By now, I am assuming that anyone reading this has heard the rumors about Sony’s new-ish console. The previously dubbed “PS4.5” or “PS4K” is now reportedly code named “Neo” according to sources in the industry. So let’s talk about what’s out there, and discuss if this makes sense or not.
Here are the details I found while researching. The PS Neo will house an improved CPU, GPU, and better memory. Starting in October, all PS4 games will require a base mode and Neo mode catered to the upgraded hardware. Neo mode will allow for a more stable frame rate, higher visual fidelity when outputting in 1080p, and allow for 4K output with compatible TVs. Games will not be required to be 4K native. Sony has demanded that games in Neo mode meet or exceed the frame rate of the base mode counterpart, but devs have more freedom in how to achieve 4K output. Sony, however, has given suggestions on how to achieve 4K resolution to those working with the hardware.
Despite the differences in hardware, both PS4 versions will exist in one ecosystem. They will share the same PS store and online environment, and user experiences will be the same. All PS4 purchases will also carry over. There will be no Neo only titles, and players will not be separated based on which console they own. There are also no Neo-only perks allowed in games, such as unlockables or modes. The Neo can run an IMPROVED version of whatever is found in the base game. Giant Bomb gave an example of a 4 player co-op game having 8 player co-op in Neo mode.
PS4 games launched in September will have a day one patch adding Neo mode, and devs are allowed to launch Neo enabled games before the console actually arrives. That date is in the dark for now, as Sony hasn’t even officially confirmed it exists. Older games can be patched to include a Neo mode if the devs choose to, and I’m sure some will be due to fan support and such.
So assuming this is all fact (which it probably is), what now? Many of us are used to upgrading phones yearly, and upgrading computers or tablets every couple of years. But consoles? This is a brand new business model, and I would be lying if I said I knew how it would be received. One may want to look to the new Nintendo 3DS for the closest comparison, although it’s not a perfect one. The new 3DS has some games that aren’t compatible with the old version. I know the idea of upgrading will especially irk those who just purchased a PS4. The timing also sucks for anyone who was considering purchasing the Uncharted 4 Limited Edition bundle (like myself). However, this is not a necessary purchase, so it must be judged as such. It seems to be an optional purchase for videophiles more than anything. If you own or plan to own a 4kTV, and currently own a PS4, I can see the appeal in upgrading. I’m not so sure if it will be worth it otherwise. I don’t expect a sizable jump in graphics or performance that would warrant another 400 dollar investment. I’m hoping Sony will introduce some sort of upgrade program for current owners who want to move up. That would go a long way towards making fans feel better I think. So enough rambling from me. What do YOU think? Let us know in the comments, or hit us on Twitter and Facebook. Happy gaming!