I just watched most of the Sony livestream for the PS5, which included a handful of brief game trailers and then the thing I actually really wanted, the console design reveal, along with some accessories.
My immediate impressions?
Games I’m Interested In: Deathloop has an interesting take on FPS mechanics and seems to make death and respawning a part of the story and gameplay as much as just a basic mechanic, and it looks pretty cool! Solar Ash has a great looking artstyle and comes from the team that made Hyper Light Drifter, so that is cool. Ghostwire: Tokyo, besides doing a really good job of showing my favorite city in the world, and comes from Shinji Ikami, the mastermind of Resident Evil, so that is promising. Speaking of RE, Resident Evil: Village (stylized with the roman numeral VIII making up the first letters of the word Village) looks great, and for my money, creepy old villages with castles are among the best horror settings possible. Horizon: Forbidden West looks amazing, but it wasn’t clear how much of the footage was touched-up versus full, realtime gameplay. Lightning round: Goodbye Volcanic High is intriguing, I didn’t know the Oddworld team still existed, Kena: Bridge of the Spirits has my attention, GTAV on a third Playstation console, really?, Hitman III looks good, Bugsnax is fascinating but really unclear, Gran Turismo 7 is a racing game, Pragmata looks like my kind of jam, and Demon’s Souls is back!
The Actual PS5 Hardware: My immediate impression, shared on Discord, was “it looks like an alien fucked a PS4.” The curvy styling is admittedly cool compared to the boxy Xbox Series X, but my PC nerd brain immediately turns to a concern about cooling. The PS4 design, while sleek and understated compared to the Xbox One, is loud. Like, really loud. Given that Sony is using boost frequencies for the PS5 hardware including a GPU that can run up to 2.23 GHz, my concern is that the cooling solution is going to be cheap and small. With that form factor and ventilation design, it will likely have to use a blower fan to get the job done, which means it is likely to again be overly loud.
My other concern is that there are two versions, a disc-drive equipped one and a disc-less option. The choice is good to have, I suppose, but the disc drive very clearly appears bolted onto the system in a bad sort of way. There is the potential, of course, that nearly the entire inside of the system could be a heatsink, and an axial fan could be put to use near the top if that were the case, making it quieter, but that slim design immediately set my warning alarm off.
Overall? I like the aesthetic of the design of the digital-only one (and it is what I would prefer, given that a Blu-ray drive is going to be slower than my internet and you’ll have to install games anyways), the disc-drive included model ruins the design (in my opinion) by simply tacking the drive onto the side, but I fear that cooling it is going to require loud and annoying fans and that some aspects of the design seem iffy (can you place it in a horizontal orientation without it rolling around on those curves?).
Peripherals: The Dualsense controller was shown publicly a while ago, and I like the design, which maybe makes me one of a few people given that I saw a lot of shitting on it, but the thing I most trust Sony with is controller comfort. They’ve always done a good job of engineering the details in a way that works and aren’t afraid to pull back if they messed up (thinking distinctly of the PS3 boomerang that was shown off prior to launch but never came out). The Pulse headsets are good in general, I’ve heard, and the new one having 3D sound to match the raytraced audio of the PS5 is a good call. The HD Camera looks, well, like a camera. Making it an accessory and not Kinect-like means buying it will almost certainly be a waste, similar to how the Playstation Eye 2.0 on PS4 was, although the Dualsense still has LED lighting that could be used in a way similar to how some games used the PS4 Dualshock lightbar with the camera to manage some features. An official charging dock for the controllers is a welcome addition, since 3rd party charging carries the stink of problems in an era where unauthorized Switch docks can brick your system.
Lastly, a detail I noticed, the front of the PS5 has both a USB type-A connector and a Type-C one, which is interesting to me. Type-C storage devices can be pretty fast, but there’s also an NVMe add-on slot that can use standard PC NVMe drives, so that is curious. Even with the Dualsense using Type-C for charging, it is uncommon to ship a Type-C to Type-C cable – most use an A-to-C cable for compatibility with existing charging bricks, and the transfer speed available over USB 3.2 Gen2 wouldn’t really mean anything to a controller intended for wireless use. Curious!
I’ll be writing a bit more about hardware in general with both systems and in relation to the PC later, but wanted to share immediate thoughts here!