The first confirmed details for Sony's next console have been revealed by Mark Cerny in an interview with Wired.
Cerny, who served as lead system architect for the PlayStation 4, has taken up the mantle again for Sony's next console and was quick to note that it would not see a 2019 release.
When discussing technical specifications for the upcoming system, Wired writes:
The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into high-end processors and Nvidia's recently announced RTX line, no game console has been able to manage it. Yet.
The specs for this system mean support for 8K graphics, while ray tracing would offer implementation in sound design for games in addition to visual spectacles.
"If you wanted to run tests to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the players' footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that," Cerny explained. "It's all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment."
Beyond ray tracing, Cerny notes that the system's SSD storage will be the game changer for loading times. He used the fast travel system from Insomniac's Spider-Man game as an example:
On the TV, Spidey stands in a small plaza. Cerny presses a button on the controller, initiating a fast-travel interstitial screen. When Spidey reappears in a totally different spot in Manhattan, 15 seconds have elapsed. Then Cerny does the same thing on a next-gen devkit connected to a different TV. (The devkit, an early “low-speed” version, is concealed in a big silver tower, with no visible componentry.) What took 15 seconds now takes less than one: 0.8 seconds, to be exact.
The Wired article also details a few more features for the upcoming system, noting that a physical drive will still be included, meaning that we're still a ways off from a "download only" environment.
The architecture is also partly based on the PlayStation 4, so the system will offer backwards compatibility.
Support for the current PlayStation VR headset will also be included, although Cerny wouldn't go into details regarding a VR strategy for next-gen.
While Cerny insists on referring to it as the "next-gen console," Sony's naming conventions for the last two decades make it an almost certainty that the machine in question will be called the PlayStation 5.
Be sure to check out the full interview over at Wired.