The next generation of consoles has officially begun with the launches of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Although the new wave of consoles technically started with the launch of the Nintendo Switch, the latest generation of consoles kicked into high gear once the three major console makers started to compete with their latest releases. The Switch saw Nintendo once again go in a unique direction with a console-handheld hybrid, while Sony and Microsoft continued to build on the established formula of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The main hardware selling point of the PlayStation 5 was the introduction of an SSD drive instead of the hard drive used in the PS3 and PS4. This allowed for significantly higher read speeds, allowing data to load much faster. The PS5 also boasts higher specs than the PS4, but the SDD may have had a much bigger impact than all the extra teraflops and RAM.
PlayStation 5 fast facts
- Name: Playstation 5
- Release date: November 12, 2020
- Price: 399 to 499 USD
- Units sold: 19.3 million (as of April 1, 2022)
Sony first confirmed an incoming next-gen console in 2019 that would succeed the PlayStation 4 line of consoles. The new console was officially revealed in June 2020 with the official launch five months later on November 12, 2020.
The PlayStation 5 bucked PlayStation tradition by offering two different models at launch. These models had different prices and different capacities.
Differences between PlayStation 5 Base and Digital Edition versions
The PlayStation 5 Base Edition can run both physical and digital copies of games, while the Digital Edition can only run digital copies of games downloaded to the PS5’s hard drive.
PlayStation has repeatedly toyed with the idea of digital-only gaming devices. The first experience with this type of material took place in 2009 with the PSP Gowhich ditched the PSP’s proprietary UMDs and exclusively ran digital games.
The PlayStation 5 Digital Edition cannot run disc copies of games. There is currently no way to change this and no external disk drive add-on can serve as a substitute. It’s unclear if Sony will ever release a disc player for the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.
Differences between PlayStation 5 controllers
The PlayStation 5 uses the DualSense controller, replacing the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4. The DualSense controller adds a number of new features, including haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
The haptic feedback from the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller comes down to improved rumble capabilities. It’s similar to the “HD rumble” of the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons, which can shake in more ways than past rumble features that were largely a weight attached to a small spinning motor to shake the controller.
The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers make a big difference because they can technically make the triggers act as two separate buttons. These triggers were soon used in various ways by game developers.
Adaptive triggers can dynamically increase the strength of triggers. This is seen in Resident Evil 8 Village, where the sniper rifle requires much greater force to fire than other firearms.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart goes one step further with its Void Repulser weapon. Adaptive triggers make it easy to press the shutter part of the way, then harder to press it from there. The Void Repulser opens a shield that protects Ratchet when depressed halfway. Pressing further will release a burst that reflects the incoming fire. The player can comfortably pull the trigger to pop the shield and can intuitively sense when it will let out the shard.