Technophile

Sony’s PS5: Gear up for next-gen gaming

Mala Bhargava | Updated on February 17, 2021

Console wars heat up a veritable powerhouse of performance and versatility

Gaming consoles don’t get upgraded that often. So when they do, it’s quite a big event. Sony has been leading the console market for some time now which is good because they seem to have dropped out of the smartphone race, specially in India.

The PlayStation 5 is arguably the most powerful and most popular console right now. The new design is massive, interesting, distinctive and polarising. It’s so much in demand that Sony can’t make them fast enough. Some reports in December 2020 suggest the company sold 3.4 million units in just the first four weeks after launch.

Sony shipped 4.5 million units of PS5 in 2020

As a result, the consoles are sold out globally and extremely hard to get. In India, with limited imports, pre-booking sold out in mere seconds with many still waiting to get their hands on one.

So, apart from the glitzy next-gen hardware and supply-demand issue, why is it so popular? Even for people who don’t own a PS4, it makes complete sense to get the PS5 because it is backwards compatible with a vast library of PS4 games. It’s a fantastic Blu-Ray player, if you care enough to buy movie discs. And it’s also a 4K video streamer for platforms like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Strangely enough, Hotstar hasn’t made an app for PlayStation yet.

Sony to build PS5 inventory owing to ‘unprecedented’ demand

Digital edition

India only gets the disc edition of the console (for now) for ₹49,990. The digital edition without the Blu-Ray drive doesn’t find much favour in India (and rightly so) despite a price tag that’s ₹10,000 cheaper! Getting a digital edition means that each game you purchase (or licence, which is the accurate term) will have to be downloaded in its entirety. Add to that the multiple updates and you’re talking over 100 gigabytes per game for the A+ titles. Not too many internet connections can keep up with that and when you factor in the limited storage on the console itself, you’ll be constantly having to offload games onto external storage.

There’s a handful of physical games available at the moment: Demon’s Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Spider Man: Miles Morales. There are many more games available digitally. You can also buy a bunch of accessories, including additional controllers, dual controller charger, HD camera (for video streaming) and media remote (it’s a Blu-Ray player too, and a very good one at that).

Each PS5 console also includes a wonderful free game called Astro’s Playroom — it’s a great demonstrator of the new DualSense controller (which is just fantastic). The controller layout is familiar to any PlayStation user but it’s a bit larger, heavier, uses USB-C and is way more capable when it comes to precision and feedback. It’s pretty amazing how the triggers can offer higher resistance according to what you’re doing. Pulling a trigger or a bowstring in the game actually feels like the real thing. It’s worth reiterating that the PS5 is pretty powerful and future proof but I won’t bore you with the details of the processor, RAM, graphics and all that. You can easily find all that online. The one thing worth mentioning is the blazing fast, custom 825GB SSD storage that cuts game load times into nothing! It has transfer/read speeds faster than almost any consumer computing machine on the planet! You can add more storage — internally, using a M.2 NVMe SSD stick and externally, using USB. However, you will only be able to play PS4 games from external storage, not PS5 games.

So should you get a PS5? Absolutely — console gaming doesn’t get better than this at the moment. It’s a great do-it-all machine already and will only get better with age as game developers learn to extract the best out of it. You do need to have an equally great display to match though: 55-inch or more, 4K & HDR? Great! QLED or OLED display with higher refresh rate? Even better to enjoy the smooth, next-gen graphics with visual treats like ray tracing enabled.

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Published on February 17, 2021
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