There has been a lot of talk about the PlayStation 5 lately, following a report from SemiAccurate which claimed to offer insider information about the kind of technology we can expect from Sony's next-gen machine. The same article speculated that the PS5 may even hit store shelves this holiday season, which I think is overly optimistic. Indeed, I don't think anyone is expect the PS5 to launch this year, so when can we expect a new console, and what kind of technology is feasible? Digital Foundry just published a new video analyzing the current trend of GPU, CPU, and memory tech to answer those very questions:
If you're not a tech wizard, there's a lot in that video that will go over your head (as it did mine). I do consider myself a somewhat educated layman, however, and I think I can offer a very basic breakdown of the points made in the video. For those of you wanting to know in plain English when the PS5 will launch, what it will be capable of, and how much it might cost, here's the breakdown.
In order to achieve a "generational leap" in power, we basically need three things out of the PlayStation 5. Faster memory, a more powerful GPU, and a faster CPU. By the end of the year, all three of these components in their faster, stronger, smaller variants will be available, but only just.
AMD does indeed have a new GPU architecture, codenamed "Navi," in the works. It's still a mystery to us at this point, but we've lived through enough chip iterations to know that it will be reliably smaller and faster.
We also know that the manufacturer responsible for providing the new 7 nanometer chips will give preferential treatment to its largest customers: Apple, Google, and Samsung. Expect to find these new processors first in smartphones and tablets, and in enormous quantity. This will have an impact on PlayStation 5 and next-gen Xbox production, and launch schedules will be adjusted accordingly.
The bottom line is this: By the end of 2018, the technology needed for a true generational leap in consoles will be available, but Sony and Microsoft will both need assess custom variants that can run in their respective consoles with unique features, and lower clock-speeds to offset heat. This means that a late 2019 launch seems most likely, and you can expect a pretty beefy price-point.
A PS5 launch next summer, late summer, for around $499 seems to me to be the most reasonable expectation. We'll keep you guys updated as we learn more.