Microsoft isn’t the only one with designs on a more powerful console before a next-generation Xbox. It seems that Sony is working on a new variant of the PS4 before the PS5.
The news comes from developers speaking to gaming blog Kotaku. Apparently it will sport a more powerful GPU to support 4K resolution for games. There will be a faster processor as well. This would possibly make the experience of games running on PlayStation VR a whole lot better. It’s being nicknamed as ‘PS4.5’ by those in the know. There’s no clarity if existing PS4 owners would be able to avail of any upgrades much like how Sega launched its ill-fated 32X add-on for the Sega Mega Drive or if they would need to buy a brand new console altogether to take advantage of this.
Right now, the PS4 can display photos and videos at 4K but not games (which are currently restricted to 1080p). A more powerful variant would allow developers to create better looking games and give Sony the chance to stand toe to toe with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive which have been built with more powerful PC hardware in mind. Sony declined to comment to these claims.
Don’t throw away your brand new PS4 just yet though, according to Kotaku’s sources Sony hasn’t exactly briefed every game developer and details have been sketchy. One of them even felt that the device might not even make it this year. The murmurs though, have been heard during the Game Developers Conference 2016 with some developers casually mentioning its existence.
For now, there are a lot of unknowns. Depending on how Sony decides to execute this move, if at all, could potentially fragment its massive install base much like Nintendo did when it announced the New Nintendo 3DS, which saw some games forsaking support for the older handheld. It could also mean that unlike the PS3 which was touted to have a 10-year life-cycle and the PS2 which was just as long if not more, we might see the PS4 being around for a shorter duration.
In the past Kotaku has been accurate with what to expect from the games industry, and while most would prefer a shorter generation of consoles over stopgap upgrades, this is indicative of the changing state of gaming and how poorly thought out the PS4 and Xbox One are from a hardware standpoint. Though Sony is considering its options, it will be interesting to see how it implements them.