PS5: pre order details, UK release date, games and how the new PlayStation console compares to Xbox Series X

The next-generation of games consoles is finally here – here’s when Sony fans can get their hands on the PS5

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 3:38 pm

Sony’s PlayStation 5 console is almost upon us, and the next-generation console war with Microsoft’s new Xbox, will soon be underway.

Here's everything we know so far.

How much will it cost?

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(Photo: Sony)

The new console will come in two versions.

A PS5 Digital Edition, which is without a disc drive, will retail at £359, while the main machine will cost £449.

This puts the flagship device directly in competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X in terms of pricing – also retailing at £449 – but the PS5 Digital Edition is more expensive than the £249 compact Xbox Series S.

When will it be released?

(Image: Sony)

The PS5 went on sale from November 12 in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, followed by the rest of the world a week later on 19 November.

How do I pre-order it?

Unsurprisingly the console is enormously popular, and all retailers have already sold out pre-sale copies.

We’ll update this page as and when more stock becomes available.

(Image: Sony)

How powerful will the new console be?

As more powerful hardware is developed, the console can play games that look even more visually pleasing than the current crop.

That also means a machine that can easily play games at 4K resolution - the next step up from 'high definition' - and at the fabled 60 frames per second, which gives a much smoother playing experience.

For the first time on games consoles, the PS5 will support 'ray tracing', a graphical technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments.

"While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into $10,000 high-end processors," say Wired, "no game console has been able to manage it."

"Because it mimics the way light bounces from object to object in a scene, reflective surfaces and refractions through glass or liquid can be rendered much more accurately, even in real-time, leading to heightened realism."

The console also features a solid state drive (or SSD), which means it can load games much faster than machines with more typical hard disc drives (HDDs).

That solid state drive also means a more efficient storage of data, freeing up more space for developers to take advantage of, whether with more detailed game worlds, or smaller file sizes.

The SSD also means game installation (which is mandatory) will be approached slightly differently to the PS4.

You can now install just a game's multiplayer campaign if you wish, leaving the single-player campaign for another time; or you could install the full game, and then deleting the single-player campaign once you've finished it.

What is the DualSense controller?

"We wanted everyone in the PlayStation community to get a first look at the DualSense wireless controller," said Sony in a blog post announcing the new console's controller, "and hear our vision for how the new controller will captivate more of your senses as you interact with the virtual worlds in PS5 games."

Long time PlayStation fans will notice one key difference already: this isn't a 'DualShock' controller.

Sony's gaming controllers have been going under that name for 30 years now; it appears as if the name change has been taken to highlight the new controller's focus on immersion through.

"We concluded that the sense of touch within gameplay... hasn’t been a big focus for many games," say Sony.

"We had a great opportunity with PS5 to innovate by offering game creators the ability to explore how they can heighten that feeling of immersion."

Perhaps the biggest is the introduction of "haptic feedback", which takes the rumble feature now commonplace in video game controllers and takes it to the next level.

Rather than just vibrating at different intensities to simulate in-game impacts, haptic feedback now allows developers to programme distinct, tactile feelings into their games.

Haptic feedback "adds a variety of powerful sensations you’ll feel when you play," say Sony, "such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud."

It seems to be a feature hard to put into words - it'll likely be a case of experiencing it for yourself.

What games will it have?

In September, Sony showcased a number of new games, including a new Harry Potter-themed game called Hogwarts Legacy, an open world role player game set in the magical school before the titular wizard’s time in the 1800s.

Glimpses of familiar franchises including Final Fantasy XVI and Call Of Duty Black Ops Cold War were shown during A live-streamed event, alongside extended footage of previously announced games such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Resident Evil Village.

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PS5 games: full list of release games available at launch

In June, Sony announced 26 games coming to the PS5, many of which fans had not heard anything from before.

Blockbuster announcements included the reveals of sequels to big PS4 games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales (which appears to be launching alongside the new console later this year) and Horizon Forbidden West.

Other PlayStation stalwarts will be coming to the console, such as racing sim Gran Turismo 7, colourful third-person action game Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and LittleBigPlanet spin-off platformer, Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

Elsewhere, it was announced an enhanced and expanded version of Grand Theft Auto 5 will grace the console in 2021, gamers will get the first true new Oddworld game in over 15 years in Soulstorm, and IO Interactive's glorious reinvention of the Hitman franchise is becoming a trilogy.

NBA 2K21 had sports and basketball fans covered, the influential Demon's Souls is getting a full remake, and Capcom showed off the first glimpse of its next Resident Evil game, titled ‘Village’.

Will it be backwards compatible?

Microsoft were considered to have scored a 'win' against PlayStation with their library of 'backward compatibility' titles, which allow games for older consoles to be played again on new Xbox machines, often with improved graphics.

Sony has confirmed that certain PS4 games will be playable on the PS5, meaning that the Playstation 5 is backwards compatible with the Playstation 4.

Sony is in the process of testing PS4 games to ensure they will work properly on the new console, and said it expects that 99 per cent of PS4 games will be compatible with PS5 on the launch date.

PS4 games will also play better on the new console through the use of a “boost” mode.

This mode may not apply to every game, and users will need to ensure that PS4 games are installed to the PS5’s SSD.

How does it compare to the Xbox Series X?

Microsoft’s next Xbox console will be the company’s most powerful to date.

The new console will be four times more powerful than the current Xbox One X, thanks to a new custom-designed processor.

It will offer frame rates up to 120 frames per second – twice that of the average TV set – and will support 8K-resolution playback, despite the fact the majority of current TVs cannot support the ultra high definition resolution.

It features AMD’s Zen 2 CPU architecture and RDNA 2 graphics architecture, a custom-designed solid state drive, GDDR6 SDRAM, and support for real-time ray-tracing.