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Things Every True PS5 Fan Needs To Know

With the release of Sony's PlayStation 5 fast approaching, the drums of the console war have begun to sound, and gamers will soon be pledging their loyalty to either Sony or Microsoft come the 2020 holiday season. And while both gaming juggernauts have released plenty of hype-worthy videos — flaunting their processors, first-party blockbusters, and all those delectable triangles — it's an interest in the finer details that has gamers scouring the internet for whatever breadcrumbs Sony may have left for them to follow, intentionally or not.

But before getting into said breadcrumbs, here's a quick recap.

After Xbox's underwhelming and frustratingly gameplay-less gameplay reveal in May 2020, Sony held its Future of Gaming event, and PlayStation fans were blown away. Finally, Sony had pulled back the curtain on the PS5's fancy WiFi router aesthetic. But while Sony's Future of Gaming video showed gamers quite a bit of content, it also raised new questions about the PS5.

If you're curious about the PS5, strap in. These are the details that every true PlayStation fan worth their trophy level needs to know before they dish out their hard-earned dough for the PlayStation 5.

PlayStation 5's lead system architect Mark Cerny is a video game veteran

There are a handful of names that every gamer should know, like John Romero, Hideo Kojima, Phil Spencer, and Reggie "My Body is Ready" Fils-Aime.

Well, go ahead and add the name Mark Cerny to that list of gaming greats, because the PlayStation 5's lead system architect more than deserves a seat in the pantheon. A veteran of video game design and console architecture, he led the charge to develop the system architecture of both the PS Vita and the monumentally successful PlayStation 4. His design philosophy, which emphasized the fluid evolution of a console's features, is likely part of what has kept the PlayStation 4 relevant all these years later.

Speaking with Gamasutra, Cerny explained how he wanted to bridge the gap between the PS4's day-one functionality and its long-term potential. He told the website, "Ultimately, we are trying to strike a balance between features which you can use day one, and features which will allow the system to evolve over the years, as gaming itself evolves."

If Mark Cerny's extremely thorough presentation on the PS5's hardware development is any indication, the PlayStation 5 seems to be in good hands.

Sony has recruited some big-name first-party studios

Let's face it: Exclusive games — or a lack thereof — can make or break a video game console's sales. Take, for instance, the PlayStation 4 — a console known for beloved exclusives like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Marvel's Spider-Man. According to GameSpot, the PS4 had sold an estimated 108.9 million units between its launch in 2013 and December 31, 2019. Compare that to the estimated 46.9 million Xbox One units that Microsoft moved within a similar timeframe (as reported by CNBC).

Now, that doesn't mean that Sony achieved these numbers thanks exclusively to, well, exclusives. But it's hard to argue with Forbes' Paul Tassi, who wrote, "Xbox One left a bad taste in many gamers' mouths after a very, very rocky launch," and tacked on his belief that Sony still has Microsoft beat in the exclusives department.

It appears that Sony is carrying its "first-party first" strategy over to the PlayStation 5. Among the ranks of Sony's first-party developers — assembled into the "PlayStation Studios" brand — are Sucker Punch (Ghost of Tsushima), Insomniac (the Ratchet and Clank series and Marvel's Spider-Man), Polyphony Digital (the Gran Turismo series), Guerrilla Games (Horizon Zero Dawn), and many, many more.

Sony will be limiting the PS5 at launch

The spark that lit the whole "limited PS5 stock" rumor mill ablaze popped up on Reddit, where a user by the name of Kgarvey shared a source code leak from direct.playstation.com. Among the leaked details was the information that users attempting to pre-order the PS5 — the standard version or the discless Digital Edition — will be met with an error which reads: "You can only purchase one version of the PS5™ Console: Disc or Digital. You have already added one PS5™ console to your cart." 

Sorry, scalpers — you won't be able to scoop up a dozen consoles at launch to resell them for triple their price.

This sadly echoes Bloomberg's April 2020 report that Sony would be limiting its initial production of PS5s due to the console's ambitious specs, which would "weigh on demand by leading to a high price at launch." According to the news outlet, Sony would be manufacturing somewhere between 5 and 6 million consoles in its first fiscal year — although these numbers differ slightly from those reported by Bloomberg Japan in July 2020 (via Forbes), which float between the 9 and 10 million mark.

3D Audio means more immersion than ever

By now, you've probably seen the Unreal Engine's PS5 tech demo, which showcased the sheer prowess of the PlayStation 5's graphical capabilities thanks to Unreal Engine 5's Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry — AKA those sweet freakin' triangles. But there's more to an immersive experience than just graphics. Gaming uses more senses than just sight, after all. 

In his Road to the PlayStation 5 deep dive, lead system architect Mark Cerny explained that, having been inspired by the PS4's PSVR peripheral — which boasted impressive 3D audio technology — his team was inspired to achieve a sense of "presence and locality." This ultimately led to the development of Tempest 3D Audio Tech — AKA The Tempest Engine — which Cerny describes as technology capable of offering "3D audio for all, not just those with licensed sound bars or the like."

So, what does it mean for the casual gamer? In layman's terms, this means that you'll be able to experience high-quality 3D audio. Sounds will seem as though they're coming from hundreds of different sources relative to what's happening on-screen. And the best part: you won't need a Sony-branded headset or a fancy sound system to take advantage of the technology.

Sony's mysterious robot companion...

Are your friends outgrowing their console gaming days? Do trusted teammates live hundreds of miles away? No worries! Sony just may have a solution for all of your lonely gaming needs! Introducing... this thing.

According to a patent filed in 2018, Sony is potentially planning to release a robotic companion to keep gamers company as they play their favorite titles and watch TV shows and movies, even "[experiencing] sympathy with the user" by "viewing the game play next to the user and being pleased or sad together with the user." Think of it as a Furby — except, instead of giving you nightmares, this thing is meant to simulate company. The patent literally reads, "It is expected that the user may enjoy content [more] by viewing the content with the robot as compared to the case of viewing it alone."

While video games and robo-buds have collided in the past — remember R.O.B.? — Sony's idea to introduce a friendly robotic couch potato to vibe out and act as an audience to your personal Let's Plays seems more like an '80s E.T. rip-off than groundbreaking next-gen tech. But hey — the thing is kind of cute in a fuzzy chicken nugget sort of way.

Upgrade (some) games from PS4 to PS5 — for free!

Good news for gamers dreading the idea of buying a new PS4 game only for a superior PS5 version to arrive in the future. According to an article posted on Japanese website Game*Spark (translated by Twitter user @bk2128), Sony is allowing publishers to decide if and when they want to allow players to upgrade PlayStation 4 titles they own with all the PS5's technical bells and whistles. But at the moment, only a select few titles have been confirmed.

In other words, if you just couldn't wait until Christmas morning to sink your cybernetically enhanced fangs into Cyberpunk 2077, then buying the PS4 version is no big deal. Once you plug in your new PS5, you'll be roughin' up cyborgs in 4K 60 frames-per-second like the badass you are.

Microsoft announced this same concept first with its Smart Delivery feature for Xbox Series X, though that system is also reliant on the support of developers and publishers. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee on either console that owning the last-gen version of a game will automatically get you the next-gen version at no additional cost.

Gaming can be a real pain sometimes.

The PS5's storage is super fast and expandable

Sony's PlayStation 5 has a lot going on inside its chassis, but one of the most exciting aspects of the console is that sweet, sweet ultra high-speed SSD (or solid-state drive, if you're nasty).

Cutting through all the technical jargon, a solid-state drive reads and writes data much, much faster than your standard hard drive thanks to its use of flash memory. All you really need to know about Sony's new SSD is that it will dramatically improve load times, allowing you to more seamlessly hop in and out of your favorite virtual worlds. If you're even a teensy bit skeptical, just take a look at how quickly Ratchet and Clank are able to traverse multiple dimensions in the Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart trailer

And for jaded PC gamers migrating to Sony's next-gen juggernaut — or even console gamers seeking out a little more oomph — fear not. In his Road to the PlayStation 5 deep dive presentation, Mark Cerny explained that, while Sony capped the PS5's base SSD at at 825 GB, his team had "[prepared] multiple strategies so that those who want more storage can add it."

The PS5 will have "a special edition for everyone"

You're a gamer, so you probably like doing things your way. So what if you want to play as an eight-foot tall lizard-man? Why can't you put a scope on your handheld nuke-launcher? Gamers typically appreciate customization in every shape and form it takes, and it appears Sony is happy to oblige.

Sony's VP of UX design at PlayStation, Matt MacLaurin, wrote in a since-deleted LinkedIn thread (via The Verge) that the PS5 is "customizable in ways previous gens weren't." Unfortunately, MacLaurin kept mum on which aspects of the console's hardware can be altered and how, but he did add, "There will be a special edition for everyone."

MacLaurin's mysterious claim regarding customizable hardware falls in line with photos of the PS5's outer shell, which were posted on Twitter by @wario64, a fairly reliable leaker. Some Twitter users have speculated that the interior of the shells — which appear to house hooks of some sort — indicate they could be easily removed and swapped out with other designs. That would be similar to the Xbox 360's swappable face-plates, though hopefully these PS5 shells are a little more timely.

The DualSense controller brings immersion to gamers' fingertips

Since the dawn of the Magnavox Odyssey in the prehistoric age of 1972, controllers have played a role in getting butts into sofas and games onto screens. And sure, there have been some revolutionary gaming controllers throughout the years. The PlayStation 5, however, is set to be the first console that takes advantage of Sony's new DualSense controller.

Among the DualSense's many features are its patented haptic feedback and its "adaptive triggers." When combined, these will allow developers to bridge the immersive gap between what is happening on screen and the physical sensation that each in-game action should evoke. Take, for instance, a game where your character's primary weapon is a bow. While pressing on the triggers outside of combat might provide little to no haptic response, drawing an arrow and holding it while your character aims could evoke a sensation of tautness between your thumbs and the adaptive triggers.

Remember when Sony suggested that 3D audio via the Tempest Engine would revolutionize immersive audio? Well, the company aims to do the same thing with its DualSense controller — just, you know, with your fingers instead of your ears.

PSVR is coming to PlayStation 5

Virtual reality has come a long way since Nintendo's ill-fated Virtual Boy. For one great example of modern VR done right, take the PSVR and its unlikely success. Now it's been confirmed Sony is bringing its little headset that could into the next generation, as well.

The current-gen PSVR headset will be compatible with the PS5 — a Sony spokesperson told Road to VR as much. However, Sony didn't announce which  games will support the nifty peripheral. When Road to VR asked Sony if two of the games announced at its Future of Gaming event — specifically, PSVR legacy games Resident Evil: Village and Astro's Playroom — would be compatible with PSVR, the company claimed that it had "no additional announcements to make at this time." It's worth noting that Resident Evil: Village is a sequel to Resident Evil 7 (which boasted a VR version) and Astro's Playroom is a spin-off of the PSVR-exclusive Astro Bot Rescue Mission

Time will only tell if PS5 players will get to frag zombies in too-close-for-comfort quarters, or tickle their little Astro Bot pals up-close. One thing's for certain, though: We can't wait to see what our robo-nugget bud has to say about it.