PlayStation 5 aims to drastically reduce load times and will be backwards compatible with PS4; first details about Sony's next-gen console emerge

Who needs Street Fighter 6 when you can just play 5 forever on the PS5?

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • April 16, 2019 at 11:36 a.m. PDT

Though the Xbox 360 may have been king of the fighting games during the last console generation for Capcom titles at least, Sony's PlayStation 4 took over that mantle in more recent years after obtaining a number of stand out exclusives like Street Fighter 5 and Guilty Gear Xrd.

The PS4 itself will be turning six years old in 2019, and while rumors about the next generation of games have been swirling, it appears we now have our first peek into what will be the upcoming PlayStation 5 — or whatever Sony decides to call its next console.

Wired recently had the exclusive opportunity to go to Sony's United States headquarters where Mark Cerny — the lead system architect of the PS4 and its upcoming successor — revealed to them some of the inner workings and potential advancements to the medium of video games that can be achieved with the new console.

First and foremost, the next PlayStation will not launch in 2019 though Cerny notes that game developers have had some time with the dev kits already with production of them recently ramping up significantly.

"The key question is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be" - Mark Cerny

"The key question is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be," said Cerny via Wired which he believes his team has accomplished.

What will be the next PlayStation's defining advancements be to make it a "true game changer?" The man behind the scenes working on many of Sony's biggest exclusives from the past two decades believes the keys will be in the hard drive and audio changes.

With the advent of HD gaming and much larger assets, loading times shot up in length lasting around 10 seconds in some games or up to a minute in others just to get into a fighting game match. This hopefully won't be the case in the future.

The next PlayStation reportedly features something of a specialized solid-state drive instead of the standard hard-disk drive found on current consoles. SSDs use flash memory instead of spinning disks which are what you find in flash drives and memory cards. Their read speed is generally much faster than HDDs though large amounts of storage have been fairly cost prohibitive up until this point.

Cerny demonstrated to Wired the potential of this prototype build by loading up Marvel's Spider-Man on PS4 Pro and using the quick travel function to transport the hero to a different part of Manhattan which takes 15 to load. He then loads up the game and repeats the same process on the next-gen dev kit which cut down the loading time drastically to a mere 0.8 seconds.

While we don't know if anything close to this will become the norm for games on the new console, Sony and Cerny appear to be aiming to slash load times as low as they can possibly go which is a very good thing for fighting game fans who always want to instantly load up one more match.

As demonstrated by the Spider-Man proof of concept, the next Sony console will be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games though the company wouldn't go into further detail about what will exactly be playable through games and services — considering the PS4 has PS2 Classics and PS Now though it cannot natively play titles from the first three generations.

If all goes well, this should make the transition between console generations more smooth than the last for fighting games considering hopefully everything we currently play will run on the PlayStation 5 and possibly even run better — though that could open up a new can of worms for the tournament community if they run too much better.

Virtual reality, 3D audio advancements, ray tracing and rendering speed appear to be the pillars that Sony is pushing for in the next generation which will likely be shown off to the public in around a year or less if we go by the PS4's life cycle. The CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment did say in 2018 that the PS4 was entering the final phase of said cycle for a console that will soon eclipse 100 million units in sales.

You can find more details about the future of PlayStation including its graphics and processing components plus visual leaps in Wired's exclusive look at what Sony is cooking up next.

Sent in by UpsetDreamer.

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