The ability to play existing PS4 discs is one of the main reasons to opt for the pricier PlayStation 5 with disc drive and not the Digital Edition. Alternatively, if you become a PlayStation Plus subscriber (to play online games), Sony is offering a “PlayStation Plus Collection” at launch, bundling 18 of the best PS4 games together, like The Last of Us Remastered and Fallout 4 to fill out your game library.
You Get Fast, Expandable Storage …
Staring at loading screens is annoying, and the PS5 promises to cut down on all that waiting. Anyone who has upgraded from an old mechanical hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) in a laptop or desktop knows the speed boost it can offer. In our demo, the fast-travel feature in Marvel’s Spider-Man that took 15 seconds to load on the PS4 took just 0.8 seconds on the PS5. There are other advantages too. SSDs don’t have moving parts, so they’re less likely to break over time, they’re quiet, and they don’t require as much power (thereby generating less heat).
After a few years with any console, storage inevitably fills up with all your games. Having to work out what to delete before you can install a new game is frustrating. You can plug an external hard drive into the PS4, and that’s an option for the PS5 too, but external drives will likely only be suitable for PS4 games, as they’re simply not fast enough for newer titles. The good news is that there is an SSD slot for expansion in the PS5, and it can accommodate an off-the-shelf SSD. It’s not catch-free; only NVMe drives with Sony validation will work.
… But Less Base Storage
The original PS4 has a 500-gigabyte hard drive, and the PS4 Pro upped that to 1 terabyte, though only 862 GB are usable. The superior SSD in the new PS5 is 825 GB, and usable space will be a little less than that. The expansion slot and support for external hard drives lessen the blow here, as well as configurable game installations (which we get to below), but storage space could still prove to be a problem, as we expect next-gen games to be even bigger.
You Can Configure Game Installations
It’s frustrating when you fire up a new game only to find out a massive update is required before you can play. With the PS5, Sony is breaking game installations down further, so you can download and install bits of a game you want. That means you can choose the single-player part of the game or just the multi-player, depending on your interests. It can prove handy in freeing up space, allowing you to delete single-player mode when you’ve completed it, for example.
4K Blu-ray and 8K Video Support
The original PS4 didn’t support 4K or UHD Blu-rays, but the PS5 does. If you prefer to buy physical discs or your internet connection simply isn’t up to streaming 4K, then the PS5 can serve as a one-stop entertainment shop under your TV. Though almost no one can take advantage of it now, there’s support for 8K resolution too. Just like 4K, 8K TVs will become more affordable over time, so it’s nice to see a little future-proofing here (whether you’ll need an 8K TV is a different story).
You Still Need PlayStation Plus for Online Play
Playing online requires a PlayStation Plus subscription on the PS4, and this tradition continues with the PS5. Sony softened the blow with free game downloads each month on the PS4. With the PS5, as we mentioned before, PS Plus subscribers will get a free library of 18 top PS4 games at launch. Hopefully, Sony will continue to add to that list with more freebies each month.
You Can Use a PS4 Controller … Sorta
This last improvement is a mixed bag. The PS5 will support DualShock 4 controllers, but only when you’re playing PS4 games. That also applies to third-party PS4 controllers, provided they’re officially licensed. Support also extends to Sony’s PS Move controllers and the VR Aim controller. But if you’re playing a PS5 game, you’ll need a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.