Sony's PS5 design is 'bold, daring and future facing," PlayStation CEO says
The PlayStation head, in an interview with CNET, discusses the new PS5 design, launch games like Spider-Man, and pre-orders.
Ian SherrContributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
released their respective PlayStation 4 and Xbox One devices seven years ago, the devices were designed to blend into our living rooms, with nearly all-black rectangular and parallelogram designs.
"We wanted to do something that was bold and daring almost," said Sony's PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan in an interview with CNET following the company's reveal Thursday. "We wanted something forward facing and future facing, something for the 2020s."
Watch this: Watch Sony reveal the PS5
Sony's PS5 reveal comes mere months before the device is expected to hit store shelves, in time for the holiday shopping season. For both Sony and Microsoft, the next generation
offer an opportunity to increase the visual spectacles of their games. The worlds Sony showed off Thursday varied from bustling cities to lush green pastures filled with seemingly endless blades of grass, trees and leaves.
But visuals can only get game makers so far. Sony's also bringing out new installments for fan favorite games, such as its hit action adventure Marvel's Spider-Man from 2018, and futuristic role playing game Horizon: Zero Dawn from 2017. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Horizon Forbidden West will pick up where their predecessors left off while also bringing in new characters. Though the new Horizon game doesn't have a launch date, Spider-Man will be released alongside the PS5.
The PS5's design is meant to demonstrate Sony's belief that the technology inside and the games that run on it are as eye-catching as the outside you see. Ryan uses buzzy phrases like "quantum leap over the current generation" and mentions games will be "transformational in the how they look, sound and feel."
In the midst of the uncertain economic climate, which has forced some stores out of business, Ryan said Sony is working with retailers to make sure the preorder process is as smooth as possible. "We're confident we'll find a way with them to ensure that PlayStations will find their way to consumers who want them," he said.
Sony reiterated that more events are planned between now and the PS5 launch this fall, including when it'll discuss pricing, launch date and other details. Ryan declined to discuss the future of Sony's
virtual reality headset, its PlayStation Now streaming service, and whether Sony would offer a disc trade-in program for people who buy the all-digital PS5, saying more details will be revealed at later events.
Below are edited excerpts from CNET's conversation with Ryan about what you can expect from Sony's device.
Q: Talk me through the design of the PS5 and the look you showed off today.
Ryan: For us, tonight was important because we wanted to demonstrate that what we're doing with PS5 really represents a quantum leap over the current generation. And the intent was to have the games do that for us.
I use the expression in the opening preamble of the show, these games are transformational in how they look sound and feel. And the sheer beauty, the scale, that was apparent from the show.
I've been around for a long time. I've done all of these PlayStation launches. I've never yet had the pleasure of being in a situation where we've had this much software of such quality at this stage prior to the launch. We showed over two dozen games tonight. Over half will be exclusive to PlayStation when they launch and, you know, nine from our worldwide studios. I really want to convey the message that we're only getting started here.
What's the difference between the all-digital PS5 and the standard one? Obviously there's a disc, but are you focusing on more storage?
As you saw, there is a small difference in the form factor of the two consoles. I'm sure you also observed, the basic design aesthetic is consistent between them. So there is that and the fact that the digital edition does not have a disk drive. That is it. Other than that, they are identical products.
We're just acknowledging here that as time passes our community is becoming more digitally orientated. In the first quarter of this year, two thirds of new games purchased were digitally downloaded. People increasingly, as they are with their music and their video, they prefer digital and we want to recognize that.
The disc version will also obviously offer backwards compatibility with those old discs too.
We said that the PS5 has been designed to play PS4 games. We're going through the process with the publishers and developers testing that rather exhaustive library of over 4,000 games. We're happy with the progress that's been made.
On the camera, am I buying that separately? And what's going on with your PSVR virtual reality headset?
All that we have said to date, and we're not adding to it tonight, is that the current PlayStation VR is compatible with PS5. The camera that we demonstrated tonight will be available as a peripheral, it will not be in the box at launch.
How hard is it going to be for me to get my hands on a PS5 if I want one?
Today is a very important day for us because following today we will see meaningful activity with retailers in terms of the generation of pre-orders, even if it's absent price. But we will be collecting those data points, extrapolating what that means in terms of day one demand -- and we've obviously done this many times and you know, we're not perfect, but we're not bad at it either -- and that will in turn inform the production process.
A lot of very serious work starts for us right now.