If rumours are to be true, we might be getting a new mid-generation console from Sony named as PlayStation 4K. Yes, 4k resolution is a big deal in gaming, especially for the PC master race. Word has been spreading around the internet that a new PlayStation is being made with Sony R&D labs working with prototypes now, Digital Foundry has confirmed. More than one sources refer it as PlayStation 4K while others simply refer it as PlayStation 4.5. It is very likely that Sony will unveil PlayStation 4K at E3 2016.
The sources say that the console will include a more powerful GPU, running on an upgraded version of AMD’s APU technology found in the current model and can run games at 4K resolution. Note that, the current PS4 model can display pictures and play videos at 4K but can only run games at not more than 1080p. The new APU could also move from a 28nm chip to a 14nm or 16nm one, matching current industry standards.
It seems odd that Sony would release something that might compete with the PlayStation 4, splitting its market, so before we all get excited, it’s likely that the PlayStation 4K is just a PlayStation 4 Slim or a PS4 with updated features and the ability to run games at 60FPS. Not only is the PlayStation 4 still relatively new in its life cycle, but it’s also been a success for Sony. However, it’s not clear if gamers would purchase a second, upgraded console if they’ve already invested in the standard PlayStation 4.
One of the rumours comes from a video uploaded by Roster Teeth’s multimedia channel – The Know. According to a newly published video, their sources confirm that the PlayStation 4.5 will be releasing during this year’s Holiday season for $400. Note that the current PS4 was also priced at $400 at launch. Sony’s console made huge sales due to its higher specs and cheaper than the Microsoft’s console. To date, Sony has not yet commented on the existence or viability of the PlayStation 4K and gamers might not hear anything from the company for some time.
The technical analysis from Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry lists three potential paths for the PlayStation 4.5 AKA PlayStation 4K. The first is a more powerful console with two times the graphical processing power of the CPU that could be priced at $399. The second is a minor processing upgrade with improvements to graphics to new and older games. Support for 4K with Netflix and other media and an improvement beyond 1080p for games (Probably 2K). The third is a “slim” option with 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) compatibility.
Consumers buy consoles because they don’t want to have to worry about upgrading their gaming machines for seven to eight years — the typical game console life cycle — so it’s likely the release of an additional console so early in the game could result in consumer backlash. Sony is aware of that, so whatever it has planned, it better be good.
Microsoft, on the other hand, will be looking to respond. In fact, even before rumours of the PS4.5 began swirling, Xbox’s Chief Phil Spencer teased plans for an upgradeable Xbox One, saying:
“You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible.”
Also during his Xbox Spring Showcase event keynote held on February, Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer talked about future of “hardware innovation” for the console, similar to the ways PCs evolve.
In a speech to reporters, he said that the Xbox One could see a future in which it is upgraded, rather than replaced by new consoles. So it looks like the landscape of console gaming is on the move once again.