We won’t be seeing the PS5 at this year’s E3, but it’s coming. Sony is releasing information about the next generation of the PlayStation brand in bits and pieces, starting with Wired report a little while ago that confirmed both the existence of the machine as well as some key technical specs, the most eyebrow-raising of which was the fact that it will ship with a solid-state-drive (SSD) designed to improve performance and loading times.
As a note, this name “PS5” is not actually confirmed, but that’s how I’ll refer to Sony’s next-gen console until an official name is revealed.
Last night, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki tweeted a video of an investor presentation that seems to show the same demo described in the Wired report: a loading time comparison between the PS4 Pro and the PS5 using last year’s Spider-Man as a test-case. In the video, the PS5 appears to load in under a second what the PS4 Pro takes 8 seconds to load.
Sony’s official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
It’s impressive to see, but there are major caveats to this presentation. Chief among them is the fact that this comparison is being made with a current-generation game, and there’s no telling what loading times will look like with next-generation games. Gamers expect major graphical leaps with every console generation, and delivering increased-fidelity can run at cross-purposes with delivering increased performance.
Early on, however, it feels like “no loading times” is going to be a central piece of the PS5’s marketing. Which raises some important questions about the next-gen Xbox, which we’re due to hear more about at E3. Microsoft is set to reveal both a budget-conscious option as well as a console designed as the flagship competition for the PS5, and it’s going to be very interesting to see whether or not that flagship console will ship with an SSD. If not, that will be a major advantage for Sony, at least from one perspective.
The real question for me is what those SSDs are going to do to the PS5’s price. Because a major performance advantage could easily be offset by a higher price tag, especially considering the perpetually increasing pressure from mobile, not to mention the Nintendo Switch and the looking notion of Google Stadia.