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Twitter reacts to the PS5 presentation

Sony has been fairly quiet about the PlayStation 5, leading to some concerned murmurs from consumers. Will this next-gen console really be the revolution that Sony says it will be? Is it really the fastest console ever created? 

PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny hosted a deep dive into what makes the system tick during a livestream on March 18, to mixed reactions. Cerny had a lot to say; unfortunately, the average gamer struggled to understand exactly what he meant. During this TED Talk-esque event, Cerny spoke at length about the PlayStation 5's specs. He used such technical terms and diagrams that many prospective players felt like the purported "reveal" was actually a university lecture in disguise.

"This PS5 spec reveal ain't it...got me nodding," tweeted one watcher. The livestream left many others feeling sleepy. The trending #PlayStation5 was filled with gifs of people nodding off, confused faces, and a general feeling of boredom and disappointment. Sure, Cerny's lecture was informative as to how the PlayStation 5 differs from previous Sony consoles, but it was ultimately incomprehensible for someone without much technical knowledge. 

While some feel there was some kind of bait and switch here, it should be noted that Sony never said that it was going to reveal the design of the console, despite that being what fans are most excited for. Rather, this livestream was described as, "a deep dive into PS5's system architecture, how it is designed to benefit developers and the games they create." So, despite people angrily tweeting otherwise, Sony never promised a reveal of the console's design. Sorry, folks.

What did the presentation actually reveal about the PS5?

Despite many schools being closed, we got schooled on the PlayStation 5's system architecture thanks to this livestream and Mark Cerny's calming, ASMR worthy voice. If you managed to stay awake during this lecture, you'll know that Sony has made some big strides toward changing game design as you know it.

Look at that SSD. It's long been rumored that Sony was looking to take a leaf from the book of PC players and put a solid state drive directly into the console itself, rather than having players buy one separately. Put in the most simple of terms, Cerny stated that, due to the way the SSD works with the rest of the PS5's guts, load times might be a thing of the past. 

Sony spoke with developers and wanted to make their lives easier. There's a whole subset of level design dedicated to making room for load times. This is why there are long pathways between richly designed areas in games. This is why fast travel isn't actually all that fast.

Thanks to this SSD, you can expect ultra fast boot (the game is ready to play in seconds), zero loading screens, ultra high-speed streaming, and no long patch installs. If that sounds speedy, that's because it is. Maybe this is why developers are loving the PlayStation 5.

Will players love the PlayStation 5?

Cerny also emphasized that the PlayStation 5 will have backwards compatibility and that Sony is making audio quality a big priority. Fans are big into backwards compatibility — it pays to embrace nostalgia these days. Unfortunately for old school Sony fans, there's no confirmation whether this backwards compatibility will stretch to the PlayStation 3 or 2. 

"At the end of the day I could care less what the specs of the PS5/XSX are because I'll go where the games I'm interested in are, but as a collector, particularly a retro game collector, backwards compatibility for all Playstation consoles in PS5 was a dream." one dejected fan tweeted. That dream has not yet been realized.

Even if Sony hasn't quite pushed the limits of backwards compatibility, it is setting new benchmarks when it comes to 3D audio. Because of its work with PlayStation VR, the higher ups at Sony put new focus on creating immersive sound experiences with or without fancy soundbars and headphones.

Basically, Sony wants to attune the audio experience of the PlayStation 5 to the player. This requires learning precisely how the player perceives audio. This information can be gathered through a game that tests spatial sound ... or through a picture of your ear.

The final portion of the livestream was easily the strangest. Mark Cerny explained how ear anatomy relates to how sound travels to the eardrum. Then he proposed, to the bafflement of the internet as a whole, that it might be possible to send Sony a picture of your ear in order for it to calibrate your new PS5 to your anatomy.

"My favorite part of the #PS5 breakdown was the 10 minute lesson on ear anatomy and how it relates to the new 3D audio. And then how they ended it by saying 'So our research concluded that everyone's hearing is unique, so this feature isn't going to work right.'" one tweet read following the livestream.

Cerny did state it wouldn't necessarily work for everyone, and that Sony is still figuring things out. Even so, the fact that Sony seems to be soliciting ... ear pics ... is what many people took away from this odd presentation.

 

Overall, the livestream was strange at best, dull and disappointing at worst. Kotaku's Jason Schreier pointed out this seemed like a bad marketing move, which the backlash on Twitter seems to support. The onerous lecture just didn't resonate with the average gamer.