PlayStation 5 Review: New Console Takes Gaming to Next Level, But Good Luck Finding One

Sony’s PlayStation 5 was officially released to retail on Nov. 12 at $499 (with physical disc capability) and $399 (digital only) — and it’s been in short supply ever since. As far back as September, TechSpot reported that retailers had sold out of their pre-order allotments in less than 24 hours, and predicted the video game console — the first new PlayStation since 2013 — would become “a scalper’s paradise.” That’s precisely what’s happened, with gamers shelling out twice the retail price, or even more, on auction sites such as eBay and StockX.

I was one of the lucky ones, alerted via Twitter of a “restock” at GameStop and on Nov. 28 becoming the proud owner of one of the coveted machines.

The PlayStation 5 boasts an incredibly fast SSD, allowing for faster loading times when either playing games or watching movies. It can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, NFL,  Disney+, Twitch, YouTube and AppleTV, as well as Blu-ray DVDs and video games. While the layout is similar to the PS4, the PS5s 4K and HDR capabilities, along with the new DualSense controller, truly have taken the PlayStation experience to the proverbial next level.

On the front you’ll find the HD Blu-ray optical drive, a typical USB Type-A port, and a USB Type-C port, as well as the power button and eject button. On the back there’s the power connection, an HDMI 2.1 out, two USB Type-A ports, and an Ethernet port. When you plug in your new DualSense to the front USB port, you might notice a few things are new with the controller.

Haptic feedback refers to any technology that can create an experience of touch to the user by applying forces, vibrations, or motions. Sony’s decision to integrate it into the new DualSense controller allows gamers to now experience the game in a much more immersive way. A pistol will have less recoil than a machine gun, and gamers will be able to feel the difference. Along with this comes the addition of adaptive triggers, which give resistance on the R1/R2 buttons in a way that mimics what is on screen. It is a very welcome addition to the controller, and I had fun playing the preloaded game Astro’s Playroom at the main menu.

Once the PS5 is booted up and your account is set, you might notice the “Playstation Plus Collection” in the store. This entails 20 free hit PS4 games, but is only available if you are subscribed for Playstation+, which will cost $60 per year. Along with this collection, you will notice several new features — you will be able to customize the apps on your home screen, play videos or music in the background, receive ads based on the media you consume, adjust profile settings and more. And that is just the start of the PlayStation 5 experience.

Sony PS5 Still On for Winter Holiday Launch

Sony Corp. May 13 disclosed that its flagship PlayStation 5 video game console is still on schedule to debut in time for the winter holidays — despite manufacturing delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. PS5, along with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, are expected to revive a lagging video game market. Sony also disclosed that the PS4 has sold 110 million units since launching in 2013.

“Although factors such as employees working from home and restrictions on international travel have presented some challenges in regards to part of the testing process and the qualification of production lines, development is progressing with the launch of the console scheduled for the 2020 holiday season,” Sony said in a statement.

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That’s a good thing as sales of PS4 dropped to 1.5 million units in the fourth quarter (ended March 31). That was down 43% from sales of 2.6 million units in the previous-year period. For the year, hardware sales dropped 24% to 13.6 million units, compared with 17.8 million in the prior year.

PS4 packaged-media game sales totaled $190.2 million in the quarter, down 39% from $309 million in the previous-year period. Indeed, Sony sold $1 billion in game discs for the fiscal 2019 year. Digital game sales topped $9.3 billion. Total game revenue in the fiscal year surpassed $18.4 billion.

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“At this point in time major [PS5] problems have not arisen in the game software development pipeline for Sony’s own first-party studios or its partners’ studios,” the company said from Tokyo.

Report: Sony ‘PlayStation 5’ to Focus on Major Games, Tech, Including 8K Resolution

Sony Interactive Entertainment appears to be taking a page from Sony Pictures, focusing internal efforts on proven content and wow-factor graphics, among other features.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony’s unnamed fifth-generation video game console — reportedly set to launch in late 2020 — will cater to established game publishers featuring graphics-heavy features.

The strategy is not dissimilar to Sony Pictures focusing on proven franchises such as “Spider-Man,” “Ghostbusters” and “Jumanji.”

“Details when making games have become more important than ever,” Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony Corp., reportedly said at a recent company briefing.

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Expectations are high for PlayStation, whose PS4 console continues to generate significant sales, including projected 17+ million units in 2019 — five years after launching.

The PlayStation brand, including hardware, software and subscriptions, generated more than $21 billion in revenue — and $3 billion operating profit — in Sony’s most-recent fiscal year.

By comparison, Sony Pictures generated about $9.2 billion in revenue, which trailed televisions and speakers ($10.1 billion) and topped smartphones at $4.6 billion.

The new PlayStation comes as the gaming industry grapples with changing technology and distribution to consumers — notably cloud-based online gaming.

Google plans to launch its Stadia platform in November while Apple readies Apple Arcade — both services circumventing traditional game consoles such as PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

According to WSJ, Sony contends online gaming doesn’t allow hardcore gamers the ability to engage in graphics-heavy content, audio and 8K resolution, among other features, due to spotty broadband connections and other tech challenges.

“[This] clearly demonstrates why it makes sense to have a next-generation console,” Yoshida said.