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A close-up of the stenciled PlayStation logo on the white side panel of the PS5 Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

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All your burning PlayStation 5 questions, answered

The only PS5 FAQ you’ll ever need

The PlayStation 5 will launch next week, arriving two days after Microsoft releases the Xbox Series X and Series S. Over the past two weeks, multiple members of the Polygon team have been putting the PS5 through its paces to try to understand what Sony is bringing to the next console generation.

We’ve had the opportunity to check out a handful of games, including the preinstalled Astro’s Playroom, on final retail units provided by Sony. And we’ve been investigating all the nooks and crannies of the hardware and software in an effort to answer all of your questions about the PS5. (Thanks to everyone who submitted them to me on Twitter and Facebook!)

While we won’t be able to speak to the entire PS5 experience until closer to launch, here’s everything we can clarify for you ahead of time. We’re planning to update this FAQ as more information becomes available, so keep checking back for more details.


What is the PS5’s release date?

The PlayStation 5 will debut on Nov. 12, although it won’t be a simultaneous global launch like with the Xbox Series X and Series S. Sony will launch the PS5 on that date in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The rest of the world, including Europe, the U.K., the Middle East, South America, Africa, and parts of Asia, will get the PS5 one week later, on Nov. 19.

What is the PS5’s price?

Sony is launching the PS5 in two versions: The PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, which does not come with a disc drive, will cost $399.99, while the base model will cost $499.99. The presence (or lack thereof) of a 4K Blu-ray drive is the only difference between the two systems — the hardware within them is otherwise identical.

How can I buy a PS5?

Here’s a helpful collection of all the direct PS5 purchase pages at a bunch of different online retailers.

After the PS5’s initial allocations of pre-orders sold out immediately in mid-September, Sony said retailers would offer additional pre-orders at some point before launch. That hasn’t really panned out — at least, not in any distinct waves of availability, as opposed to listings randomly popping up here and there — and it seems likely that both PS5 models will be very difficult to find in brick-and-mortar stores at launch and for the rest of the holiday shopping season. Your best best might be to call your local retailers and ask if they’ll have any units for sale on launch day, and when they expect to receive new shipments.

Is the PS5 backward-compatible with PS4 games?

Sekiro clashes with a samurai in a screenshot from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
A duel in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Image: FromSoftware/Activision

In short, yes. Sony announced in October that “more than 99 percent” of the PlayStation 4 library — which numbers more than 4,000 games — will be playable at launch on PS5.

We’ve found that the PS5 offers noticeable benefits in loading times for most games, especially when they’re installed to the console’s internal storage rather than played from a USB external hard drive. And thanks to a system that Sony calls Game Boost, certain games have received benefits such as a higher resolution and/or frame rate. (Unlike Boost Mode on the PlayStation 4 Pro, this isn’t a setting that users have to enable.) For instance, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice runs at 60 frames per second on PS5.

The benefits do vary from game to game, so you’ll have to look up specific PS4 titles to see if their developers have provided details on their PS5 upgrades. And Sony says that if a game already had PS4 Pro enhancements, they’ll be available on PS5.

As for where to get your PS4 games: You can copy them from your PS4 using the PS5’s built-in data transfer feature, or, if you have them installed on an external USB drive, you can plug that right into your PS5. Failing that, just head to the PS5’s game library, and you’ll see tiles for all your PS4 games; from there, you can download them directly to your PS5. For further details, check out my colleague Mike McWhertor’s full article about our experiences with PS4 backward compatibility on PS5.

Note that the vibration on the PS5’s new DualSense controller is tuned a bit too aggressively in some games; it seems like you might be better off using a DualShock 4 to play PS4 games on PS5.

Also, if you own any disc-based PS4 games, you won’t be able to play them on the discless PS5 Digital Edition, of course.

Will my PS4 controllers work with the PS5?

Yes, but there are some caveats. While the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller is fully compatible with the PS5, you can only use it to play PS4 games; PS5 games must be played with the console’s DualSense controller.

All officially licensed PS4 peripherals, including third-party accessories such as racing wheels, fight sticks, and Rock Band instruments, will work with the PS5. That includes PlayStation VR, although you’ll have to use the PS4’s camera for it — not the PS5’s HD Camera — and it requires an adapter.

Speaking of PSVR, Sony recommends using the DualShock 4 for virtual reality games. And of course, if a game in question requires PlayStation Move wands, you’ll need to whip those out instead of trying to use the PS5’s DualSense controller. Sony also says that a DualShock 4 controller is necessary on PS5 to play any PS4 games that require the gamepad’s forward-facing light bar.

Can the PS5 run games at 4K and 120 fps?

While the PS5 is capable of gaming in 4K resolution at a frame rate of 120 frames per second, very few of the console’s launch titles — Dirt 5 and Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition among them — actually follow through on that. (We haven’t been able to test this ourselves, since none of the Polygon staffers in possession of a PS5 also have a TV that supports HDMI 2.1.)

The PS5 sports an HDMI 2.1 port, which is necessary to output a 4K/120 Hz signal, and it comes with a cable that can handle the bandwidth of an HDMI 2.1 feed. But you’ll also need to have a TV with an HDMI 2.1 port in order to take advantage of this feature. Gaming at 120 fps in lower resolutions, such as 1080p or even 1440p, does not require an HDMI 2.1 port — but as far as we can tell, the PS5 does not support 120 Hz output at those resolutions. It’s strange, though, because 120 Hz output is not an option that you can enable in the PS5 video settings; instead, it seems to function only on a game-by-game basis, with DMC5 SE telling me that it didn’t detect a 120 Hz-capable display connected to the console.

Even as 2021 looms, there aren’t many 4K TVs on the market with HDMI 2.1 ports, and most of them are in the $1,000 range (or much more expensive). And since there’s no telling yet how many PS5 and Xbox Series X games will end up delivering 4K120 action in the first couple of years after launch, it’s probably not worth upgrading to a high-end HDMI 2.1-capable TV just yet.

How much usable storage space is there on the PS5’s SSD?

The PlayStation 5’s storage menu after a full console reset
The breakdown of files looks pretty similar to how it did on the PlayStation 4. Here’s how the storage breakdown looks if you reset your PS5 to factory settings.
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Both the base PS5 and the Digital Edition come with 825 GB of onboard solid-state storage. The total amount of usable space is 667.2 GB, according to the storage section of the console’s settings. Astro’s Playroom, which comes preinstalled on every PS5, takes up 11 GB of that. At the start of my PS5 experience, I had 648.4 GB of free space.

The X-factor here is a section of the SSD categorized as Other. “This storage space is reserved for system data needed for games and apps to work properly,” the PS5 says. “The amount of space reserved depends on how your console is being used.”

The Other section fluctuates in size — often dramatically — depending on what you have installed. The first time I booted up my PS5, 7.80 GB was classified as Other, but that figure ballooned when I transferred data from my PS4 and as I downloaded additional games. Even after we did a factory reset, after which Astro’s Playroom was not present on the SSD, the system data in the Other section took up 6.64 GB of storage.

Note that while the PS5 includes a storage expansion slot that allows users to install an M.2 SSD in the console to increase its storage, the system doesn’t support the feature at launch; Sony will enable it with a future firmware update. The company will also provide more details on which specific SSDs are compatible with the PS5, so don’t buy any yet.

It’s also worth noting that Sony seems to be aware of the PS5’s storage issues. An update to the PlayStation App for mobile devices will allow users to “remotely manage their PS5’s storage if they run out of space when queuing a game to download to their console via the app,” Sony says in a PlayStation 5 FAQ published on the PlayStation Blog. In addition, developers will be able to support a feature that allows users to delete unwanted or unnecessary chunks of games — for instance, being able to delete the single-player campaign for a game where you only care about the multiplayer component.

Does the PS5 support Bluetooth headsets?

Just like the PS4, the PS5 doesn’t work with Bluetooth headphones or speakers. The PS5’s Bluetooth accessories menu recognized a pair of Bluetooth earbuds (the original Galaxy Buds from 2019) and a Bluetooth speaker, but when I tried to pair either device, the system gave me a message saying, “The PS5 doesn’t support Bluetooth audio accessories.”

Asked for further details, a Sony representative confirmed to Polygon that the PS5 doesn’t support third-party Bluetooth audio devices, but said that “most USB and analog headsets will be supported.” For more information, check out our article on how gaming headset manufacturers have been preparing for both next-gen consoles.

Can you plug in a PS4 external USB drive and have it work immediately on PS5 with no hassle?

You sure can! Sony said this in October when it detailed PS4 backward compatibility, and we’ve confirmed as much ourselves. I moved The Last of Us Part 2 and MLB The Show 20 from my PS4 to a 2 TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim USB 3.0 external hard drive, and I was able to play both games on PS5 immediately upon plugging it into the console. That’s a traditional hard drive, mind you, and it still provided some modest improvements in load times, so you definitely don’t need to invest in an external SSD just to run PS4 games well.

While we didn’t have any USB-C storage on hand to test with the PS5, the console requires you to connect external drives that use a USB-A cable to one of the two USB 3.0 ports on the back of the PS5. That’s because the USB-A port on the front of the console only supports USB 2.0.

Sony notes that the PS5 doesn’t support using more than one external drive at a time, and that USB drives can’t be connected to the console through a USB hub. USB drives must have a capacity between 250 GB and 8 TB for use with the PS5.

How does PS4-to-PS5 data transfer work?

selecting PS4 games and apps to transfer to a PS5 Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

There are a few different ways to get your PS4 games, save files, and apps onto your PS5. The best option is to use a direct network connection — either wire both consoles to your router, or use an Ethernet cable to connect them directly to each other. You can also conduct the transfer with one or both consoles on Wi-Fi, but be warned: It’s far, far slower that way. (My colleague Chelsea Stark tried to transfer just under 200 GB of data via Wi-Fi, and her PS5 said the process was going to take 25 hours.)

What’s nice about the PS4-to-PS5 process is that it happens in the background. After taking a few minutes to set everything up and copy PS4 saves over, the PS5 reboots, and then you can continue using your console while the transfer unfolds in the downloads menu.

Well ... theoretically, anyway. My PS4-to-PS5 transfer was relatively quick — with both consoles wired to my router, the process was on track to copy 450 GB of data in approximately 90 minutes — but it wasn’t actually a success. More than 90% of the way through, the transfer inexplicably failed; not all of the PS4 games made it over to my PS5. Oh, and dozens of gigabytes on my PS5’s internal SSD are now classified as “Other,” eating up a significant chunk of the storage. (I’ve reached out to Sony about my transfer troubles, and a spokesperson said the company is looking into what the issue could be.)

I ended up going a different route: I connected a USB 3.0 external hard drive to my PS4, copied a couple of games to it, and then plugged it into my PS5. That worked just fine.

What games are in the PS5 launch lineup?

A total of 26 games are launching alongside the PlayStation 5. (Note that the total includes PS5 upgrades of existing PS4 games.)

Five are first-party titles from SIE Worldwide Studios: Astro’s Playroom by Team Asobi, which is preinstalled on every PS5; Demon’s Souls, Bluepoint Games’ remake of FromSoftware’s 2009 action role-playing game; Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Insomniac Games’ spinoff of 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man; Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered; and Sumo Digital’s LittleBigPlanet spinoff Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

Here are the 21 third-party launch titles for the PS5:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Borderlands 3
  • Bugsnax (Note: Bugsnax is available free to PlayStation Plus subscribers from Nov. 12 until Jan. 4, 2021, except in China and Saudi Arabia)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Nov. 13)
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
  • Dirt 5
  • Fortnite
  • Godfall
  • Goonya Fighter
  • King Oddball
  • Maneater
  • NBA 2K21
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Observer: System Redux
  • Overcooked! All You Can Eat
  • The Pathless
  • Planet Coaster
  • Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship

Does horizontal or vertical positioning affect the PS5’s cooling ability or fan noise?

We’ve asked Sony for further clarification, but the answer seems to be no. There is no appreciable difference in the temperature of the PS5’s shell or in the console’s fan noise (which is pretty much imperceptible, in our experience) between the vertical and horizontal orientations.

a tall photo of a view from the left front angle of the PlayStation 5 standing vertically on a round wooden table
It feels like the PS5 was meant to stand vertically rather than lie horizontally.
Photo: Samit Sarkar/Polygon

This makes sense, since the rear of the console is essentially one giant exhaust vent. Just make sure to leave a good deal of clearance behind the system, whether you have it standing up or lying on its side.

Can you use the same PlayStation Network account on a PS4 and a PS5?

Yes, but not at the same time. Obviously, part of the point of using a single account system is to have a unified user profile across a variety of devices. And of course, Sony would love to turn as many PS4 owners as possible into PS5 owners over time. But although the PS5 makes it more simple to share one account’s games with multiple users on the same console, it isn’t possible to use the same PSN account on two devices simultaneously.

To be clear, I was able to boot up my PS4 and PS5 and be signed in to both consoles at the same time. But if I tried to start any software on the PS4 while I was already running something on the PS5, I would get a message on the PS5 saying, “This game or app has been suspended because Samit Sarkar started a game or app on another console.” (The same applies the other way, too.) So you can’t use your PS5 for Netflix in one room while your sister plays Ghost of Tsushima on your PS4 in another.

How is the PS5 Share/Create menu and video capture quality?

Gameplay footage captured from the PS5 looks great, with a high enough bit rate to keep the action clean. The capture settings, on the other hand, were confounding until I figured out the quirks of the PS5’s gameplay recording capabilities.

The PS5 system settings allow you to choose the resolution and file type for gameplay clips. You can record at 1080p in either MP4, which is the most ubiquitous video format today, or WebM, a less common format developed by Google. The PS5 is also capable of recording 4K gameplay at up to 60 frames per second. But if you want to capture 4K footage, you can do it only in WebM, which Google-owned YouTube supports but Twitter does not. (To clarify, we haven’t yet been able to test the PS5’s social media sharing functionality due to Sony’s embargo restrictions, so we’ll have to see how it works later.)

The thing is, that entire previous paragraph applies only for recordings that users manually start and stop. The PS5 captures a rolling buffer of gameplay footage just like the PS4 did, but if you use the DualSense’s Create button shortcut to quickly save a video of the most recent gameplay — I have my PS5 set to “Easy Screenshots,” so the shortcut to take a video is a double tap of the button — the recording will be limited to 1080p at up to 60 frames per second. (These clips can be as short as 15 seconds and as long as an entire hour.)

The only way to record a clip of 4K gameplay is to bring up the Create menu, which pauses the action, and then button over to the right to start a manual recording. You can also use the Create menu to grab a video of recent gameplay — the same functionality as the aforementioned double tap — but strangely, the PS5’s Create menu doesn’t offer a button shortcut for this action like the PS4’s Share menu does. (I have my PS4 set so I can hold the Share button to bring up the menu, and then quickly press square to grab the last 15 minutes of gameplay.) To allow for 4K recordings, change the option called “Manual Recording Resolution” in the capture/broadcast settings; this will only show up if your PS5 is connected to a 4K TV.

Of course, with storage space at a premium on the PS5’s internal SSD, you’ll probably want to avoid capturing too many videos. A 30-second clip of Spider-Man: Miles Morales at 1080p and 60 fps comes out to just under 65 MB, while a 30-second clip of MLB The Show 20 at 4K HDR and 60 fps weighs in at 170 MB. While the PS5 doesn’t allow you to save captures directly to a USB external hard drive, you can totally copy them there yourself and then delete them from the internal storage to free up space.

As for screenshots, the PS5 can capture HDR stills in JPEG format, but if you want to get uncompressed PNG files, you have to disable HDR image capture. Either way, if you export or share captured JPEGs, the PS5 will convert them to standard dynamic range. (This setting doesn’t affect gameplay videos, which appear to be limited to SDR unless you’re capturing 4K clips, which do record in HDR.)

At launch, PS5 users will be able to share video clips up to three minutes long, as well as screenshots, with friends in parties via the PS5; this content will be viewable in the PlayStation App. The console also supports sharing to third-party services including Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube.

For users who want to use an external capture device such as an Elgato product with the PS5, the console does support disabling HDMI copy protection (HDCP) in its video settings.

Do PS5 games work with external USB hard drives?

They do not. Even USB SSDs are far, far slower than the PS5’s built-in storage, so all PS5 games must be installed to the console’s internal SSD.

If you were hoping to be able to use a large external hard drive as “cold storage” for PS5 games — i.e., clearing space on the internal SSD by moving installed games to a USB HDD, rather than deleting them and having to re-download them later — that’s unfortunately not an option. (This is presumably because Sony doesn’t want to confuse people who might expect that if they could move a PS5 game to an external drive, they’d also be able to play it off of that drive.) In fact, the PS5 doesn’t even let you copy PS5 save files to a USB drive; the only backup option is cloud storage, which is available exclusively for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

“Explorations for allowing players to store (but not play) PS5 games on a USB drive in a future update are underway,” Sony says in its PS5 FAQ.

Anything goes for PS4 games, though. You can copy them from a PS4 to a PS5 using Sony’s built-in data transfer feature, and/or put them on a USB 3.0 drive that you plug in to the PS5. You can play PS4 games directly from USB storage to get some performance improvements, or move them to the PS5’s internal SSD to take advantage of upgrades like further reductions in loading times.

Does the PS5 have a ‘quick resume’ feature?

Bugsnax mayor with strawberry feet?
The mayor of Bugsnax’s Snaktooth Island.
Image: Young Horses

The PS5 user interface might fool some people into thinking that the console offers something akin to the Quick Resume feature that’s available on Xbox Series X and Series S ... but no, it does not.

Microsoft’s next-gen consoles allow users to swap between multiple active games and pick up right where they left off in each one — it’s like switching between apps that are open on your phone. You could put an hour into Yakuza: Like a Dragon and then join some buddies for a few rounds of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and once your friends logged off, you could load right back into the side mission you were doing in Yokohama.

The second icon in the PS5’s Control Center — the shortcut menu that appears when you tap the PlayStation button — is labeled Switcher. It’ll list the game or app you’re currently running (if any), and the one or two games or apps you’ve used most recently. However, when we tried using the Switcher to, y’know, switch from one active game to another and then go back to the first one, the PS5 simply booted up the games from scratch every time.

The only situations in which the PS5 will suspend a game is if a user opens a media app or puts their console into Rest Mode. In those cases, the console will allow the user to pick up where they left off with the game.

Are PS5 download speeds slow? What about wired vs. Wi-Fi?

I haven’t had any general issues with download speeds on the PS5, although I did get some confusing results when I compared wired connections to wireless ones.

I downloaded Bugsnax four times — once each via Ethernet and Wi-Fi on both PS4 and PS5 — to look for any differences. I usually have the two consoles wired to my router, because all three devices are located within 1 foot of each other on my TV stand. When I was using the PS4 and PS5 wirelessly, I had them on a 5 GHz network. I have gigabit internet from Verizon Fios at my New York City apartment, and over Ethernet, I typically get download speeds in the range of 25-40 MB/s from the PlayStation Network.

On a wired connection, that range held up on both PS4 and PS5 for Bugsnax. The 5.26 GB file downloaded slightly faster on the new console — it took 2 minutes and 34 seconds (34.16 MB/s) on PS4, versus 2 minutes and 16 seconds (38.68 MB/s) on PS5. But the situation got weird when I switched to Wi-Fi, with the download taking 4 minutes and 21 seconds (20.16 MB/s) on PS4 and a tortoiselike 7 minutes and 45 seconds (11.31 MB/s) on PS5. The latter result was so alarming that I tried the download a second time, and it took just as long.

I haven’t done any further testing, but hopefully the slowness was just an anomaly due to the time of day or momentary interference or something, and not an indication of a deeper problem with the PS5’s Wi-Fi radio.

Does the PS5 support 1440p output for computer monitors?

Photo highlighting the various ports on the PS5 video game console, including two USB ports, an ethernet port, an HDMI port, and the power input Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

No. The PS5 can output a video signal at four different native resolutions: 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 2160p (4K). Sony says that support for 8K output will come in a future firmware update, although that will presumably be limited to streaming video rather than games.

When we plugged the PS5 into a 1440p monitor, the video settings said that 1080i and 2160p were “Not Supported.” That means that the best option is to output 1080p video and have the monitor upscale it to 1440p, which is, of course, not ideal. A Sony representative confirmed our testing, telling Polygon that “1440p is not supported” on PS5.

Does the PS5 support Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, or DTS:X?

The PS5 can only output HDR10 color, not Dolby Vision HDR or HDR10+.

In terms of audio, here’s a list of the formats that the PS5 supports, per Sony’s FAQ:

  • Dolby Digital (up to 5.1 channels)
  • Dolby Digital Plus (up to 7.1 channels)
  • Dolby TrueHD (up to 7.1 channels)
  • DTS (up to 5.1 channels)
  • DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (up to 7.1 channels)
  • DTS-HD Master Audio (up to 7.1 channels)
  • AAC (up to 5.1 channels)
  • Linear PCM (up to 7.1 channels)

What’s missing? The PS5 does not support either of the common object-based surround sound formats that are in use today, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

How fast is the PS5 from cold boot-up to gameplay?

Obviously, this varies from game to game. But the PS5’s SSD is blazing fast, just as Sony has advertised.

From a powered-off state, the console takes 24 seconds to load the dashboard; if you keep the system in standby (aka Rest Mode), it cuts the boot time in half, to just 12 seconds. And you’ll spend far more time watching the logo animations for Marvel Entertainment and Insomniac Games — the ones that play before the main menu — than you will waiting for Spider-Man: Miles Morales to load. When you hit “continue” to load a save, Spidey and Manhattan pop up almost instantly.

How is the DualSense controller’s input latency on PS5?

We don’t have the capacity to test the difference, but in its PS5 FAQ, Sony says, “Input latency has been optimized on the DualSense wireless controller compared to the DualShock 4 wireless controller.”

Is turning the PS5 all the way off still an extra step?

the power options in the PS5’s Control Center: Enter Rest Mode, Turn Off PS5, and Restart PS5 Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

This actually brings up another one of my issues with the PS5: After spending two weeks with the console, I’m not a huge fan of most of the user interface changes that Sony has made from the PS4.

There’s nothing wrong in theory with the Control Center, the quick menu that pops up when you tap the PlayStation button. But my biggest issue is that it’s a tap away. I’ve gotten so accustomed to holding down the PlayStation button to access the PS4’s quick menu — which pops up in a sidebar to the left — that I constantly find myself doing the same thing on PS5 when I want to use a shortcut like quickly turning off the system. But all that does on Sony’s new console is bring you to the dashboard.

It’s baffling to me (and to my other colleagues who have been testing the PS5) that Sony decided to swap the inputs tied to these features; the company had to know that muscle memory would be an issue for PS4 veterans. And to answer the question here: In order to turn off the PS5 completely, you have to tap the PlayStation button to bring up the Control Center, then press down once to get to the bar of icons itself (the selected item is always one of the Activity Cards). From there, you have to navigate over to the power icon, which is on the far right side of the screen. When you press X, a menu pops up with three options — put the PS5 into standby, power off the console entirely, or restart it — and yes, Rest Mode is always highlighted by default.

Can you customize the menu that pops up when you hit the PlayStation button?

customizing the PS5 dashboard’s Control Center Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Yes, but the level of customization for the PS5’s Control Center isn’t nearly as robust as we’d like it to be.

Six of the icons in the row — Home (which takes you to the dashboard), Switcher (a short list of recent games/apps), Notifications, Accessories, your PSN profile, and Power — are always there by default. The one for downloads and uploads only shows up during an active download or upload (or if there’s an error with one), and while I don’t have a PlayStation VR unit to test this, I assume that its icon only shows up if the headset is plugged in.

You can choose to add any of seven other icons to the Control Center: Game Base (a shortcut to party chat and your friends list), Music (which hooks into Spotify), Broadcasts (for livestreaming games), Accessibility, Network, Sound, and Microphone. But unlike on the PS4, you can’t change the order of the icons. And we’d really love the ability to add a shortcut to the system settings, which are currently accessible only from the PS5’s home screen.

Does the PS5’s 3D audio feature require headphones designed specifically for it?

Nope! Sony said in October that its official PS5 headset, the $99.99 Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, has been “engineered to take full advantage of PS5’s 3D Audio capabilities,” but noted that “it isn’t the only way that fans can experience the increased presence and locality” that the console’s Tempest 3D AudioTech promises. In fact, any old pair of standard stereo headphones will do the job.

“Headsets that can connect to a 3.5mm jack, USB-A, or USB-C will work for 3D Audio,” a Sony spokesperson told Polygon, referring to the headphone jack built into the bottom of the PS5’s DualSense controller.

If you enable 3D audio in the PS5 system settings, you’ll see that you can choose from five different calibration options, the technical term for which is “head-related transfer function.” (Basically, everyone’s ears are different, so individual PS5 users should try the various HRTF settings and see which one sounds best to them.)

Sony is also planning to add support to the PS5 for virtual surround sound delivered through a TV’s built-in speakers, but that feature won’t be ready in time for launch.

Can you change controller button mapping under the PS5 accessibility options?

Yup, the PS5 allows you to reassign the buttons on the DualSense controller at the system level, just like the PS4 does. In fact, Sony has included an impressive suite of accessibility options in the PS5, such as a screen reader and the ability to use a high-contrast color scheme. In addition, the console lets users reduce or disable the DualSense controller’s vibration and its adaptive trigger functionality.

Does the PS5’s DualSense controller work with a PS4 or PC?

A top-facing view of the PS5 DualSense controller Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

The DualSense controller can connect to a PS4 and a Windows PC ... but that’s about it, at least at this point. I was able to pair it with my PS4 Pro — it shows up in the Bluetooth accessories menu as a “Wireless Controller” — but none of the buttons did anything once I synced it with the console.

As for PC, my gaming rig doesn’t have a Bluetooth radio, so I plugged in the gamepad with a USB cable; my colleague Russ Frushtick was able to sync his DualSense controller to a PC, where once again, it showed up as a generic wireless controller. Steam couldn’t make heads or tails of the controller for me, and Russ said that games with DualShock 4 support don’t automatically work with the DualSense. It seems that PS5 owners will have to wait for Sony (or a third party) to release Windows drivers in order to be able to use the controller to play PC games.

However, Sony says that Remote Play on PC does support the DualSense controller if it’s plugged in via USB.

How long is the PS5 controller’s battery life?

Unfortunately, we can’t really say — we don’t have a reasonable method of testing the life of the DualSense battery. Sure, we could try playing games with it until it runs out of juice, but that wouldn’t necessarily provide an accurate picture of the battery life because of all the variables created by this controller’s unique features. The DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as well as its built-in microphone and speaker, would surely affect the battery life depending on how much they were being used in a particular situation.

Asked for the controller’s official rated battery life, a Sony rep told Polygon, “Under most conditions, battery life is expected to be similar to the DualShock 4 wireless controller.” That would suggest that Sony outfitted the DualSense with a larger battery — its capacity is rated at 1,560 mAh, 53% higher than that of the DualShock 4’s battery — specifically because the company knew that the controller’s fancy new features would drain its battery more quickly. As for charging time, Sony says it takes about three hours to charge up a drained controller to full battery.

In my experience, the DualSense seems to last longer than my PS4 gamepad — but then, I’ve had that controller for many years, so its lithium-ion battery is almost surely not holding as much of a charge as it used to.

Does the PS5 camera work on PC?

No dice on the HD Camera, Sony’s new 1080p camera for the PlayStation 5. Russ also tested this out. His computer didn’t even recognize that a device had just been connected, because nothing happened when he plugged in the HD Camera. It’s a bummer, considering that the pandemic has caused a run on webcams, but maybe somebody will figure out a way to make it work on PC in the future.

For games released on both PS4 and PS5, can you pick which version to play?

You can indeed. These games, such as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, have a “Game Version” toggle in the menu that pops up when you press the options/start button on their dashboard tile. (In that particular case, though, there’s no reason to choose the PS4 version over the PS5 version.)

Note that it’s up to individual developers to make save files compatible across the PS4 and PS5 versions of the same game. For instance, Miles Morales players will be able to pick up where they left off on PS4 if they later upgrade to a PS5. However, the same functionality won’t exist at launch between 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man and its PS5 remaster. After initially saying that save transfers wouldn’t be available at all, Insomniac announced Nov. 9 that it is working on adding this feature in a patch that’s scheduled to arrive “around Thanksgiving.”

How bright/distracting are the PS5 lights in a dark room?

the PlayStation 5 standing vertically to the right of a TV showing the PS5 dashboard with The Last of Us Part 2 selected, photographed in a dark room Photo: Samit Sarkar/Polygon

Honestly, I haven’t found the PS5’s lighting to be a problem at all, although I never play games in a completely dark room. I took the photo above with my phone with all the lights turned off in my living room, so it’s not necessarily representative of the actual colors. But the appearance of the screen and console in the photo do reflect their real-life brightness relatively well, as far as I saw when I took the shot.

To be clear, you’ll definitely notice the light; as you can see in the photo, it’s certainly brighter than the clock on my cable box and the blue LEDs on my router right below the TV. But the PS5 seems to be designed so that its light goes out to the sides — onto the insides of the two white side panels — more than it shines outward into the room.

In case you’re curious, the light functions exactly the same way as it does on PS4. It slowly throbs in a blue color during the startup process, then turns white once it finishes booting and remains that color as long as the console is on. When the PS5 is in Rest Mode, the light is a steady amber color. By the way, the boot sequence begins with a single loud beep when the console is turned on, just like on PS4.

Does the PS5 still do that ‘copying...’ thing with patches?

Yes, although it seems to go faster than it does on PS4. However, that doesn’t mean the process is as quick as the load times in PS5 games. A patch for Spider-Man: Miles Morales that was somewhere in the realm of 2 GB took approximately two minutes to download — and it took about as long for the update to install, with the console’s downloads list giving me that good ol’ “Copying...” message.

“Downloading and applying game software updates on PS5 should work more quickly than on the PS4 console in general, as the data size of updates and patches is managed more effectively,” Sony says in a PlayStation 5 FAQ published on the PlayStation Blog.

When playing a PS4 game on PS5, will you be able to play multiplayer with people playing the game on PS4?

Yup, absolutely. We’ve tested Overwatch, for instance.

Cross-generation multiplayer compatibility — i.e., playing the PS5 version of a game with people playing it on PS4 — is a different story. Allowing that is up to individual developers. Sony says that games with cross-gen support will allow users to send game invites across both PS4 and PS5.

How well does PS5 Remote Play perform?

Remote Play allows users to access their PS5 from a PC or mobile device, the same way it worked on PS4. In addition, Remote Play on PS5 will support access from a PS4 or another PS5, so a user could play PS5 games on a PS4 via Remote Play. And the feature will now let three additional users join a session, providing for four-player local multiplayer action.

I used the PlayStation App on my Android phone to connect to my PS5, and Remote Play worked beautifully at 1080p and 60 fps with a PS5 game (Spider-Man: Miles Morales) as well as a PS4 game (MLB The Show 20). I played both titles with a DualShock 4 paired to my phone via Bluetooth.

Of course, the latency involved in streaming a video game — even under ideal conditions, with my PS5 wired to my router and my phone on my 5 GHz home Wi-Fi network — made it nearly impossible to hit a fastball in MLB 20. But I was able to beat up gang members with no problem in Miles Morales. (Incidentally, Remote Play is a way to get around Sony’s requirement that PS5 games be played with a PS5 controller.) And the cherry on top was playing these games on a mobile device in HDR, since my Samsung Galaxy S10’s screen supports it.

Will PS5 games be added to PlayStation Plus?

Spider-Man in his stealth suit preparing a punch in midair in Spider-Man: Miles Morales Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

At some point in the future, they probably will — “it is our goal to add PS5 games regularly to the monthly games lineup,” Sony says in its PS5 FAQ. For now, though, Sony will continue offering two free PS4 games every month.

Is the PS4’s Share Play feature still a thing on PS5?

We haven’t been able to test it, but a Sony spokesperson told Polygon that yes, the PS5 does support Share Play. The feature, which Sony launched on PlayStation 4 back in late 2014, allows users to play games with a friend over the internet, even if the other person doesn’t own the game in question. At the time, Sony likened it to a “virtual couch.”

The PS5 also allows you to share your screen in a party chat with friends, allowing you to keep a picture-in-picture window of a friend’s game on your screen. Share Play is part of this functionality, and just like on PS4, Share Play sessions are limited to one hour.

Is the PS5 region-free?

Yup! PS5 games aren’t region-locked.

What streaming media apps does the PS5 have?

The following media apps are available on PS5 at launch:

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Apple TV
  • Crunchyroll
  • DAZN
  • Disney Plus
  • ESPN
  • Funimation
  • Hulu
  • My Videos [for playback of content purchased from PlayStation Video]
  • Netflix
  • NFL Sunday Ticket
  • Peacock
  • Plex
  • Pluto
  • Spotify
  • Tubi
  • Twitch
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • WWE
  • YouTube

Also on the way, although without a confirmed release window, is MyCanal.

Sony’s official Media Remote for the PS5 features shortcut buttons for Disney Plus, Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube.

Do PS5 streaming entertainment apps support 4K HDR?

They can, although it’s up to individual app makers. For instance, HBO hasn’t yet announced an HBO Max app for PS5, but since the service doesn’t offer any 4K HDR content at the moment, it’s hard to imagine its app would support 4K HDR.

Does the PS5 have a web browser?

Unlike the PS3 and PS4, the PS5 does not have a dedicated web browser app. It’s strange, because the console is capable of browsing the web — if you select the PS5 user manual from the top of the system settings, the console opens a browser to load it. There are even settings for the browser in the system settings.

How many users can sign in to one PS5?

The PlayStation 5 and DualSense controller, alongside the Pulse 3D wireless headset, the PlayStation HD camera, and several connecting cables Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

The PS5 can connect to as many as four DualSense controllers at once, which makes sense, because the console is limited to having four users logged in simultaneously. Up to 16 different user accounts can be registered to a single PS5.

How does PS5 party chat work?

Sony supports up to 16 players — across PS4 and PS5 — in a voice chat. Outside of voice chat, a party can support a group of up to 100 PlayStation Network users for text chat across PS4, PS5, and the PlayStation App.

Does PS5 backward compatibility support PlayStation, PS2, or PS3 games?

No, the PS5 can only play PS4 games directly. However, if a game from a previous PlayStation console is available on PlayStation Now, it’ll be playable on PS5 through that streaming service.

Can I transfer my catalog of PS4 screenshots and videos over to my PS5?

Nope. The only thing you can do with them is copy them to a USB drive — the PS5 does not allow you to copy files from a USB drive to the console’s internal storage (except for PS4 games, apps, and save data).

What file types does the PS5 support for media playback?

In addition to being the home of any screenshots or gameplay videos that a user has captured, the PS5’s Media Gallery app can play a variety of files stored on external USB drives. It does not appear that the console has a stand-alone Media Player app for this purpose, like the PS4 does.

Note that in order to use an external USB drive with the PS5 for data storage — as opposed to extended storage for installing PS4 games — the drive must be formatted in FAT32 or exFAT, not NTFS. (The better option is exFAT, since FAT32 cannot support files larger than 4 GB.)

A notable upgrade over the PS4 and PS4 Pro is that the PS5 is capable of playing video files encoded with H.265/HEVC compression; we discovered this by testing multiple HEVC-encoded MP4 files containing 4K HDR video at 60 fps.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of file types that the PS5 supports, according to Sony and our own testing:

Image

  • JPEG
  • PNG

Video

  • MKV
  • MP4

Audio

  • MP3
  • FLAC
  • AAC (M4A)
a screenshot of the Control Center above the PlayStation 5 dashboard, with a USB drive selected in the Music tab
The only way to play audio files from a USB drive is through the Music tab of the PS5 Control Center.
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

While the Media Gallery app is the way to view images and videos stored on a USB drive, playing audio from an external drive works differently. I was confounded by the Media Gallery app’s inability to see the Led Zeppelin MP3s I had loaded onto a USB stick — until I checked the PS5 user manual, and realized that audio playback doesn’t work that way. (The PS5 doesn’t explain this, by the way. Fun!)

The user manual says to put audio files in a folder named “Music” in the root directory of your USB drive. The only way to play those files on a PS5 is to bring up the Control Center and click on the Music tab. You’ll see your external storage listed under “USB drives,” and from there, you’ll be able to browse the AAC, FLAC, and/or MP3 files on the drive and play them. The PS5 offers shuffle and repeat options, but it doesn’t seem to support playlists.

What discs does the PS5’s 4K Blu-ray drive support?

In addition to 4K Blu-ray Discs, the standard PS5’s optical drive can play Blu-ray Discs and DVDs. However, just like the PS4, the PS5 cannot play audio CDs.

Does the PS5 support 3D Blu-rays?

No, the PS5 can’t output stereoscopic 3D.

Can I hook up a keyboard and mouse to the PS5?

Yes, although it’s up to individual developers to support those peripherals in their games.

Any word on PS5 dynamic themes yet?

Asked about PS5 themes, whether static or dynamic, a Sony rep told Polygon that “themes are not supported.” In fact, aside from the Control Center, it’s not possible to customize the PS5 interface at all. Unlike on the PS4 dashboard, you can’t put games or apps into folders.

Update (Nov. 9): We’ve updated this article with a wealth of information from Sony’s official PlayStation 5 FAQ, which it published Monday on the PlayStation Blog. We’ve also revised the “which version to play” answer based on a new announcement Monday from Insomniac Games regarding its remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Update (Nov. 10): We’ve updated this article with an explanation of how to play music files from a USB drive, now that we’ve seen the instructions in Sony’s user manual for the PS5.

Update (Nov. 12): We’ve updated this article with the launch lineups for PS5 games and streaming media apps.