As rumors of the forthcoming PlayStation 4.5 solidify, anticipation of this new console is intensifying. What began as an unlikely whisper now seems to be almost a matter of fact, and the latest murmurings on the subject even provide us with some projected specs for this massive hardware release.
It was only reported for the first time last month that the PlayStation 4.5 is on the horizon, but now the GameSpot’s sister site Giant Bomb reports that the “PS4.5” is codenamed “Neo”, and provides insight into the architecture of this souped-up console.
Giant Bomb has heard via the rumor mill that the next generation Neo will be armed with a significantly increased clock speed, improved GPU and faster memory as well. This all adds up to make a considerably more powerful package, and one that will enable the PlayStation 4.5 to deliver an improved gaming experience.
The video gaming site also suggest that the hard drive included in the machine will be the same as the existing PlayStation 4, although there are no comments regarding the capacity of this unit. If the PlayStation 4.5 is indeed to offer gaming in an increased resolution – and this would seem to be a logical motivation for the unit – it would seem to be essential for Sony to ensure that more hard drive space is provided.
Giant Bomb also reports that PlayStation 4 games will be required to ship with two different modes included, one compatible with the existing PlayStation 4 hardware, and another providing an enhanced experience with the upgraded console. The new Neo console will utilize the superior system architecture in order to increase and stabilize frame rate performance, and higher resolutions will also be offered.
And it is exciting to note that 4K output will be fully supported, although there will be no requirement from Sony to run PlayStation 4.5 software at this enhanced resolution. Nonetheless, the hardware will be capable of upscaling games to fit 4K, and there is at least the hope that the PlayStation 4.5 will be able to deliver some form of native 4K gaming.
Indeed, in documentation received by GameSpot, Sony has offered a variety of suggestions for ensuring that developers can reach the 4K and ultra HD resolutions that the Japanese corporation would love them to deliver in ‘Neo mode’ game builds. But there is also some freedom available to software houses, with 4K TV owners able to benefit from the ability of the console to upscale games to fit the format.
However, reports also suggest that Sony will require games in the so-called Neo mode to run at a higher frame rate than would usually be the case with the original PlayStation 4. Essentially, Sony is ensuring that software released on this system will be superior to the existing PlayStation 4 model, and it will be up to individual developers to get the most out of the machine possible.
No separate VR
Another rumor suggests that the PlayStation 4.5 will not offer exclusive virtual reality modes as had been suggested as likely in some quarters. This indicates that the virtual reality experience on the PlayStation 4.5 and PlayStation 4 will be rather similar, although the new Neo codenamed console may be capable of delivering VR in enhanced resolution.
Despite the release of this console, Sony apparently also intends for the PlayStation 4.5 to be very much a companion to the existing PlayStation 4 rather than a replacement. It seems that there will be no Neo-only games, and that Sony will ensure that developers cannot separate users of the new console from those playing on the existing PlayStation 4.
This will mean that it is not permitted for software houses to offer exclusive options such as unlockable material for players of the new Neo console. Apparently this will be extended to the support of peripherals, which is where the conclusions about virtual reality came from in the first place.
It is also reported that all games shipping after October this year will be required to support the new Neo standard, but that the PlayStation 4.5 itself may not actually release until later that month. So this means that some Neo-compatible software could be on the market before the console itself arrives.
Updated software imminent?
Sony will also make it possible for developers to support the PlayStation 4.5 retroactively, by patching existing titles in order to take advantage of the upgrades that the Neo delivers. The gaming media is still awaiting comments from Sony, but it now seems a certainty that this console will emerge before the end of the calendar year.
It will thus be interesting to see whether developers are willing to update existing titles for the new hardware. Arguably there is not a huge amount of incentive to do this from a commercial perspective, but perhaps innovative software houses can find a way to profit from providing 4K versions of existing classics. And there is no doubt that people would love to see Ultra HD versions of games such as The Last of Us, Fallout and Grand Theft Auto.
PlayStation 4.5 Specs
Some of the specs for the PlayStation 4.5 have now been made available as well, and it is clear that it is a significant, if not mind-blowing, improvement over the original PlayStation 4 console. Firstly, the central processing unit will be clocked at 2.1 GHz, which is a 30 percent improvement over the original PlayStation 4. The GPU is massively improved, with double the number of Compute Units included in the device, with the 911 MHz clock speed also significantly faster than the original PlayStation 4.
Memory will also be upgraded, although not the 8GB quantity of memory that was present in the original PlayStation 4. Instead, the speed of the memory has been upgraded to 218GB/s compared to 176GB/s in the PS4.
What isn’t made clear is whether the branding Neo is just a codename to be abandoned for the PlayStation 4.5 at a later date, or whether this will indeed be the ultimate title of the gaming machine. Regardless of this, it does look like PlayStation gamers will be able to get their hands on the PlayStation 4.5 / Neo in 2016.