Rumors suggest Sony will release a second, updated version of the successful Playstation 4, ‘codenamed Playstation NEO’. On paper, its hardware is considerably more capable than the Playstation 4 – around 60% in more computer power alone. The changes would make Playstation VR much less restricted by the Playstation 4s power, while also enabling 4k gaming for those who prefer to stick to traditional TV-gaming. However, it would be the first console ever to be significantly different from its counterpart (console hardware is in fact updated regularly, but the changes are more likely to only have minor impact on performance, such as better power efficiency).
If the Playstation NEO really is a thing, the question will be how Sony makes sure the Playstation 4 and Playstation 4.5 will co-exist in the same ecosystem. Since this is not the Playstation 5, we wouldn’t expect the original owners to be left in the dark when it comes to future game releases. It is possible, although probably not in any developer’s interest for moneatry reasons, to limit a game to only be playable on the NEO – unless Sony explicitly forbid them from doing so.
In effect the NEO would then simply be a luxury purchase, geared towards those who want sharper graphics and a smoother frame rate, and will be a natural upgrade for those who are happy to buy a nice 4k television or Morpheus VR headset. It will also attract some ‘on-the-fence’ buyers or buyers who were already planning on picking a PS4 up at some point. As such, we can’t really complain about anything – pretty much everyone is happy, including owners of the original console who aren’t prepared to buy another console mid-generation.
From a business perspective, Sony has probably done the homework on this and have deemed it to be a profitable decision. It makes sense, too, as the PS4 and Xbox One are fairly similar in technical specification, and they still manage to look comparable to modern PC games, although the frame rate takes an obvious hit. Recent games like Ratchet & Clank and the upcoming Uncharted 4 certainly look amazing by any standards. Like PC, which experiences upgrades more frequently than the ‘generational’ ones seen on consoles, it seems Sony is doing something that most gamers probably want. When you look at PS3 or Xbox 360, it’s easy to see that console gamers were probably desperate for some new technology, and hence there should be demand for something like the NEO.
It will be interesting to see how the PS4.5 fares if it does eventually surface. Could this be the beginning of consoles becoming another step closer to the PC gaming ecosystem? Why even have ‘generations’ and not move to something like the iPhone/Android system which is backwards compatible to a point (this is the same principle as PC games, except hardware is predefined so specification requirements are easier to state). What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!