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  1. #1
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    https://www.wired.com/story/exclusiv...t-gen-console/
    EXCLUSIVE: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SONY'S NEXT-GEN PLAYSTATION

    MARK CERNY WOULD like to get one thing out of the way right now: The videogame console that Sony has spent the past four years building is no mere upgrade.

    You’d have good reason for thinking otherwise. Sony and Microsoft both extended the current console generation via a mid-cycle refresh, with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 spawning mini-sequels (the Xbox One S and PS4 Pro). “The key question,” Cerny says, “is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be.”

    The answer, in this case, is the latter. It’s why we’re sitting here, secreted away in a conference room at Sony’s headquarters in Foster City, California, where Cerny is finally detailing the inner workings of the as-yet-unnamed console that will replace the PS4.

    SENIOR CORRESPONDENT PETER RUBIN COVERS CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR WIRED.
    If history is any guide, it will eventually be dubbed the PlayStation 5. For now, Cerny responds to that question—and many others—with an enigmatic smile. The “next-gen console,“ as he refers to it repeatedly, won’t be landing in stores anytime in 2019. A number of studios have been working with it, though, and Sony recently accelerated its deployment of devkits so that game creators will have the time they need to adjust to its capabilities.

    As he did with the PS4, Cerny acted as lead system architect for the coming system, integrating developers’ wishes and his own gaming hopes into something that’s much more revolution than evolution. For the more than 90 million people who own PS4s, that's good news indeed. Sony’s got a brand-new box.

    A TRUE GENERATIONAL shift tends to include a few foundational adjustments. A console’s CPU and GPU become more powerful, able to deliver previously unattainable graphical fidelity and visual effects; system memory increases in size and speed; and game files grow to match, necessitating larger downloads or higher-capacity physical media like discs.

    PlayStation’s next-generation console ticks all those boxes, starting with an AMD chip at the heart of the device. (Warning: some alphabet soup follows.) The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into $10,000 high-end processors, no game console has been able to manage it. Yet.

    Ray tracing’s immediate benefits are largely visual. Because it mimics the way light bounces from object to object in a scene, reflective surfaces and refractions through glass or liquid can be rendered much more accurately, even in real-time, leading to heightened realism. According to Cerny, the applications go beyond graphic implications. “If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that,” he says. “It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”

    The AMD chip also includes a custom unit for 3D audio that Cerny thinks will redefine what sound can do in a videogame. “As a gamer,” he says, “it's been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”

    The result, Cerny says, will make you feel more immersed in the game as sounds come at you from above, from behind, and from the side. While the effect will require no external hardware—it will work through TV speakers and visual surround sound—he allows that the “gold standard” will be headphone audio.

    One of the words Cerny uses to describe the audio may be a familiar to those who follow virtual reality: presence, that feeling of existing inside a simulated environment. When he mentions it, I ask him about PlayStation VR, the peripheral system that has sold more than 4 million units since its 2016 release. Specifically, I ask if there will be a next-gen PSVR to go alongside this next console. “I won't go into the details of our VR strategy today,” he says, “beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.”

    So. New CPU, new GPU, the ability to deliver unprecedented visual and audio effects in a game (and maybe a PSVR sequel at some point). That’s all great, but there’s something else that excites Cerny even more. Something that he calls “a true game changer,” something that more than anything else is “the key to the next generation.” It’s a hard drive.

    THE LARGER A game gets—last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2 clocked in at a horse-choking 99 gigabytes for the PS4—the longer it takes to do just about everything. Loading screens can last minutes while the game pulls what it needs to from the hard drive. Same goes for “fast travel,” when characters transport between far-flung points within a game world. Even opening a door can take over a minute, depending on what’s on the other side and how much more data the game needs to load. Starting in the fall of 2015, when Cerny first began talking to developers about what they’d want from the next generation, he heard it time and time again: I know it’s impossible, but can we have an SSD?

    Solid-state drives have been available in budget laptops for more than a decade, and the Xbox One and PS4 both offer external SSDs that claim to improve load times. But not all SSDs are created alike. As Cerny points out, “I have an SSD in my laptop, and when I want to change from Excel to Word I can wait 15 seconds.” What’s built into Sony’s next-gen console is something a little more specialized.

    To demonstrate, Cerny fires up a PS4 Pro playing Spider-Man, a 2018 PS4 exclusive that he worked on alongside Insomniac Games. (He’s not just an systems architect; Cerny created arcade classic Marble Madness when he was all of 19 and was heavily involved with PlayStation and PS2 franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Ratchet and Clank.) On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.

    That’s just one consequence of an SSD. There’s also the speed with which a world can be rendered, and thus the speed with which a character can move through that world. Cerny runs a similar two-console demonstration, this time with the camera moving up one of Midtown’s avenues. On the original PS4, the camera moves at about the speed Spidey hits while web-slinging. “No matter how powered up you get as Spider-Man, you can never go any faster than this,” Cerny says, “because that's simply how fast we can get the data off the hard drive.” On the next-gen console, the camera speeds uptown like it’s mounted to a fighter jet. Periodically, Cerny pauses the action to prove that the surrounding environment remains perfectly crisp. (While the next-gen console will support 8K graphics, TVs that deliver it are few and far between, so we’re using a 4K TV.)

    What else developers will be able to do is a question Cerny can’t answer yet, because those developers are still figuring it all out—but he sees the SSD as unlocking an entirely new age, one that upends the very tropes that have become the bedrock of gaming. “We're very used to flying logos at the start of the game and graphic-heavy selection screens," he says, "even things like multiplayer lobbies and intentionally detailed loadout processes, because you don't want players just to be waiting."

    At the moment, Sony won’t cop to exact details about the SSD—who makes it, whether it utilizes the new PCIe 4.0 standard—but Cerny claims that it has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs. That’s not all. “The raw read speed is important,“ Cerny says, “but so are the details of the I/O [input-output] mechanisms and the software stack that we put on top of them. I got a PlayStation 4 Pro and then I put in a SSD that cost as much as the PlayStation 4 Pro—it might be one-third faster." As opposed to 19 times faster for the next-gen console, judging from the fast-travel demo.

    As you’ve noticed, this is all hardware talk. Cerny isn’t ready to chat about services or other features, let alone games and price, and neither is anyone at Sony. Nor will you hear much about the console at E3 in June—for the first time, Sony won’t be holding a keynote at the annual games show. But a few more things come out during the course of our conversation. For example, the next-gen console will still accept physical media; it won’t be a download-only machine. Because it’s based in part on the PS4’s architecture, it will also be backward-compatible with games for that console. As in many other generational transitions, this will be a gentle one, with numerous new games being released for both PS4 and the next-gen console. (Where exactly Hideo Kojima’s forthcoming title Death Stranding fits in that process is still unconfirmed. When asked, a spokesperson in the room repeated that the game would be released for PS4, but Cerny’s smile and pregnant pause invites speculation that it will in fact be a two-platform release.)

    What gaming will look like in a year or two, let alone 10, is a matter of some debate. Battle-royale games have reshaped multiplayer experiences; augmented reality marries the fantastic and real in unprecedented ways. Google is leading a charge away from traditional consoles by launching a cloud-gaming service, Stadia, later this year. Microsoft’s next version of the Xbox will presumably integrate cloud gaming as well to allow people to play Xbox games on multiple devices. Sony’s plans in this regard are still unclear—it’s one of the many things Cerny is keeping mum on, saying only that “we are cloud-gaming pioneers, and our vision should become clear as we head toward launch”—but it’s hard to think there won’t be more news coming on that front.

    For now, there’s the living room. It’s where the PlayStation has sat through four generations—and will continue to sit at least one generation more.
    Last edited by baseline bum; 04-16-2019 at 10:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    tl;dr version:

    1. It will have ray tracing
    2. It will use an eight core cpu based off Ryzen 2
    3. It will have an SSD which Mark Cerny claims will be faster than current PC SSDs
    4. It will have PS4 backwards compatibility
    5. Now go fuck your mother some more

  3. #3
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    My reactions:

    1. Fuck ray-tracing. All it does right now on PC is cut the shit out of your framerate. Looks like this being a 60 fps console like PS2 was ain't happening.

    2. What's the point in using a Ryzen cpu if you're going to use RT and have every game running at 30 fps?

    3. I hope it's a small SSD just for caching shit from the current game you're playing, because SSD is overrated as fuck and I don't want to pay $600 or $700 like last time Sony was promising the world with their new console.

    4. Thank god for PS4 BC so I can retire my PS4 once getting this.

    5. Not interested there tbh.

  4. #4
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Savvy Veteran spurraider21's Avatar
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    Don’t know anything about computers. Slashing loading screens seems cool. That’s plagued consoles since they switched to disks.

    Backward compatibility is a big deal imo.

    Curious is what the price point will be with a trade-in of a PS4 slim. As long as Sony continues investing in epic single player experiences, I’ll keep trusting them. I just hope they make a controller with good battery life as opposed to focusing on gimmicks like speakers and lights.

  6. #6
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    Don’t know anything about computers. Slashing loading screens seems cool. That’s plagued consoles since they switched to disks.

    Backward compatibility is a big deal imo.

    Curious is what the price point will be with a trade-in of a PS4 slim. As long as Sony continues investing in epic single player experiences, I’ll keep trusting them. I just hope they make a controller with good battery life as opposed to focusing on gimmicks like speakers and lights.
    I'd expect trade in value to be shit for PS4. Just like PS1 isn't worth anything since PS2 and PS3 have PS1 BC.

  7. #7
    Club Rookie of The Year DJR210's Avatar
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    The real question is will Sony be partnering w/ Codex games..

  8. #8
    Savvy Veteran spurraider21's Avatar
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    The real question is will Sony be partnering w/ Codex games..
    the fuck is this codex shit you guys are always talkin about

  9. #9
    #SRSWAGDADDY NASpurs's Avatar
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    the fuck is this codex shit you guys are always talkin about
    arrrr

  10. #10
    Klaw apalisoc_9's Avatar
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    Day one for me.

    Kidding.

    Ill get it in 2022.

    Its probably out in 2020.
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  11. #11
    Club Rookie of The Year DJR210's Avatar
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    the fuck is this codex shit you guys are always talkin about
    arrrrr matey

  12. #12
    Savvy Veteran spurraider21's Avatar
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    just for PoorC stuff right?

  13. #13
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    The real question is will Sony be partnering w/ Codex games..
    Honestly PoorStation games are so cheap it's not even worth the hassle. Now Switch is highly worth hitting the high seas for since every game is $60 and sale prices are usually $50 for exclusives.

  14. #14
    SeaGOAT midnightpulp's Avatar
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    My reactions:

    1. Fuck ray-tracing. All it does right now on PC is cut the shit out of your framerate. Looks like this being a 60 fps console like PS2 was ain't happening.

    2. What's the point in using a Ryzen cpu if you're going to use RT and have every game running at 30 fps?

    3. I hope it's a small SSD just for caching shit from the current game you're playing, because SSD is overrated as fuck and I don't want to pay $600 or $700 like last time Sony was promising the world with their new console.

    4. Thank god for PS4 BC so I can retire my PS4 once getting this.

    5. Not interested there tbh.
    As a hi-fi nerd, they're also overselling the audio. You will not be able to get immersive 3D surround sound from two speakers unless the speakers have some form of active crosstalk cancellation via DSP or use beamforming. Best case is something like Q Sound, which can open up the soundstage to about 180 degrees. I guess the PS5 could have on-board crosstalk cancellation, but I wouldn't count on it, since it requires a lot of CPU horsepower. Also requires head-tracking and in-ear measurements to work effectively. Overselling it on headphones, too. Immersive 3D audio basically requires the same thing on headphones. In-ear measurements and head-tracking. Current solutions are basically rough audio binauralization that places the audio a bit outside the rear/sides of your head. Example is that god awful "8D audio" shit.
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  15. #15
    Veteran Xevious's Avatar
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    Honestly don't really give a shit about the hardware. As long as Sony keeps up their killer library of singleplayer exclusives, it'll be a buy from me. The backwards compatibility is nice though. Will wait a year or two post-release after prices drop and see what games are on the horizon.

  16. #16
    Savvy Veteran spurraider21's Avatar
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    Honestly don't really give a shit about the hardware. As long as Sony keeps up their killer library of singleplayer exclusives, it'll be a buy from me. The backwards compatibility is nice though. Will wait a year or two post-release after prices drop and see what games are on the horizon.
    all of this

  17. #17
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    Honestly don't really give a shit about the hardware. As long as Sony keeps up their killer library of singleplayer exclusives, it'll be a buy from me. The backwards compatibility is nice though. Will wait a year or two post-release after prices drop and see what games are on the horizon.
    If you guys want to wait for big price drops it will likely be more than two years. Mainly because the big price drops usually come after shrinking the lithography. The whole time the PS4 was on 28nm lithography it was a $400 system. As soon as manufacturing went to 16nm in 2016 they discontinued the PS4 and replaced with the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, and then you started seeing $230 or so PS4 Slim pretty regularly. But chip makers had been manufacturing on 28nm since 2011 or so.

    The PS5 will be on 7nm and that's still a really new process. So it might be quite a wait until we get a node shrink from 7nm and a PS5 Slim. Especially since node shrinks are taking longer now. In last gen PS3 launched at 90nm, got shrunk to 65nm in the last gen of PS3 fat, and went to 45nm with the Slim (I think the Super Slim stayed on 45nm).

    I'll probably wait for a reasonable exclusive game library to get built up unless either Ghost of Tsushima and Death Stranding are truly amazing and justify the upgrade or if there are killer PS4 trade-in deals to the PS5. I think the former is probably more likely since I guess PS4 will have complete crap value once PS5 launches thanks to the BC.

  18. #18
    Veteran Xevious's Avatar
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    If you guys want to wait for big price drops it will likely be more than two years. Mainly because the big price drops usually come after shrinking the lithography. The whole time the PS4 was on 28nm lithography it was a $400 system. As soon as manufacturing went to 16nm in 2016 they discontinued the PS4 and replaced with the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, and then you started seeing $230 or so PS4 Slim pretty regularly. But chip makers had been manufacturing on 28nm since 2011 or so.

    The PS5 will be on 7nm and that's still a really new process. So it might be quite a wait until we get a node shrink from 7nm and a PS5 Slim. Especially since node shrinks are taking longer now. In last gen PS3 launched at 90nm, got shrunk to 65nm in the last gen of PS3 fat, and went to 45nm with the Slim (I think the Super Slim stayed on 45nm).

    I'll probably wait for a reasonable exclusive game library to get built up unless either Ghost of Tsushima and Death Stranding are truly amazing and justify the upgrade or if there are killer PS4 trade-in deals to the PS5. I think the former is probably more likely since I guess PS4 will have complete crap value once PS5 launches thanks to the BC.
    I got my PS4 at a pretty deep discount long before the slim or Pro were around. There may have been some holiday sales plus other cartwheel crap I used (got ot at Target) don't really remember. In any case, there are always ways to get discounts especially around the holidays once the system is no longer brand new.

  19. #19
    coffee's for closers FrostKing's Avatar
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    Consoles in the year 2020. Mind blown.

    In before "home entertainment system!"
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  20. #20
    Savvy Veteran spurraider21's Avatar
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    Consoles in the year 2020. Mind blown.

    In before "home entertainment system!"
    lol more things you're bitter about

  21. #21
    #SRSWAGDADDY NASpurs's Avatar
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    No way this isn't $500. And Sony could charge it and get away with it because they have Microsoft by the balls.

  22. #22
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    No way this isn't $500. And Sony could charge it and get away with it because they have Microsoft by the balls.
    500 is actually a reasonable price by today's standards. Hell it would only be a 100 dollar price tag increase over the PS4.

    Though I doubt the price would be that low at launch.

  23. #23
    LONG LIVE THE CHIEF lefty's Avatar
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    I don’t have the time to play anymore tbh, except for the occasional NBA 2K19 or FIFA 19 game

  24. #24
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    No way this isn't $500. And Sony could charge it and get away with it because they have Microsoft by the balls.
    They could easily blow it like they did with PS3. Sony had a much bigger stranglehold on the gaming market back then coming off the dominance of the PS2.

  25. #25
    Veteran baseline bum's Avatar
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    I don’t have the time to play anymore tbh, except for the occasional NBA 2K19 or FIFA 19 game
    No more Flappy Plane?


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