PS5: PlayStation's 'most extraordinary' pandemic launch

By Steffan Powell and Manish Pandey
Newsbeat reporters

Image source, Sony
Image caption,
There are two versions of the PS5 - one with a Bluray drive and another digital-only device

PlayStation 4 is the most popular console of its generation, with over 112 million sold worldwide.

Now, Sony is trying to replicate that success as it steps into a new era of gaming with the PlayStation 5.

The big difference this time is "sensory engagement" according to Jim Ryan, the PlayStation boss.

Speaking to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat about launching it in a pandemic, he says: "It's easily the most extraordinary of all the launches we've ever done."

Compared to previous generational changes in PlayStation consoles, the PS5 sees a more subtle shift but Jim says it's still going to be "transformational".

Image source, Sony
Image caption,
Boss of PlayStation Jim Ryan explains why UK gamers will have to wait until 19 November for the PS5

The PS5 will cost about £450 and gamers will be getting a completely different experience in the console's look and feel compared to the current generation.

"It has more horsepower and runs faster with better graphics. But the difference goes way beyond that," Jim says.

New controllers will change the game too, PlayStation hopes.

"You've got to get one of these controllers in your hands to really feel the action of pulling a bow or letting an arrow go or shooting a gun."

"It's something people have been doing for years. But this is taking something that had become rather mundane, and adding a whole new layer of meaning and experience to it," he adds.

Image source, SONY
Image caption,
The PS5 controller is seen as a gamechanger for gameplay experience

The games

Sony is following a similar strategy to the one that worked in 2013, selling discs and downloads for premium prices.

But there's questions over the lack of big exclusive blockbuster games on release day - with big-hitting titles being seen as one of the reasons for the success of the PS4 over its competition.

It's not a worry for Jim who says there'll be "something for everyone".

Media caption,
WATCH: Hands-on with the PS5

Sony has said that dozens of popular PS4 games, including the 100 most played, will work on the PS5.

As for future game releases?

Fans don't need to look beyond the "not too distant future" for when new games will come out, he says.

Image source, Sony
Image caption,
Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be available at launch on PS5.

A wait for UK fans

Those in the UK wanting to get the console will have a slightly longer and frustrating wait until 19 November.

But Jim says with each generation of console, the wait between the UK and rest of the world is reducing.

"In a completely ideal world, we would like to launch everywhere in the world on the same day."

"We just needed an extra few days to get everything in order to be able to have a proper, professional, seamless PlayStation-style launch," he adds.

The pandemic challenge

The launch of a console in the midst of a global pandemic has been "a rollercoaster" he says.

"The most extraordinary thing is all of this has taken place in 2020. The one thing I've learned is I'll never do this again in a pandemic".

The company's been "astonished" by the level of pre-orders.

"We're making more PS5's in this difficult environment then we made PS4s in that launch. If people are unable to find one at launch, we're very sorry and apologetic about that."

Media caption,
WATCH: PlayStation 5 console and games revealed

"They can rest assured we're working really hard to get significant supplies into the market before and after Christmas."

"This is going to be a bigger launch [than the PS4]. And I think given the circumstances we're in, that's something that we can be quietly proud of."

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