Sony's Upcoming PlayStation 5 to Support 8K Graphics

Mike Wheatley

Sony has for the first time revealed some details about its upcoming PlayStation 5 console, which is likely to be released next year.


PlayStation chief architect Mark Cerny was somewhat guarded in his interview with Wired this week, but did mention a number of new features that are definitely coming to the PS5, or whatever official name Sony eventually decides to bestow on it.

The new console will, as expected, come with an upgraded CPU and GPU, and will be able to play disc-format games (unlike the rumoured Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, for example). It will also be compatible with older PS4 games, Cerny said.

More importantly perhaps, at least for those who can afford one of 2019’s high-end TVs, the PS5 will also be able to support 8K graphics, Cerny said. That announcement is significant, as it should help to encourage video games makers to take a risk and consider using the higher resolution to produce more realistic content.

The new console will also get support for 3D audio, which uses binaural sound systems to capture, process and play back audio waves and provide an experience that sounds closer to real life. Better still, users won’t need any additional hardware to take advantage of this feature, which will be available through most existing speakers and headphones.

“It's been a little bit of a frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4,” Cerny said. “With the next console the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”

What isn’t clear is whether or not the PS5 will support Dolby Atmos surround sound. The PS4 can only decode Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound via an HDMI or digital optical cable, while the later PS4 Pro is able to play Dolby Atmos content as True HD. That’s not up to the same standards as Microsoft’s Xbox One console, which can support both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X on both games and 4K Blu-ray discs.

Cerny also declined to talk about cloud-based gaming, which could well emerge as a critical feature given Microsoft’s efforts with Project xCloud, and Google’s recently announced Stadia gaming service that’s set to launch later this year. It’s fair to assume that PlayStation fans would be sorely disappointed if Sony doesn’t come up with a similar service. But Sony could face some troubles there, as it lacks the global data center infrastructure to support such a service, whereas its two rivals don't.

Still, the expected release of the PS5 is still likely to be more than a year off, which means Sony has plenty of time to work out how to implement whatever features it can't live without.