As the next generation of video games begins, it is Sony that has thrown off the shackles with the PlayStation 5, completely changing how its consoles look and play.
This is a PlayStation console that has been dramatically redesigned and comes with completely revamped software and an advanced controller – it a system ready for the next few years of gaming advances.
Here is a closer look at the PlayStation 5.
Unlike the new Xbox Series X, which has opted for a subdued statement with its black box design, the PS5 is a striking, eye-catching declaration of its presence in the room.
A curved black interior is flanked by two sharp white panels which rise up like the points of a crown to create a console which almost looks like a skyscraper from a city of the future.
It is also huge – considerably bigger than the Xbox Series X and in console terms generally – and as a result, it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
It’s not necessarily a good-looking console, but it is striking nonetheless.
This design change continues on the new DualSense wireless controller, which has the same white and black aesthetic.
It is also slightly larger than the PS4 controller and, as a result, is a more comfortable fit in the hand and is easier to hold.
But it is inside the controller where the big changes are taking place, with a new haptic feedback system which offers dynamic vibrations in an incredibly diverse and subtle range of ways.
This is not just basic levels of vibration – the type, intensity, rhythm and direction can also follow, with genuine accuracy, what is occurring on screen.
It is unlike any other controller experience and it is striking just how much of a difference it makes during gameplay.
In summary, the PS5 certainly looks the part.
– Software and gameplay
The PS5’s interface will be comfortable and familiar to existing PlayStation users.
It has been refined as you would expect for a new generation console, but its simple, clean menu screen is easy to navigate.
Within that UI is, of course, the most important part of any console – the games.
Much like the Xbox Series X, the PlayStation 5 is not launching with a bumper range of new, exclusive, next-generation games, but it does still have some highlights.
Firstly, Astro’s Playroom, which comes with the console, is meant to be an introduction to the new haptics engine in the DualSense controller but it is so much more than that.
Yes, it is an amazing way to see all the new things the controller can do and it is highly recommended that PS5 owners experience it, but it is also a high-quality, casual gameplay experience worth your time.
The hardware inside the PS5 also ensures that the general gameplay experience is quicker than it has ever been before, and looks better.
Games load and launch in rapid time – in testing, software was selected, loaded and ready to play in under 20 seconds.
And once they do load, they look great.
Technology such as ray-tracing means lighting looks more realistic than ever, while frame rates of 60 frames per second (fps) as standard with the ability to go up to 120 fps – and 8K support too in the future – mean the images run very smoothly.
Early experiences with new games such as Spider-man Miles Morales show off the early potential of the console – this is a fast-paced, sprawling game but the console handles it with ease.
This is perfectly epitomised by how quiet the cooling fan is, even after long use. This in itself is a huge and important step forward.
Crucially, Sony also brings a vast library of games to the PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility.
It was a major miss in the last generation, but introducing it now makes the PS5 a very tempting prospect going forward, with a range of upcoming titles, including high-profile exclusive sequels such as God Of War: Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West, on the way.
Much like the new Xbox, the best new games for the PlayStation 5 are likely still to come.
However, there is already plenty here to get excited about for now and the future.
Sony has built a system that is fast and powerful, capable of running some of the most engrossing gaming experiences ever seen because of new technologies such as 3D audio and the haptic feedback upgrades in the controller.
At £449.99, it is a substantial investment, but there is nothing to suggest it would be anything other than a smart move for any gaming fan.
The PlayStation 5 will be available from November 19 in the UK.