As 2016 started, one of the biggest rumors to hit circulation is that both Microsoft and Sony are working on iterative versions of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively. While Microsoft’s info has mainly been hypothetical with whatever development there may be on the downlow, Sony’s been more of a leaky boat.
Rumors of a PS4 that outputs at 4K have been around for several weeks now, but I still had my grain of salt on hand. Now, it’s practically confirmed minus an official reveal by Sony.
Broken by Giant Bomb, multiple outlets have now confirmed that the new device (codenamed NEO) is very much real. Development kits prototypes are on their way to select studios now, with more final versions coming later in the year. As for when the console itself is coming, that’s unclear. The only pinpoint is that, starting in October, all PS4 games will be required to ship with a Base Mode and a NEO Mode for use on the new hardware.
From the projected specifications, NEO looks to be a current-gen iteration similar to the New 3DS. The CPU, GPU and RAM will see boosts in performance and speed, but will retain similar hardware design.
This performance boost will help to support Sony’s initiative for 4K gaming. While games won’t run natively at 4K, NEO should make it pretty easy to upscale and the extra power will improve performance for games that take advantage of it. I’m uncertain if current titles will see a performance boost, but with better versions of the same hardware in play it very well may.
Another interesting tidbit is Sony’s desire to not fracture the installed user base. This means that NEO and the PS4 will have to be able to play the same games, as well as use the same PSN and other online services. This means that there won’t be any NEO-exclusive games (at least for the time being) and NEO players shouldn’t have any advantage over non-NEO players in anything besides hardware performance and output resolution.
Unfortunately, this is the bane of iterative consoles. It can’t be too powerful because it would fracture that player base and make it even more difficult for developers to utilize. Most of all, consoles loose one of their main perks; a stable box that you know will play your games and developers won’t have to keep up and adjust to ever-changing equipment (a disadvantage of PC development).
NEO’s main appeal appears to be 4K gaming. If it’s only upscaled from 1080p, however, what difference would that serve over getting a 4K display that has built-in upscaling? The improved performance and the potential price of $399 may make it worth it, but I’ll be waiting to see more.
Fortunately, E3 2016 is less than two months away. With the NX reveal and potentially the Xbox One.5 coming to E3, it’ll make for an interesting year for sure.
Source: Giant Bomb