What we know about Sony's PlayStation 5

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Sony’s PlayStation 5 is coming, and as its release gets closer, the leaks keep dropping.

Among the many rumors floating around on the web, we’ve narrowed down what looks to be most legitimate.

What it will look like

Early prototypes that have been photographed and leaked online match a design patent Sony registered last August in Brazil.

The PlayStation 5 has a V-shaped top, which appears to be a reference to the Roman numeral for five. The design manages to look both futuristic and nostalgic, like something out of a 1980s science-fiction film. It’s not as slim and minimal as the PS4 or even the Xbox One X; its bulkiness is a callback to older tech.

If the final product ends up looking similar to the prototype, that would be a departure from previous PlayStation designs. Sony did not return a request for comment on the leaks.

“I think we can expect a significantly different PS5 design at launch,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, a director of research and analysis of games at IHS Markit. “It’s possible some of the design cues may transition over.”

The new logo

In other aspects of the new video game console, Sony has kept things the same. On Monday at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan revealed the PlayStation 5’s new logo, which bears a striking resemblance to the console’s previous logos.

Even the decision to stick to calling the new console PS5, rather than PlayStation Series 5 or something unusual, was par for the course for Sony.

What’s inside

We know that the PlayStation 5 will be using AMD’s graphic chips.

The PlayStation 5 is expected to have faster load speeds and improved audio. It will support hardware ray-tracing for better graphics and it has an SSD hard drive for accessing games faster.

The controller

Sony has said the PlayStation 5 will feature a redesigned controller. It will include haptic feedback and improved tactile sensations, such as rumbling and shaking, so users can better feel what’s going on within a game.

“With haptics, you truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field. You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud,” Ryan, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote in the post. “One of our goals with the next generation is to deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games.”

When it’s coming and how much it will cost

Sony confirmed last October the console would launch in 2020 for the holiday season, nearly six years after the arrival of the PS4. The company has declined to share how much the PlayStation 5 will cost, but Harding-Rolls predicts the PS5 will likely cost around $499, if not more.

That should make it competitive with Microsoft’s Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox console, which will also launch for the 2020 holiday shopping season.

But that pricing and launch timing means the PS5 will almost certainly lose to the Nintendo Switch in sales this year, as Nintendo has the benefit of selling throughout 2020, and the Switch models cost between $199 and $299. Harding-Rolls predicts that the Nintendo Switch will sell 20.2 million units while the PlayStation 5 will sell 6.5 million and the Xbox Series X 4.5 million this year.

Joost van Dreunen, managing director at SuperData, a Nielsen company that analyzes the video game industry agreed that pricing was important.

“I anticipate the first-year sales for the PS5 to be similar to that of the PS4. However, this depends for a large part on Sony’s willingness to price it competitively,” he said, adding that he believes Sony doesn’t have much room to charge more than $399 for the PS5.

With the Electronic Entertainment Expo set for June this year, and plenty of opportunities for Sony to make more announcements like the one on Monday, we should be learning more about the PS5 soon.

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