Rival Microsoft has previously revealed the Xbox Series X, also releasing later this year, but while the two systems are built with similar parts the companies appear to have differing philosophical approaches.
Microsoft has highlighted its machine’s raw power and the PC-like ability for players to move their libraries forwards and back across consoles. Games from all previous Xbox systems will work on the Series X, in some cases with new enhancements that take advantage of the more modern tech. Microsoft has said all its new games through 2021 will work on the older Xbox One system, but will be automatically upgraded free of charge to the Series X version when players upgrade their hardware.
Meanwhile Sony’s positioning is more in line with previous console generations, with the PS5 representing a brand new line of machines that will feature exclusive games taking specific advantage of its new features. It will, however, be able to play some PS4 games. Sony has not yet detailed how or whether players’ existing libraries and purchases will move forward to PS5.
“PlayStation 5 marks the biggest generational transition our industry has yet seen,” said Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan during the unveiling.
“PS5 has inspired developers to create new experiences that are transformative in how they look, sound and feel.”
During the presentation several games developed by Sony’s group of worldwide studios were unveiled, including new entries in the Spider-Man, Gran Turismo, Ratchet & Clank, Horizon, LittleBigPlanet and Demon’s Souls series.
New games were also showcased from other developers, including Resident Evil Village, Hitman III, Oddworld Soul Storm and expanded versions of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online.
Hermen Hulst, Sony’s head of worldwide studios, said developers no longer had to compromise their art because of technical limitations.
“With PS5 we’re not going to be burdened like that, we’re going to be able to realise our artistic vision a lot better,” he said.
“It’s got a ton of horsepower that’s very easy to unlock, and it’s a machine that’s really easy to develop on.”
Microsoft is due to unveil the games coming to its systems from its own internal studios, including a new Halo, sometime next month.
Tim is the editor of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald technology sections.