The PlayStation 5 has arrived – well, if you’ve managed to order one and Yodel or Hermes hasn’t lost it in a warehouse on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
If you didn’t manage to secure a pre-order (you’re very much not alone in that) then there will be more on launch day and hopefully more leading up to Christmas. Below is everything you could want to know about the PS5, and for more, take a look at our full
When is the PS5 release date?
The PlayStation 5 launched in the US, Japan, and a few other countries on 12 November, but the UK and the rest of the world will have to wait a week for 19 November. That’s not including China though, where the date is “still under exploration.”
Here are all the countries that got the PS5 on the 12th:
As we suspected it would, this release date puts it directly in line to compete with
Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox Series X, which came out worldwide on 10 November 2020. The battle of the next-gen consoles is here.
Pre-orders for the PS5 began almost immediately after the console’s price was announced, but sold out pretty quickly.
Don’t lose hope though. In the UK, several major retailers are still allowing you to register your interest or sign up for notifications when more stock gets in. There was Xbox Series X stock available on launch day, so we’re hoping the same will be true for the PS5 – so the best bet right now is to sign up to all of the below:
For more up to date info, check out our dedicated guide to
where to buy the PS5 for our latest advice on how best to get yourself a console for day one.
Watch the first PS5 advert
The first TV spot for the PS5 has now been revealed, and it’s worth a quick watch, even if it doesn’t really reveal anything new about the console:
What does the PS5 look like?
Pretty slick, to be honest! The PS5 ditches the all-black finish of the PS4 (and most previous PlayStations) for a snazzy white exterior, with black insides and some blue LEDs to seal the deal.
It boasts curved edges and a stand designed to sit vertically, though it’s also capable of lying horizontally which is a relief. That means it should fit comfortably in most TV stands, unlike Microsoft’s blocky Xbox Series X design.
It’s still big though, measuring 390mm x 104mm x 260mm, and weighing 4.5kg. And that’s excluding the base.
And as we’ve mentioned before, there are two versions, one with a disc drive and one without, and unsurprisingly the latter is a little smaller – it’s only 92mm thick, rather than 104mm. Check out our detailed
PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition comparison for more on the differences between the two.
As for ports, you’ll get three USB-A ports, one USB-C, and Ethernet. The console also supports 802.11ax Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1.
Oh, and want a neat little touch? Watch the above video again closely, and look out for the textured white bits on the inside edge – they’re inlaid with the four PlayStation button symbols.
What about the PS5 controller?
The controller has undergone some massive changes, and is now dubbeed the DualSense:
Aside from the striking black-and-white colour scheme there are a few things to note straight away. First up, the face buttons have lost their colour-coding, so you’ll have to get good at remembering which shape goes where. The light bar – rumoured to be getting cut from the new pad – is in fact still here, but now sits to either side of the touch-sensitive pad in the controller’s centre.
The Share button has been renamed the Create button, and Sony has teased it could have better integration with streaming or social media services for sharing content. There’s also an integrated microphone, removing the need for a
dedicated headset (though we imagine the quality won’t match a proper headset), and USB-C charging is a welcome 2020 touch.
As for the actual controls, things are mostly the same. Adaptive triggers on L2 and R2 are the big upgrade, which when paired with improved haptic feedback will allow you to feel the tension of pulling back a bowstring, in Sony’s example.
Even cooler, in a
blog post where devs talk up the controller’s new features the director of Arkane’s upcoming shooter Deathloop revealed that they’re able to physically lock the DualSense triggers when your in-game weapon jams, so you get an immediate physical cue that something’s gone wrong.
In July journalist Geoff Keighley got the chance to try the DualSense out for himself while playing Astro’s Playroom – a free game that comes bundled with the PS5 – so check the full video out below to see the DualSense in action and get his thoughts on the design and the new adaptive triggers.
What are the PS5 specs and features?
7nm 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU
Radeon Navi GPU with ray-tracing support
825GB SSD storage
16GB GDDR6 RAM
The PS5 features a CPU and GPU made by AMD with the aim of powering up to 4K@120fps or 8K@60fps gameplay experiences.
Find out if your TV is compatible with the PS5 to make the most of those specs though as you might well need to upgrade.
The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen series, and will contain 8-cores on the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture – which sounds very similar to the new Xbox’s CPU, also based on Zen 2.
The company has emphasised that this is a chipset designed in collaboration with AMD, and that the collaboration goes both ways, meaning that AMD may release a consumer PC CPU or GPU using some of the features found in the PS5 – but that this is a direct result of the two companies working together, not a matter of Sony simply using an off-the-shelf component.
The GPU is a variation on Radeon’s Navi family and supports ray tracing, a graphics technology that allows the path of light to be rendered more realistically within a game – allowing for accurate reflections in water and deeper, more responsive shadows.
Ray tracing technology was originally debuted by Nvidia with the launch of its RTX cards at Gamescom 2018, and you can see its effects in the video below.
Though some had speculated that ray tracing would be done via a software-level fix, system architect Mark Cerny debunked this theory in an
interview with Wired, stating “There is ray tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware.”
The hardware improvement that has been most widely requested by developers and players alike is an SSD (solid-state drive). As games get bigger and graphics get better, more and more is required from the hardware that stores the games.
The PS5 comes with an SSD that will read data at 5.5Gb/s, which Cerny says will in practice result in load times 100 times faster than the PS4. That means almost instant game loads and fast travel, along with freeing developers up from game design that loops players around winding paths to avoid loading too many textures at once.
The console will even
include a feature that lets devs ‘deeplink’ to specific parts of a game so that you can load them direct from the console menu without loading everything else. That means you could jump straight into a specific level, race, or multiplayer mode without ever having to go through the game’s own menus.
That faster SSD will also free up RAM, as more assets will be loadable directly from the SSD. That means RAM will be used to greater effect, with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM available in the console.
Sony has also confirmed that the console will be upgradeable with internal M.2 SSD storage. That’s friendlier than Microsoft’s reliance on custom expandable storage cards, but there is a catch: only certain M.2 drives will be the right size and speed to work in the console, and as of launch there aren’t any Sony-approved cards on the market.
You can see how this will work in Sony’s official PS5 teardown video, which shows that you only need to pull off the white plastic covers and then unscrew one section to access the M.2 SSD slot. The video also gives a great look at the console’s ginormous fan and heat sink:
The game installation process is also improved, making it more configurable for users. For example, if your game comes with both a single-player and multi-player campaign, you’ll have the option on whether you want to install just one or the other to save space on your console. You can also delete these campaigns after you’ve used them, keeping the core game data but deleting what you don’t need.
The new AMD chip also contains a custom unit for a 3D audio, allowing for much more immersive audio as you’ll be able to hear sounds distinctly from all directions using what Sony is calling the Tempest Engine, designed together with AMD based on GPU tech.
The idea is essentially to create more powerful virtual surround sound that will work for any sound system – not just licensed Dolby Atmos peripherals – though the company warned this is a work-in-progress, with headphone support ready now, but work on stereo and true surround systems still ongoing. The quality will also depend heavily on the exact makeup of your ear, so Sony will offer a choice of five sound profiles at launch and a test to help you pick the best one for you.
The downside is that at launch there isn’t support for Dolby Atmos in addition to the Tempest tech, so proper surround sound options are a little limited for the moment.
The PS5 is also backwards-compatible so
you’ll be able to play PS4 titles on the next-gen console, with the core chipset designed to be capable of simulating the PS4’s own core, factoring in the architectural differences between the two. Basically that means you’ll be able to play most PS4 games on the PS5, though as always some may not work fully.
There’s also a new
PlayStation Plus perk: the PS Plus Collection. This gathers together all the best PS4 exclusives in one big bundle, available from launch for all PlayStation Plus subscribers. That should help tempt a few Xbox fans to jump ship.
In case you’d gotten your hopes up for more backwards compatibility than that, lower them now. It looks like the PS5 will only play PS5 and PS4 games, and not anything earlier – unlike the new Xbox, which can play almost any game from every generation of Xbox.
You’ll even be able to use your existing DualShock 4 to play those backwards-compatible titles, but the controller
won’t work with PS5 games. You will be able to pair it with the PS5 and use it to play PS4 titles on the new hardware, but PS5 software will require the new pad.
Software and UI
Sony waited until just weeks before the launch to do it, but it’s also revealed a good look at the PlayStation 5’s user interface in an official video.
The big change is the new ‘cards’, which you’ll see whenever you hit the main PlayStation button. These let you see activities and options for the game you’re playing, and for some titles – when supported – will even let you jump into specific levels or objectives within games, with lists of remaining tasks and estimated completion time. If you’re a PS Plus subscriber you can even get official tutorials and video guides for specific objectives.
Playing with friends has changed too. You can now form permanent parties with their own group chat, which you can share screenshots and clips in. You can even share your screen live, with picture-in-picture support – so that you could play one game while simultaneously watching your friend play something else entirely, and maintain voice chat with each other throughout.
Elsewhere the design has been made more modern, media apps have been separated out from games to make the home screen cleaner, and the PlayStation Store is now integrated directly into the system rather than running as a standalone app.
That said, change is always good, and the new UI has proved novel enough that some people are even struggling to find out
how to turn the PS5 off.
Will the PS5 offer VR support?
Sony has confirmed that the current PSVR headset will be compatible with the next-generation console, so you won’t need to buy a new one, as will the existing PS Move and PS Aim controllers.
The catch is that you’ll still need to use the PS4 Camera, not the new HD Camera available for PS5, and you’ll need an adapter not provided in the PS5 packaging to connect it. The good news is that Sony is willing to send out free adapters to any PSVR owners that require it – take a look at
how to get the PSVR Camera adapter for PS5 for more information.
That being said, we would be surprised if a newer generation headset didn’t appear at some point to make use of the new level of hardware see on the upcoming console. For more on a potential next-gen headset, take a look at the
latest PSVR 2 news.
What PS5 games have been confirmed?
We now have a massive list of titles confirmed to be coming to PS5, though there are loads more besides this:
Tech Advisor's Deputy Editor, Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.