As we inch closer and closer to the holiday season that has both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 waiting in the wings, it’s probably about time we start hearing about some of each console’s defining features. In the case of the PS5, Sony has let developers explain why the inclusion of its super-fast SSD and implementation of 3D audio are potential game-changers.
The speed and architecture of the SSD allows for games to access data both more efficiently and quickly, as Sony’s Mark Cerny explained in detail earlier this year. What that means for game’s in practice is little to no load times, faster movement speeds through larger worlds, or potentially new game experiences that haven’t been envisioned yet.
As Neil Hill, lead programmer on Far Cry 6, explains in the latest PlayStation Blog post: “The SSD is a gamechanger, I think as this generation matures we will see some amazing innovation in streaming and open-world game design.”
Brian Horton, creative director on Spider-Man: Miles Morales, was more focused on the benefits the SSD brings today, saying, “Beyond near-instant loading and fast-travel, the SSD and its speed allow us to more quickly load and display more detailed assets. This should lead to the city looking better than ever, and this is just the beginning for our team unlocking those possibilities.”
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart also showcased some of the benefits of the SSD in its recent Opening Night Live showcase, with whole new worlds being instantaneous loaded as you jump between realities. One feature that’s much more complicated to convey with a trailer is Sony’s new Tempest 3D audio system.
While software-based spatial solutions already exist, Sony believes that its implementation (using thousands of ear measurements) is one of the most accurate yet, giving developers no ways to convey position and atmosphere with audio. As Jun Takeuchi, executive producer on Resident Evil Village, explains, Sony’s solution also makes it much easier for more players to experience better in-game sound.
“It’s almost as if 3D AudioTech was made specifically with horror games in mind. It used to be that in order to get that spatial audio, players would have to invest a lot of their own time and money. Now, just putting on a headset, they can get a full 3D audio experience.”
Mathijs de Jong, game director at Guerrilla Games and working on Horizon Forbidden West, sees 3D audio as a means to better notify players of the directions of threats. “Now with the PS5 console’s Tempest 3D AudioTech sound engine we’ll be able to play sounds in such a way that players will be able to locate the machines around them with greater ease, which is great for situations in which you find yourself surrounded or just want to sneak on machines,” he explained.
Sony is letting more and more details about the PlayStation 5 trickle out as the weeks go by and is even hosting a raffle to secure a spot letting you pre-order the console before anyone else. The PS5 still doesn’t have a firm release date set or price, and a recent listing on a Ubisoft support website suggests that it won’t be backwards compatible with consoles that launched before the PS4.