Playstation 5 is created. And we know so much. The rest are game rumors, guesses, and speculations. Some based on “trends” and financiers points of view. Such in 2012-13. They predicted that the era of cells was coming, that desktop consoles and computers were becoming a thing of the past. Nobody will buy PS4 and Xbox 3 anymore. The second type of speculation is based on technical materials. And this is what I will deal with in this text.
The most important element distinguishing the new consoles from the current generation will be the processor (CPU) because the one in current consoles in many types of calculations important in games is comparable with the electronics known from PCs, which can currently only be found in a museum. New consoles must offer a specific leap in performance in this aspect or rely on some “gimmick” like Nintendo. So if you assume that PS5 will not be based on being a “nextgen” on a VR attached to each kit or other mass attracting factors like Wii or Switch, then a strong proc seems to be an insurmountable requirement.
It is known that instead of Lakers (sorry, Jaguars) known from current consoles, in new ones we will probably get the AMD Zen architecture. It is known that this will give a big leap in performance, but it is not known whether Zen in an energy-saving form will allow for the correct gameplay large enough for players to agree that it is a new generation. I think that + 80%, for example, will not be enough. Sure, it’s cool if games like Destiny 2 or Uncharted 4 will be able to fly at 60fps, but the difference between 30 and 60fps is in the eyes of most players a minor detail (unfortunately). What we need is a new level of interaction, physics, a new level of detail of open scenes without annoying pop-ups, etc.
A more powerful “graphics card” (GPU) will not change much, because the difference could be at least the same as between PS4pro and Xbox X. So this time we can let go of Teraflops. It will be similar to the amount of memory. Previously, the difference gave concrete benefits, because the previous generation had too much RAM and imposed specific restrictions. Even 32GB of RAM will not give even half the advantages it gave when switching from 0.5GB to 8GB in the previous generation, because currently, this is not the weakest link. Even at 16GB, CPU and GPU power will run out to make the most of it. More memory will help during the production of games and thus reduce the cost of creating them, but this will not be a change for which players will want to buy next-gene.
How much for gutters?
Budget first. There is nothing even to say about speculation. This is a 100% divination from coffee grounds. There are “analysts” and “experts” who are sure that they know what will happen based on the past, but I think this is wrong thinking. They say that the console must be cheap, because Sony has gone through the cost of producing PS3 and that cheap PS4 guts turned out to be a bull’s-eye, so it must be cheap also on PS5. Meanwhile, the situation of PS3 was not so simple, because the higher cost of production did not translate into an advantage over the competition console.
There was also a mighty misfire with Cell. Originally, it had to count everything, and in the end, it turned out that you still need to add a GPU from Nvidia. This time the situation may be different, especially if Sony realizes that that too weak PS5 may turn out to be a catastrophic mistake. Mobile devices are getting stronger. Nintendo may release a more powerful version of the Switch, and if the difference between Switch 2 and PS4 and PS5 is not large, a weak PS5 console may become the beginning of the fall of the Playstation brand and maybe desktop consoles in general. Especially that casuals may be enough to play based on streaming services.
I hope Sony is aware of this risk. Another argument for “this time they can go to a higher cost of production” will be the fact that once consoles were sold at a loss at the beginning and yet no one would say that Sony on PS1 and PS2 lost totaling the entire life cycle. Now there are many more buyers, there are fees for online multiplayer, the same profits from the license for the sale of such a GTA V probably Sony took from 5x more than GTA IV about GTA III not to mention. So you can risk selling your console for 1-3 years at a loss, especially if progress slows down and you may have to wait 10 years for PS6. Enough time to reflect losses and more powerful equipment would conquer the market and the hearts of players.
On the other hand, tailors on corporate boards see high PUBG sales on X, even though the game was tragic. They may find that what the console offers is less important than the power of marketing. Therefore, there is absolutely no sense in guessing what the budget for the production of PS5 will be. “Anything can happen”.
Finally, we come to the place where we will use some facts besides coffee grounds. The new heart of PS5 will be 99% based on the AMD chip produced in Global Foundries. There is a small chance, however, that the production will be taken care of by TSMC, whose process would allow achieving a little better performance, but GloFo are former AMD factories, so they have signed contracts and commitments with them. So I bet on GloFo.
We have only two options here: Either risky weak APU in the currently available 14nm technology (also called 12, but it’s just marketing) or better performance and the subsequent premiere of the console with chips in the 7nm process (again it’s just marketing, closer to 10nm, but still it’s a lot of progress)
And here we come to the last game rumors. Charlie from SemiAccurate raves about 2018, and today Kotaku reports as if their “plugs” laughed at the possibility.