It now seems absolutely clear that Sony is working behind the scenes on a new video games console that has been codenamed PlayStation Neo. There is still some debate on whether this is a working title to be abandoned for PlayStation 4.5 or PlayStation 4K at release date, or whether PlayStation Neo could be the ultimate branding of the video games machine.
PlayStation 4.5 coming
Regardless of this, the Japanese corporation seemingly intends to release an improved version of the existing PlayStation 4 by the end of the calendar year. Upgraded components will allow an improved gaming experience, and analysts generally believe that Sony will release this PlayStation 4.5 console in October, with the Japanese corporation naturally targeting the Christmas marketplace.
After initial murmurings on the subject, more solid information has now been released which strongly supports the forthcoming release of the PlayStation 4.5, even if Sony itself has yet to confirm the existence of the device. While Sony will be handling the release of this machine assiduously, it must nonetheless be rather pleased that the industry buzz at the moment is all related to its forthcoming console.
It is still unclear precisely what Sony intends to deliver with the PlayStation 4.5, with initial rationale focusing on the ability of the machine to deliver virtual reality and 4K resolution gaming. But an early leak of rumored specs does indicate that Sony’s new machine may struggle to deliver 4K gaming, although it does at least have the potential to provide this resolution via upscaling.
Similarly, there is no provision for a specific virtual reality peripheral to differ from that delivered with the PlayStation 4. Leaks from close to Sony have already indicated that the corporation will forbid developers from releasing peripherals solely intended for the PlayStation 4.5. This scuppers the notion of a specific PlayStation VR unit, although it is possible that the corporation could deliver an improved experience with the PlayStation virtual reality hardware.
What we do know, or at least strongly suspect, after a recent report from the Gamespot sister site Giant Bomb, is that the PlayStation 4.5 is under development, and that it has indeed been codenamed Neo. Sources speaking to the prestigious gaming website have suggested that the PlayStation 4.5 will be based around an upgraded architecture, with improved specifications for CPU, GPU and RAM.
While the gulf between these and the PlayStation 4 is perhaps not as large as anticipated, the fact remains that the PlayStation 4.5 will be significantly more powerful than the existing console. Already there is talk of the PlayStation 4.5 delivering titles with increased frame rate over the PlayStation 4, and it does seem likely that the console will be able to deliver games in superior resolution to the 1080p standard of the PS4.
Whether developers will quite be able to push this machine to native 4K resolution is debatable, but Sony has already reportedly devised advice for game manufacturers indicating how to get the best out of the new machine and indeed deliver 4K resolution.
Sony has a bit of a delicate balancing act to carry out with the PlayStation 4.5, with the Japanese corporation needing to ensure that it does not alienate its existing PlayStation 4 audience, while at the same time delivering an upgraded experience with the PlayStation 4.5 that makes users want to upgrade to the new console.
With this in mind, early reports indicate that the Japanese corporation has indeed given a significant amount of thought to creating what is essentially a standardized platform, ensuring that PlayStation 4 owners will be neither excluded nor alienated from the PlayStation family. Thus, all new titles will be required to run on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4.5, and it seems clear that online gamers from both consoles will be able to compete with one another.
With the E3 trade show ahead in June, eager fans of Sony will be hoping that the corporation presents gamers with the first glimpse of the PlayStation 4.5 console in June. There will certainly be a huge amount of buzz ahead of the event in Los Angeles, and it would be something of a knockout blow if Sony was indeed able to deliver the PlayStation 4.5 at this date.
The Wall Street Journal has already reported that the console will be announced ahead of the release of the PlayStation VR, with both machines essentially intended to collaborate with one another. It is also believed by analysts that Sony will reveal a new slimline appearance for the PlayStation series when the PlayStation 4.5 is released, with the casing of the device being somewhat smaller and lighter than the existing console.
Although the capabilities of the PlayStation 4.5 are still very much in the air, Eurogamer has suggested that the Sony console will take advantage of new innovations and improvements in chip architecture. This will enable the internal central processing unit to perform more efficiently, perhaps allowing developers to squeeze more juice out of the system than is the case with the PlayStation 4.
Eurogamer particularly links the 7970’s Tahiti processor with the PlayStation 4.5, suggesting that this unit could deliver a 60 percent increase in computing power. Overclocking, faster RAM and possibly more memory is also suggested by the publication, although not all of these mused features are included in the report by Giant Bomb.
Undoubtedly the price of the unit will be a major consideration for Sony, as it attempts to keep costs down while also releasing a powerful machine at an attractive price point. Quite a bit for Sony to balance there, but the general belief is that the PlayStation 4.5 may retail at around $399. Sony may offer consumers different hard drive quotients when the device releases, meaning that the under $400 model will be the base version of the console.
The very existence of The PlayStation 4.5 poses questions, not least how Microsoft will respond. It will also be intriguing to see what Sony has in mind for the PlayStation 5, and when we will see the next generation console. But the first sighting of the new Sony machine maybe only two months away.