PS5 Hardware Architect Answers Big Question About Ray-Tracing

Do ray me.


Sony has officially confirmed the PlayStation 5 is coming next year, in time for the holiday season. But alongside the big announcement came some more nitty-gritty details about the PS5 hardware features, including a clarification of an important point for its visual chops.

In its initial debut, hardware architect Mark Cerny confirmed the PS5 will support ray-tracing, a feature that allows for complex light and sound effects to be rendered in a 3D space. But his ambiguous phrasing left some speculating that it was a software-level imitation. With this announcement, Cerny has taken the opportunity to put that fear to bed.

"There is ray-tracing acceleration in the GPU hardware," Cerny told Wired, "which I believe is the statement that people were looking for."

At least one developer spoke on the record as well, expanding on the kinds of special effects that the PS5 GPU allows, and how the power of the new GPU in general helps enable new opportunities for developers.

"I could be really specific and talk about experimenting with ambient occlusion techniques, or the examination of ray-traced shadows," said EA chief studio officer Laura Miele, chief studio officer for EA. "More generally, we're seeing the GPU be able to power machine learning for all sorts of really interesting advancements in the gameplay and other tools."

Another developer who may be taking advantage of ray-tracing features is Bluepoint Games, the studio behind remasters like Shadow of the Colossus. That studio says it's at work on something "big" for PS5. The announcement also gave more details on the PS5 controller, which will feature haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.

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