Rumors have been swirling and talk is heating up: what is Sony’s “Neo” or “PS4K”, and when will they announce the PlayStation 4K release date?
UPDATED: June 20, 2016
Several sources of indicated to Eurogamer that PlayStation 4.5 will indeed launch in 2016.
Several sources have indicated to me that PlayStation Neo launches this year, despite its E3 no-show. If that is the case, it’ll be interesting to see how developers utilise its resources, and whether 4K really is the focus. And we can be equally as sure that Microsoft will be watching just as intently as it gears up for its own next-gen roll-out.
UPDATED: June 11, 2016
Sony has confirmed the existence of PlayStation 4.5.
“It is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4,” he said. “We will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle. We want to ensure we have a full range of the best experiences on the new system that we can showcase in their entirety. All games will support the standard PS4 and we anticipate all or a very large majority of games will also support the high-end PS4.”
- Andrew House, President and Global Chief Executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment
- PlayStation 4K is expected to launch just ahead of PlayStation VR in October (via WSJ), opening the door to multiple bundles and packages leading into the busy Christmas period.
- The base PlayStation 4 500GB model in Australia retails for $449. Reports have pinned the PS4K Neo at US$399. A direct conversion would put the console at around A$517, which seems low. A more believable price point would be in the $650-$700 range. That is of course based on whether it’ll be a 500GB or 1TB HDD. The latter you would expect would attract a higher RRP.
- GameStop executive believes (via Gamespot) both the PlayStation 4K and Nintendo’s new console, codenamed NX, have “imminent” release dates, which would suggest a pre-Christmas launch.
Sony is no stranger to being first-place in the console wars, having already been there after the success of the first PlayStation, PlayStation 2, the PlayStation 3 later in its life cycle, and now with the PlayStation 4, which by all reports is dominating the competition. Why then would the company be looking at releasing a new console, even if it is just a redesign, a mere two-and-a-bit years into the PS4’s life? Rumours have been swirling about a new console design, dubbed “PlayStation 4K” and “PlayStation 4.5” by industry insiders and gamers, and talk is heating up about the new console now reported to be codenamed “Neo” within Sony.
There are a variety of different reports coming from multiple different sources about the so-called PlayStation 4K or Neo (let’s call it Neo from now on because it’s cooler). Here’s what we’ve heard.
- The console won’t be a completely “new” console in that it’s the PS4’s successor.
- It will be more “powerful” than the current “base” model PS4.
- New games must ship with both a “base” mode option and a “Neo” option, which reportedly displays the games at a higher resolution, higher framerate, and with a higher player count for online connectivity.
Giant Bomb has a fresh report stating the NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the current PS4 model, although it will ship with the same-size HDD.
Original PS4 – 8 Jaguar Cores at 1.6 GHz
NEO – 8 Jaguar Cores at 2.1 GHz
Original PS4 – AMD GCN, 18 CUs at 800 MHz
NEO – Improved AMD GCN, 36 CUs at 911 MHz
Original PS4 – 8 GB GDDR5, 176 GB/s
NEO – 8 GB GDDR5, 218 GB/s0
What these specs essentially mean is that games made specifically for the Neo model will be able to run with a more stable frame rate and with higher visual fidelity. Games aren’t required to output in 4K resolution, but it is available to developers.
The Giant Bomb report states that Sony is flexible with developers on whether or not they offer 4K resolution, but that the company is completely uncompromising on framerate: any games for Neo must meet or exceed the framerate the game reaches in base mode.
The Neo will more or less be the same console as the PS4 from a UI and feature perspective, with the only difference being resolution and framerate output. The report says there will be no Neo-exclusive games, meaning anyone with a base-model PS4 will be able to play games released in a PS4 Neo era.
Further to this, developers will not be able to offer Neo-exclusive features in their game, or break up the community between game version, meaning PlayStation Network players will be able to play with each other irrespective of whether they’re playing a base or Neo version of the game. The interesting thing here is that base mode games may only be able to host a four-player cooperative match, for example, whereas a Neo-mode might be able to host eight players.
PlayStation 4K Release Date And Games
The report claims that games made in the October release window will need to come with a Neo mode. Games in the September release window will need to be patched, but games released prior to that will be at the discretion of the developer.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be released in October. Sony might want to give developers more time in the transition and upgrade to 4K. That said, releasing a new/upgraded console ahead of the Christmas period, and offering “enhanced” versions of the likes of Uncharted 4, Call of Duty and No Man’s Sky makes the PlayStation 4 a far more appealing console than it already is.
We’ll update this article as we find out more.