minute, 10 seconds|
|Days Gone||1 minute, 18 seconds||2 minutes, 54 seconds|
|Death Stranding||54 seconds||1 minute, 50 seconds|
You should know, though, that some of that 825GB of storage space is used up by system data, though, meaning that you actually have 667.2GB of usage space. And the ever-growing size of games means that you might fill up that usable space quickly. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes up 133GB, for example, which is nearly 20 percent of the consoles available storage.
If you want to expand the PS5s storage, you wont be able to at launch, but at some point in the future, youll be able to slot in a Sony-certified M.2 SSD. Were not exactly sure when that those SSDs might become available. Back in March, PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny said the SSD certifications will likely happen a bit past the consoles launch.
The Xbox Series X will also have a custom SSD, one with 1TB of NVMe storage (of which 802GB is usable) but a lesser throughput of 2.4GB/s. That could wind up meaning the Xbox Series X has slower loading times than the PS5 in practice, but it depends on a variety of factors.
Fortnite, for example, loads four seconds faster on the PS5:
The Xbox Series X and S also have a big differentiator in Quick Resume, a feature that lets you hop between games in about 10 seconds or less. (Though its not available with every game.) On PS5, youll probably be waiting a bit longer for things to load when jumping into a new game.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S
|Categories||PS5||PS5 (digital-only)||Xbox Series X||Xbox Series S|
|Categories||PS5||PS5 (digital-only)||Xbox Series X||Xbox Series S|
|CPU||Eight Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)||Eight Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)||Eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT enabled)||Eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT enabled)|
|GPU||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz|
|GPU Power||10.28 TFLOPs||10.28 TFLOPs||12.15 TFLOPS||4 TFLOPS|
|RAM||16GB GDDR6 RAM||16GB GDDR6 RAM||16GB GDDR6 RAM||10GB GDDR6 RAM|
|Performance Target||Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps||Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps||Target 4K @ 60fps. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps||Target 1440p @ 60fps. Up to 120fps|
|Storage||825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/s uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 667.2GB||825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/s uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 667.2GB||1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/s uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 802GB||512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/s uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 364GB|
|Expandable Storage||NVMe SSD slot||NVMe SSD slot||1TB expansion card||1TB expansion card|
|Backward Compatibility||The “overwhelming majority” of the more than 4,000 PS4 games. Some PS3 and PS2 titles playable via PlayStation Now.||The “overwhelming majority” of the more than 4,000 PS4 games. Some PS3 and PS2 titles playable via PlayStation Now.||“Thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories.||“Thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories.|
|Disc Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray||None||4K UHD Blu-ray||None|
|Display Out||HDMI 2.1||HDMI 2.1||HDMI 2.1||HDMI 2.1|
|MSRP||$499 / £449 / 499||$399 / £359 / 399||$499 / £449 / 499||$299 / £249 / 299|
The PS5 supports up to 8K output and promises 4K graphics at up to a 120Hz refresh rate. The consoles improved horsepower also means that you can expect to see ray tracing, which can lead to more realistic effects in game environments like reflections in windows. Check out ray tracing Spider-Man: Remastered in this video from Tom Warren:
The PS5 also supports 3D audio, which Sony said will let you see with sound in a commercial shared in August. We dont know exactly how 3D audio will be utilized in games just yet, and its worth mentioning Sony also tried to sell it as a feature on the PS4, so well have to wait to see just how much better 3D audio on the PS5 might be or if the $100 Pulse 3D wireless headset thats fine-tuned for 3D Audio on PS5 consoles is more than just marketing.
The PS5 has three USB-A ports one on the front, two on the back and one USB-C port on the front. Theres also an Ethernet port on the back of the console and 802.11ax Wi-Fi (aka Wi-Fi 6).
All of that hardware is packed into the biggest game console in modern history. Seriously. The one with the disc drive is approximately 390mm x 104mm x 260mm about 15.4 inches tall, 4.1 inches deep, and 10.2 inches wide. Compare that to the Xbox Series X (the larger of Microsofts next-generation consoles), which is 301mm x 151mm x 151mm. And both consoles are much bigger than the diminutive Xbox Series S.
And reviews have found that all three of the new consoles are remarkably cool and quiet, which is a welcome difference for next-gen.
The DualSense controller might be the most next-gen part of the PS5
The PS5s controller is a significant departure from the DualShock line that you might be familiar with from other PlayStation consoles. But it has a number of brand-new features that might make it the most interesting aspect of the PS5.
Lets start with the design. Sonys DualShock controllers have generally kept a similar design from generation to generation, but the PS5s new DualSense controller is the first PlayStation controller that doesnt look anything like the original. And while the DualSense does have the basic layout PlayStation fans are familiar with a directional pad and buttons on the top half, two control sticks on the bottom, and the center touch bar from the DualShock 4 the whole shape of the controller is new, with pointier handles and broader lines, and it all has a striking two-tone design.
The DualShock 4s Share button, which lets you grab screenshots, take videos, and broadcast gameplay, has been changed to the Create button on the DualSense, though it has similar functionality. In an improvement from the PS4, though, the PS5 automatically captures the last 60 minutes of your gameplay (up from the 15 minutes) at 1080p resolution and 60fps. The PS5 also lets you manually capture gameplay in 4K, though youll have to tweak a setting to do so.
Its not just the look of the DualSense thats new, though. Traditional rumble has been replaced with haptic feedback, which should give you different levels of feedback depending on whats happening in your game. The controller also has adaptive triggers that can simulate different resistances, which could be used to do things like add tension when youre pulling back a bow. And if you were curious, heres a look at the mechanism inside the controller that enables those adaptive triggers to add resistance.
My colleagues Andrew Webster and Tom Warren have both been impressed by the DualSense. Andrew has an article covering how currently available PS5 games use the controllers new features in Fortnite, for example, youll feel different levels of resistance on the triggers based on what weapon youre using. Tom also has a video demoing Astros Playroom, a game designed to show off the features of the DualSense thats included with the PS5. (Andrew found that the game itself is pretty good, too.)
I still cant get over how good the PS5 controller is. Its truly mind blowing this is better than iPhone haptics or switch haptics. The adaptive triggers are crazy. If developers customize their games for this, its gonna be a whole new level of immersion pic.twitter.com/kJJQRpqGoE
Tom Warren (@tomwarren) October 31, 2020
The DualSense also has a built-in microphone in addition to a speaker, but theres still a 3.5mm headphone jack that you can plug headphones into if you prefer. Its also the first Sony controller with a USB-C port.
If you want to buy more than one DualSense, additional controllers will run you $69.99 each, which is a slight increase from the $59.99 you originally paid for a DualShock 4. Sony is also selling a $29.99 charging dock that lets you charge two DualSense controllers at the same time.
Youll have a few exclusive games to pick from at launch, and $70 is the new $60
Sony announced six first-party titles that will be available alongside the console:
- Astros Playroom (Japan Studio) pre-installed on PS5
- Demons Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio) $69.99
- Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV) $69.99
- Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games) $49.99
- Marvels Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition (Insomniac Games) $69.99
- Sackboy: A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV) $59.99
If you opt to keep your PS4 instead of upgrading to a PS5, though, you wont be missing out on all of those games. Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are available on PS4, and Sony also plans to release Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, on the PS4.
And if you buy any of these three games for your PS4, Sony will give you a free upgrade to their PS5 versions. However, if you buy the PS4 disc version of those games, youll only be able to play the PS5-upgraded version on a PS5 with a disc drive.
You might have noticed a $69.99 price on some of Sonys PS5 launch games. No, your eyes are not deceiving you some games will have a $10 increase from the $59.99 you might be used to paying for new games. Although Sony says games from its studios will be priced between $49.99 and $69.99 moving forward, it seems likely that youll be paying at the high end of that spectrum more and more as the generation goes on.
In addition to Sonys titles, there will be a handful of third-party titles available as well, including:
- Assassins Creed Valhalla
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (technically the day after, November 13th)
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- Observer: System Redux
Sony is also offering a collection of PS4 games that you can download and play on your PS5 at launch if you have a PlayStation Plus subscription. Some of Sonys biggest first-party PS4 hits are part of the collection, but there are a number of third-party titles in the mix, too.
Heres are the first-party games available as part of the collection:
- Days Gone
- Detroit: Become Human
- God of War
- Infamous Second Son
- Ratchet and Clank
- The Last Guardian
- The Last of Us Remastered
- Until Dawn
- Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End
And here are the third-party games:
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- Battlefield 1
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies Chronicles Edition
- Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
- Fallout 4
- Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
- Monster Hunter: World
- Mortal Kombat X
- Persona 5
- Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
There are already lots of PS5 games to look forward to
While the list of brand-new PS5 games available on launch day is pretty short, there are a number of titles that should quickly round out the PS5s lineup into 2021.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and GranTurismo 7 are both set to launch in the first half of 2021. The aforementioned Horizon Forbidden West is expected in the second half of 2021. And Sony has announced a sequel to 2018s God of War for 2021, too.
There are a lot of big third-party titles to look forward to in the PS5s life span as well, including Final Fantasy XVI, which will launch first on PS5; Resident Evil Village, the eighth mainline game in the popular horror series thats scheduled for 2021; Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world game set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter; and the spooky-looking Five Nights at Freddys: Security Breach.
If you want to get a picture of the early lineup for the PS5, weve compiled an extensive list of games you can look forward to playing at launch and beyond. And if youre looking for recommendations of what to actually play on your new console right now, weve got a guide for that, too.
The PS5 is backwards compatible with most PS4 games
Nearly every PS4 game will work on the PS5. To quote Sony on the matter: more than 99 percent of the 4,000+ games available on PS4 will be playable on PS5. And even better, some PS4 games will run at higher or smoother framerates on PS5 thanks to something Sony is calling Game Boost. In early tests, Digital Foundry found that the PS5 brings notable improvements to many PS4 games see for yourself in this video:
That said, Sony says that some PS4 games will be missing functionality or may may exhibit errors or unexpected behavior on PS5. And 10 PS4 games arent playable at all on the PS5:
- Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
- TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
- Just Deal With It!
- Shadow Complex Remastered
- Robinson: The Journey
- We Sing
- Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
- Joes Diner
Youll also be able to play some PS3 and PS2 games on your PS5 through Sonys PlayStation Now cloud gaming service, which Sony only recently revealed would be supported by the new console.
The PS5 has a brand-new user interface
The PS5 has a brand-new user interface with a number of new features to make jumping into games more streamlined. Apps are divided into two sections games and media, and if youre familiar with the PS4s interface, then the row of app icons in the games menu will look very familiar to you. But when you actually select a game, theres now a lot more information to look at.
You can just hit the play button to dive into your game, or look at the trophies youve collected or even Twitch streams of that game. But you can also select from activities, which let you jump right into a specific mission or mode of a game, and games even offer in-game tutorials to help you through a certain objective. (That tutorial feature is only available to PlayStation Plus subscribers, though.) And in-game, whenever you press the PlayStation button on the DualSense, you can access the Control Center menu, which gives you access to things like notifications, settings, and parties.
Sony has full walk-through of the new interface, if you want to see it for yourself:
ODDS AND ENDS
Can I just pop in a PS4 disc to play my old games?
Most likely, yes. Sony says the overwhelming majority of the more than 4,000 PS4 games work on PS5.
What about digital games I own?
If youre logged into your PS5 with the same account you used with your PS4, youll be able to access your backward compatible PS4 digital games on PS5.
Will saved games transfer over?
Sony says that your PS4 saves will transfer over to PS4 games you play on a PS5. For cross-gen games, though, the ability to transfer saves is up to the developers. Sony will let you transfer a PS4 Spider-Man: Miles Morales save file to the PS5 version, for example. And youll be able to transfer your saves from 2018s Spider-Man to Spider-Man: Remastered, which is bundled with Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, in an update that should hit around Thanksgiving.
Are PS5 games region-free?
Can I use my DualShock 4 controllers?
You can use your DualShock 4 and licensed third-party controllers on PS5 but only to play PS4 games.
How about PlayStation VR?
Sony confirmed that the PSVR would be compatible with the PS5 way back in April 2019, and it said that the PS Move Motion Controllers and the PSVR Aim Controller will work with supported PSVR games on PS5 in August. The PlayStation Camera will also work with the PS5, though youll need a free adaptor, which you can request here.
Does it play DVDs, Blu-rays, 4K Blu-Rays?
Yes. However, the console doesnt support 3D Blu-ray movies.
Do I need a 4K TV?
No. If you have a 1080p TV or monitor, your PS5 games will work just fine. Though games will look best on an 4K HDR set.
Can the PS5 output to 1440p?
Not natively instead, it scales up from 1080p.
Will the PS5 fit in my entertainment center?
The PS5 is huge, so theres a chance it might not, though most of its girth is in one dimension. At the very least, you should plan for the console to take up quite a bit of space.
Can I lay the PS5 down horizontally?
Yes, though youll need to use the included stand to lay it flat.
Does the PS5 have a web browser?
Does the PS5 have media apps?
Yes. Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock, Spotify, Twitch, and YouTube are all available at launch. Notably, HBO Max isnt available, and its not clear if or when the service will be available on PS5.
Does the PS5 have a remote?
Yes, you can buy a PS5 media remote as an optional accessory.
Is Sony recording my voice chats?
No, Sony is not actively listening to your voice chats with your friends. However, the company has added a feature to the PS5 that lets individuals submit up to a 40-second clip of a voice chat for review by Sonys moderation team. It is not possible to opt-out of potential voice chat recording.
When does the PlayStation 5 go on sale?
Both versions of the PlayStation 5 launch on November 12th in the US, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. Theyll launch on November 19th in the rest of the world. The one exception is China Sony says it will announce a launch date for China in the future.
Pre-orders for the PS5 were a bit of a mess, though, sometimes selling out in less than a minute. And demand is likely to remain high throughout the holiday season, if not into 2021. So if youre thinking about picking up a PS5 now that its out, you might need a little luck to get your own.
Update November 12th, 1:30PM ET: Weve learned a lot more about the PS5 since we first published this article in September and reviewed it! so weve made numerous updates throughout.
Correction: We originally said the PS5 had 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but it actually has 802.11ax Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6). We regret the error.