Sony PlayStation 5: release date, launch games, controller and everything you need to know

The PS5 is arriving holiday season 2020 – keep up-to-date with the latest right here

Sony’s next-gen console, the PlayStation 5, will go toe-to-toe with the Xbox Series X when it arrives later this year. Sony has remained tight-lipped about the launch, but some details about the PS5 have been revealed over the past few months.

From the PS5’s specs discussed at the March reveal event to the unveiling of the DualSense controller, fans now have a better picture of what awaits them at the end of 2020.

Eager to know more? Scroll on to find out everything you need to know right now about Sony’s upcoming console.

What’s the latest news?

  • The PS5 will not be backwards compatible with PS3 games and older
  • PlayStation CEO confirms more PS5 units will be available at launch than PS4
  • Sony officially announces PS5 release date and prices

What is the PlayStation 5?

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The PS5 is Sony’s next-gen console, which will replace the PS4 (2013) and its variants, the PS4 Slim (2016) and PS4 Pro (2016). It will be a direct competitor to Xbox’s very own next-gen console, the Xbox Series X.

When will PlayStation 5 be released?

Sony announced the release date and price for its upcoming next-gen console during a PS5 presentation on September 16. The console will be available from November 12 in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. The rest of the world is expected to receive the PS5 on November 19. The PS5 digital edition will also be available on the same dates.

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and President Jim Ryan later revealed that the company will have more PS5 units on sale at launch than it did with the PS4 back in 2013, although the Sony exec did not divulge concrete figures. Back in 2013, the PS4 sold 2.1million units within its first two weeks back in 2013, with over a million of those being sold on the first day of its launch.

In late August 2020, Sony announced it would open an invite-only pre-order for the PlayStation 5. It is currently only open to U.S. residents for the time being, with each buyer limited to a small number of consoles and peripherals. According to Sony’s announcement, there will also be a “limited quantity of PS5 consoles available for pre-order” this holiday season.

On August 4, a new Bloomberg report noted that Sony would be holding a event later in the month to reveal more news regarding the upcoming console. Although no information about the event has been revealed, its possible that it will feature release and re-order details.

Sony has not announced a firm date, only saying the PS5 will arrive during the 2020 “holiday” period in the US. Presumably, that means somewhere between October and December this year. This is the same window during which the Xbox Series X will launch. Historically, PlayStation launches have occurred in November, so we can expect the same for the PS5.

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On May 13 in an earnings report, Sony added that “development is progressing with the launch of [the PlayStation 5] scheduled for the 2020 holiday season” despite challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO and President, Jim Ryan, told the BBC on May 29 that the company is “feeling good” about their supply chain, added that the PS5 is “going to launch this year and we’ll be global”.

How much will PlayStation 5 cost?

The console will retail for £449.99 (US $499.99). A digital edition of the PS5, which removes the disc drive, will be available for £359.99 (US $399.99).

What are the specs for PlayStation 5?

In August 2020, Sony released a new trailer for the PS5 that showed off many of the enhancements players can expect with the upcoming console, including haptic feedback, 3D audio and adaptive triggers. Watch the trailer below.

The live-action clip captures a young woman demonstrating many of the PS5’s capabilities. At the start she runs across the ice from a kraken, the roaring sound from the monster conveys the feeling of how haptic feedback will feed vibrations throughout the DualSense controller. Other elements include her reacting the 3D audio and firing an arrow at a monstrous beast to show the tension used in the adaptive triggers.

Alongside the trailer, Sony also released a PlayStation Blog post that further details how some of these features will be incorporated into its upcoming games, such as Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

In March 2020, Sony held its first PS5 reveal livestream event – due to COVID-19 – where lead system architect Mark Cerny provided a deep dive into the console’s hardware. Without bogging you down too much with all the tech specs and jargon, here’s a glimpse of the important stuff.

  • SSD: The PS5 will include an SSD in its design, which will be much faster than its predecessor, which used a HDD. How much faster? Where the PS4’s HDD would load 1GB of data in 20 seconds, the PS5’s SSD will load 2GB in 0.27 seconds. During the event, Cerny said fast-travel in games will become “blink-and-you-miss-it” fast.
  • Expandable storage: The PS5 will come stocked with an 825GB SSD for storage. That’s already massive, but Cerny also said that the new console will be compatible with third-party SSDs. The PS5 will include a bay that can accommodate the drive. In comparison, the Xbox Series X makes use of proprietary SSDs, which can only be purchased from Microsoft.
  • Backwards compatibility: Thanks to its custom CPU and graphics processing unit, the PS5 will be able to handle backwards compatibility. Cerny said this feature was tested by developers on 100 of the most-played PS4 games at the time. At launch, most of these games will be available for play. However, the system will not support games from the PS3 or older, according to Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan.

What will the PlayStation 5 look like?

According to new leaked images of the PlayStation 5 from a factory in China, the console could possibly feature interchangeable faceplates that will let players customise it to their fit their own visual preferences.

Check out the images below.

On June 11, Sony revealed what the PlayStation 5 will look like for the first time during its The Future Of Gaming event. It also showcased a handful of peripherals, such as a controller charging dock, headset and noise cancelling microphone.

Sony also revealed that the PlayStation 5 will come in two versions: the normal PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. The latter removes the disk drive in favour of digital games, which likely means a lower price point, although Sony has yet to provide any pricing information.

What games have been announced for PlayStation 5?

In August 2020, Eric Lempel, senior vice president and head of global marketing at Sony Interactive Entertainment, called the PS5 launch games “the best line-up that we’ve ever seen in the history of PlayStation”.

During the interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Lempel also hinted that Sony has yet to reveal all the PS5 launch titles. “We’ve revealed some of that content,” he said. “And naturally there will be more to come”

During Sony‘s The Future Of Gaming event on June 11, the company announced 25 games which are headed to the PlayStation 5. Among the games were a number of much-anticipated sequels such as Horizon Forbidden West, the follow-up to Horizon Zero Dawn, and Resident Evil Village, a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

Deathloop
Deathloop. Credit: Arkane Studios.

Other games revealed during the event include Deathloop from Dishonored developer Arkane Studios, a new IP from Square Enix titled Project Athia, a brand-new Ratchet & Clank game called Rift Apart and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the follow-up to 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man.

On May 29, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced The Future Of Gaming, a digital event that will give fans a first look at upcoming PlayStation 5 games. The event won’t reveal the console itself, but will instead focus on games coming to the system.

“The games coming to PS5 represent the best in the industry from innovative studios that span the globe. Studios, both larger and smaller, those newer and those more established, all have been hard at work developing games that will showcase the potential of the hardware,” said Jim Ryan, President and CEO of SIE.

The Future Of Gaming followed reports that Sony was reportedly planning to showcase games for the PlayStation 5 at a virtual event on June 3, according to separate reports from Bloomberg and VentureBeat. Additional events are also in the works, including a State Of Play episode for the console scheduled for August.

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Credit: BossLogic

Sony has also instructed developers to have all future PS4 games be compatible with the PS5. In developer documentation, the company stated that all PS4 games submitted to Sony after July 13 for certification must also be tested with PS5 hardware for compatibility.

On May 19, Sony president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida announced during a corporate strategy meeting that they were planning to “introduce a compelling line-up of titles soon”, from both first- and third-party developers. However, neither a date nor specific details for this reveal were stated.

Apart from the aforementioned backwards compatibility, the titles that have been announced for the PS5 include:

EA’s upcoming games will feature a free “upgrade” for next-gen consoles

Electronic Arts COO Blake Jorgensen confirmed in a recent investors call that the publisher’s upcoming titles will feature a free “upgrade” to next-gen consoles. “This year, the phasing includes the effect of revenue recognition from the games we are launching for the current generation of consoles that can also be upgraded free for the next generation,” he said.

It is as yet unclear if this will be achieved through the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s backwards compatibility features, or through a proprietary EA tool. More details regarding this feature should be unveiled at EA’s upcoming Play Live event on June 11/12.

Destiny 2 will release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, confirms developer

Bungie has confirmed that its free-to-play online multiplayer FPS, Destiny 2, will be making an appearance on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The news was announced by the studio on May 8 on Twitter, in response to a tweet by Xbox about upcoming releases. See the tweet below.

Ghost, Call Of Duty: Warzone
Call Of Duty: Warzone. Credit: Activision

Infinity Ward confirms Call Of Duty: Warzone for next-gen consoles

Infinity Ward’s narrative director Taylor Kurosaki has confirmed that Call Of Duty: Warzone will be making its way to the PS5. “I know that our plan is: Warzone is going to be around for quite some time, so as soon as [next-gen consoles, like the PS5] are out and available I’m sure we’ll support them,” he said.

Horizon: Zero Dawn 2 is reportedly a PlayStation 5 exclusive, will feature co-op

Guerrilla Games is working on a sequel to Horizon: Zero Dawn, which may be a PS5 exclusive and feature co-op gameplay. Multiple unnamed sources reportedly informed Video Games Chronicle that the developer started working on Horizon: Zero Dawn 2 soon after the release of the original, and that the new game will feature a “larger game world and more freedom to explore”. The game is also likely to have a co-op mode, a feature that was meant to be on the original, but was cut due to feasibility.

PlayStation 5 units will be “limited at launch”, says Sony

According to a Bloomberg report in April, Sony only plans to ship an estimated total of five to six million units through the end of March 2021. In comparison, it sold 7.5million PS4 consoles over its equivalent launch period in 2013. Sony expects that the PS5’s loftier price tag may deter initial pick-up by many.

However, a subsequent Bloomberg report from July noted that Sony is increasing PlayStation 5 production to meet expected demand when it launches during the 2020 holiday season.

The report noted that Sony’s revised production plan of 10million units takes into account concerns of a second COVID-19 wave in several territories. The company is anticipating more people will be staying at home and turning to gaming as a form of entertainment.

A first look at gameplay on the PlayStation 5

On May 14, Epic Games unveiled the first real-time gameplay footage from a PlayStation 5 with the announcement of its Unreal Engine 5. The breathtaking video featured a tech demo called In The Land Of Nanite, which was run from a PlayStation 5 dev kit.

“I think a lot of people [will ask], ‘Oh is [the demo] real?’ But you know that demo was grabbed from the back of a PlayStation 5 development kit,” Epic Games chief technology officer Kim Libreri told IGN. “An HDMI cable went into a disc recorder and played out real-time – no editing, no tricks, that’s what comes off the box.”

A first look at the PlayStation 5 controller

On June 11, during The Future Of Gaming event, Sony released a trailer for the PlayStation 5 controller that showed off its adaptive triggers, built in-microphone and a headset jack.

Sony officially announced the DualSense controller for the PS5 on April 7. The design of the new DualSense controller is geared towards delivering an enhanced level of immersion for players. This includes “adaptive triggers into the L2 and R2 buttons of DualSense so you can truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow”, Senior Vice President for Platform Planning & Management Hideaki Nishino said during the reveal on April 7.

Another major upgrade is the inclusion of a built-in microphone array, which will enable players to easily chat with friends without a headset, making it ideal for jumping into quick conversations. The controller will also feature a new Create button, the function of which will be revealed closer to launch.

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