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 a 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, such as the Xbox One X 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.”
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Here’s what you’ve been waiting for
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.
Note from the past
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.
One for the books
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 download 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. In addition, 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.