Mark Cerny is going to reveal the PS5 tomorrow, giving us a deep dive into the architecture, technical specs, and numbers, but more importantly providing context for what exactly those numbers mean for you, the player. Since Sony’s two articles in Wired last year, the company has been quite silent on the next-gen console, giving us plenty of time to come up with a number of questions we want answered and things we want clarified.
Keeping in mind that this conversation was originally intended for GDC, there are a few questions here that we don’t expect to be talked about tomorrow, but we feel like they are important inquiries to bring up anyway as Sony moves forward towards the PlayStation 5 release date. We also avoided asking some of the more obvious questions like “How many teraflops?” and other technical PS5 specs that we fully expect to be detailed by Mark Cerny. Those are just gimmes anyway, like the free square in the middle of a Bingo board.
Questions We Want Answered With the PS5 Reveal
How will PS5 backwards compatibility work with games?
Sure, we know the PS5 will have backwards compatibility of some kind, but there have been a flurry of questions around not only what PlayStation consoles it will cover, but also how it accounts for previous purchases. Will my existing PS4 digital library just carry over and be downloadable on the new system? Will it cover all games? Will there be PS5 enhancements to older games, and is that something that can be automatically applied or do developers have to update these games for it?
An extension of this topic is about living games like Destiny 2, The Division 2, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, Overwatch, etc. These games already have huge communities of players, so how will the transition to next-gen impact them and those kinds of games?
How will PS5 backwards compatibility work with accessories?
Once again, this is a question we have partially answered, but it’s important to know how much it’s worth investing in things for the PS4 with the PlayStation 5 just around the corner. Is that expensive headset going to work with the PS5? My Astro C40 pro controller?What about the old Move controllers? The existing PlayStation Camera? It seems like an obvious yes given the PSVR headset will work with the PS5, but we want to explicitly know what’s going to carry over and what won’t.
How will cross-generation games work on PS5?
Will the PS5 have a separate sku for games that are cross-generation, or will PS5 versions of PS4 games essentially undergo the “PS4 Pro” treatment and just get a bump to account for the extra power? How are developers working to utilize the PS5’s power for current-gen games on the next-gen console? What are the biggest differences? We’re in uncharted territory here in terms of backwards compatibility, so cross-gen launches could simply rely on that instead of launching what amounts to two wholly different versions of a game.
What is the PS5 Price?
This is one we’re really not expecting Sony to have an answer to just yet, but it’d be nice for people to be able to prepare. At least having a general idea of if this is going to sit around the comfortable $400 price point or if we’re going to have to stretch up to a $500 or even $600 price point (I mean, I already did it once for the PS3…). While I don’t expect a confirmation of the final price, we’re going to get a pretty good idea of what the internal architecture looks like which will help people better estimate what it might cost. Whether or not Sony decides to take a loss probably won’t be revealed until summer or later, but it would be nice to start pinching pennies towards a specific savings goal right now.
Is there a PS5 Pro?
Rumors have been floating around for a while now that the PlayStation 5 is actually the base model while a more powerful PS5 Pro is also coming. Some of us are still running our old launch day PS4s and never bothered to upgrade to a PS4 Pro mid-generation, but if a PS5 Pro is coming, we want to know. I’d prefer to just get the top-tier model available on day one instead of upgrading at some point down the line, even if that premium PS5 model is likely to come at a steep cost.
Show us the DualShock 5
Okay, so that’s not a question, but Microsoft is already giving us intricate details about the Xbox Series X, including showing off what the console looks like, what the insides looks like, and even a glimpse at the just slightly updated new controller. We’re hoping tomorrow’s deep dive takes us more into the DualShock 5 controller, including hopefully a look at its design. Even if we don’t get to see the console itself, just seeing an official picture(s) of the DualShock 5 along with architectural details about the controller would really get us hyped.
What does the PS5 look like?
This is yet another one I’m not expecting to see tomorrow, but I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised. Microsoft is already able to market the Xbox Series X with its distinctive vertical rectangular tower design, preparing people for the next year by showing them exactly what they’ll be putting in their living rooms. Tomorrow’s reveal needs to actually show us something. The DualShock 5 would be great. The design of the entire PS5 console itself would be even better. (Plus it would give us something to actually use for header images besides the PS5 logo or images of Jim Ryan at CES 2020…)
How are the PS5 Share and streaming functionalities changing?
The PS4 was pretty monumental when it introduced the ability to easily share right from the console. Players could capture screenshots, videos, and even stream right from the console at the touch of a button. But technology has changed a lot in the last seven years, and we want to know how Sony plans to update the social and sharing functionality with the PS5. Specifically streaming from the PS4 is currently a bit cumbersome, leading many to turn to outside solutions that require the use of a PC as a through point. Will PS5 streaming directly from the console be improved next-gen?
How will PS5 family sharing work?
While PS4 may have been the more notoriously open platform when it came to sharing games, it has a really convoluted system for multi-user, multi-PS4 households, requiring some gaming of how you set up PS4s as primary consoles in order to share with family members. I’m hoping for a system that allows you to link PSN accounts as a “family” unit and gain access to the games on each other’s accounts without needing to go through the hassle of setting up primary consoles. My current setup means that I can play all game redeemed on my wife’s account (due to my PS4 being set as her primary) but she can’t play any games from my account (due to her PS4 being our secondary), so we redeem all games that we both want to play on her account only so that we can both have access. I really want to know how Sony plans to improve this system of family sharing across multi-console households.
What are the PS5 wifi capabilities?
Obviously, the PS5 will have wifi, but we’re hoping to hear that it’s using some better protocols than the PS4 because the current-gen console can be quite finicky when it comes to wireless internet connections. We want to know if the wired vs. wireless internet connection will be a smaller gap than the PS4 currently offers.
Will PS5 be region-free?
The PS4 enjoys a (largely) region-free system that allows players to play games from anywhere and use accessories from anywhere. Unfortunately, this limit ends when it comes to regional PSN accounts, and while there are workarounds to get into various other regions digital stores, it’s still a bit of a hassle when a North American user wants to download a game, demo, or DLC that is only available in a different region. We’d like to see these barriers more fully unlocked, allowing the system to be truly region free, particularly as we move towards more streaming services.
How will the PS5 handle extended storage and expanded memory?
This was a question we mused on a little bit yesterday after Microsoft revealed that the Xbox Series X would have a proprietary external memory solution. Sony needs to detail its own expanded memory for the PS5, and whether or not we’re going to be buying expensive proprietary cards or will be allowed to use third-party external storage solutions. With the unique architecture centering on the solid-state drive, this is a topic that Sony needs to get in front of now so we know what to expect.
Will PS5 downloads and installations of games and updates be improved?
One of the most notorious problems with the PS4 is ridiculously long update times that have become something of a meme among players. In an age where we’re playing living games that require regular updates, it can be disheartening to get off of work and see a 90-minute download waiting for you, not to mention the PS4’s obnoxiously long “copying” phase. We want to know if this whole process will be improved on the PS5, allowing more reliable automatic updates in Rest Mode, and eliminating the more cumbersome elements of the process.
How is the coronavirus outbreak impacting the PS5?
While not a direct inquiry about the PS5 itself, we want to know how the current state of the world is going to impact the PS5. Is Sony going to double-down on that holiday 2020 release date? How have plans changed in terms of the “hundreds of consumer events” that were originally planned for this year? This also ties back into the price question in some ways as people start saving and budgeting for the PS5. Mark Cerny may not be the one to talk about this logistics, being the system architect, but we’d love to get some brief commentary from someone in a better position to offer that transparency.
These are just a few of the questions that we want answered about the PS5 ahead of its release; the burning inquiries that have been stoking think pieces and Twitter conversations for months. Do you have any other questions you want to see Mark Cerny answer in tomorrow’s PS5 reveal? Let us know in the comments below.