The five aces up the sleeve of PlayStation 5

How Sony intends to crush the competition now that PS5 is finally available in stores, without waiting

When it officially arrived on the market, in November 2020, the fifth generation of PlayStation was a mirage: extremely powerful hardware enclosed in a shell with a design that certainly could not go unnoticed, but impossible to find in stores without having booked it even before the world went into lockdown. This is why, in some ways, three years and a 50 euro increase on the list price later, PS5 saw a sort of rebirth in 2023, a second debut, and above all the full availability of the console in stores (including the official one online by Sony, also recently opened in Italy) without having to wait for lists of months, lotteries for the right to purchase, and enormous frustration on the part of players who wanted to make the generational leap from PS4. The latter, moreover, was one of the biggest commercial successes in Sony’s history. Having well exceeded the 120 million units distributed, it is still the best-selling console of the company, which however warns: by the end of the year, thanks to the solution of the problems in the production chain, PS5 is ready to overtake PS4 in monthly sales. So far and despite everything, PS5 is not stingy with records: Sony said in its latest financial results that it had distributed 6.3 million PlayStation 5s in the three months to March 31, 2022, bringing console sales to 38.4 million units . It is the fastest-selling PlayStation in the brand’s history. The version with Blu-ray disc reader and SSD costs 549 euros, while the Digital one with SSD only is 449 euros.

  • Brute power

First of all, PS5 is a powerful console designed to better face a long life of new generation video games. A powerful AMD Zen 2 3.5GHz 8-core CPU, 10.3 teraflop RDNA 2 GPU, 16GB GDDR6 RAM and a lightning-fast SSD: these may sound like numbers, but they translate into stunning graphics, resolution up to 8K and fluidity up to at 120Hz, 3D audio for the sound and above all one of the most appreciated features of the console, namely the lightning-fast uploads, most of the time completely absent. This “simple” detail alone can make the difference: the games start very quickly and continue almost instantly between one level and another, making the “non-loading” screens just a distant memory. Once you experience this speed, there’s no turning back.

  • Ecosystem? Yes please

The DualSense is already a great controller: the old PlayStation pad has been completely revolutionized and already holding it you can see how it is more ergonomic and solid. The haptic vibration system is a nice touch that changes the rules of the game, but over the course of the year Sony has gone further and, just like rival Microsoft, has launched a new controller for those who play at the pro level. DualSense Edge is fully customizable, starting with the swappable analog sticks to the extra keys on the back, which can be programmed. The controller can keep different profiles in memory for different players. It costs 239 euros. At the same time, Sony has enriched the PS5 ecosystem and will continue to do so in the coming months, even in unusual ways. For example, the company recently announced a “portable” version of the console, known internally as Project Q. It is not a real independent machine, but a sort of DualSense controller with an 8-inch LCD screen in the center and 60Hz framerate refresh. It will be used to play the titles installed on your PS5 on the go, as long as the device is on the same Wi-Fi network as the PlayStation. Sony’s quest to push the boundaries of peripherals will continue throughout the year, for example with Project Leonardo, a highly customizable controller useful for anyone with disabilities.

  • When the game becomes Plus

In response to Microsoft’s Game Pass, in 2022 Sony revolutionized its PlayStation Plus subscription service, essential for playing online but now also full of included video games to play in streaming and download. The service offers three different types of subscription and definitively replaces PlayStation Now, the collection of titles to download and play in streaming on PS4 and PS5. PlayStation Plus Essential offers two or more downloadable games per month (for PS4 and PS5), exclusive discounts, cloud storage and access to online multiplayer. It costs €8.99 a month, €24.99 every three months, or €59.99 a year. PlayStation Plus Extra offers all the benefits of the Essential plan and includes up to 400 PS4 and PS5 games. Games available with the Extra plan can be downloaded to play. The price is 13.99 euros per month, 39.99 euros every three months and 99.99 euros per year. Finally, PlayStation Plus Premium offers hundreds of additional games, including: PS3 games available via cloud streaming, a catalog of classics from PS, PS2 and PSP for streaming and download, streaming access to original games for PlayStation, PS2, PSP and PS4, limited-time trial versions of games. The cost is 16.99 euros per month, 49.99 euros every three months and 119.99 euros per year.

  • PlayStation sense for the metaverse

As VR tries to make it big in the world of productivity, Sony has pioneered home VR on consoles. 2022 was the year of the announcement of PlayStation VR2, the second generation of the virtual reality helmet compatible with PS5 which arrived on the market in February 2023. Compared to the first generation, compatible with PS4, PS VR2 is a completely different virtual history, thanks to a better resolution and more advanced technology, which tracks the movement of the eyes and is much more precise in delimiting the virtual space in which it is possible to move, thanks also to the new controllers. The future of virtual reality on PlayStation is certainly rosy, given that not only titles created exclusively for the platform are expected in the coming months, but also VR adaptations of games such as Resident Evil 4, the remake, which will receive an update just to be played in this mode. It remains to be seen whether Sony will decide to support the peripheral with other triple A games developed exclusively for this platform, such as Horizon Call of the Mountain. Certainly, with the release of Meta Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro in the coming months, mixed reality will be a very hot topic in 2024, and PS5 is already ready.

  • Exclusives make the difference

The world of consoles is a world in which video games make the difference: the more quality exclusives there are, the more hardware will be sold. It is a rule that Sony knows very well, and on which it has based the success of PS4, full of series and characters that cannot be found on other consoles. With PS5, history repeats itself, and the brand’s trademarks have already returned to the new generation in more than one case: from 2020 onwards, PS5 has seen the release of titles related to the most famous Sony brands, such as God of War Ragnarok, Gran Turismo 7 and Horizon Forbidden West, all cross-gen. However, only in recent months have software houses begun to abandon the last generation to devote themselves exclusively to the power of the new one. An example of this is the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI, which thanks to the collaboration with Square Enix will be released on day one exclusively on PS5. It will be the same with Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, which is due out early next year. Insomniac Games is working on the highly anticipated Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, due out on October 5th and following up on the blockbuster game released on both PS4 and PS5. The villain of the story is this time Kraven, while the big news in terms of gameplay is the presence of Venom and the symbiote. It won’t just be Parker, of course, as Miles Morales will also be returning after starring in the PS5 launch title. In the latest trailer you can also see the presence of Lizard Man, another historic rival of spider-man. This is not the only Marvel-licensed game Insomniac is working on, which months ago announced an action title dedicated to Wolverine. Later in time, Death Standing 2 will arrive on PS5, the provisional title of the sequel to the adventures of Sam Porter Bridges by game director Hideo Kojima, father of Metal Gear Solid 2. The remake of Silent Hill 2 will also be released as an exclusive time console PS5, marking the rebirth of a brand that saw the light on PlayStation.