The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced in 2019 as the successor to the PlayStation 4, the PS5 was released on November 12, 2020, in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, North America, and South Korea, with worldwide release following a week later. The PS5, along with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S consoles were released in the same month, is part of the ninth generation of video game consoles.
The PlayStation 5’s main hardware features include a solid-state drive customized for high-speed data streaming to enable significant improvements in storage performance, an AMD GPU capable of 4K resolution display at up to 120 frames per second, hardware-accelerated ray tracing for realistic lighting and reflections, and the Tempest Engine allowing for hardware-accelerated 3D audio effects. Other features include the DualSense controller with haptic feedback and backward compatibility with most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games.
The PlayStation 5 supports YouTube, YouTube TV, Red Bull TV, Twitch, Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Anghami, YuppTV, Plex, the Apple TV app, FunimationNow, Wakanim, VRV, Crunchyroll, Crackle, Popcornflix, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, WWE Network, MyCanal, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, NOW, 7plus, 9Now, Stan, Foxtel Now, CuriosityStream, Showmax, Crave, Paramount+, Showtime, Pluto TV, My5, ABC iview, Tubi, Hulu, Peacock, Vudu and HBO Max, while support for other streaming services has been pledged for the future. The system includes support for PlayStation Now, Sony’s subscription-based cloud gaming service to play games from older generations of PlayStation consoles
Each PlayStation 5 console comes pre-installed with Astro’s Playroom, a game designed to serve as a demonstration of the DualSense controller. Games are not region-locked, so games purchased in one region can be played on consoles in all regions.
Sony announced its concurrent responsibilities of supporting the PlayStation 4 community, and embracing the PlayStation 5 as a major technological advancement. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan stated “We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features.” Discussing the capabilities of the DualSense controller with Geoff Keighley, General manager Eric Lempel affirmed that Sony “want[s] to evolve every part of the experience”, but for that to happen “we can’t take everybody with us from previous consoles into [a next generation experience]. You need new hardware, you need new devices to experience what these developers want you to experience.” Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was highlighted as a next-generation game that is not technically possible on older hardware. Lempel assured Keighley that interest in PlayStation 4 will not end abruptly, with more to come.
Sony’s definition of consoles as distinct generations had been widely interpreted as an era-defining shift to PS5-exclusive games that exploit the console’s capabilities instead of releasing cross-generation games that play across both PlayStation consoles. Ryan said that there should be no disappointment as the PS5 versions take advantage of the console’s advanced feature set and that PS4 versions can be freely upgraded. Few major games such as Horizon Forbidden West are developed as concurrent releases for PS4 and PS5, and Sony supports any publisher that wants to offer enhanced versions of PS4 games at no additional cost. However, in May 2021, Sony announced a major shift in this approach, with previously PS5-exclusive games Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7 and the next God of War title planned as both PS4 and PS5 games. Game journalists believed this was a factor related to impact of the global semiconductor shortage from the COVID-19 pandemic on PlayStation 5 availability.