Sources: PS4 Neo Shipping In Two Models, Slightly Less Powerful Than Xbox Scorpio, Patent and Price Info
Sony and Microsoft have been rumored to be working on hardware revisions for their current generation consoles for a while, and the latter has indeed confirmed all of the leaks and insider reports during its E3 2016 media briefing by announcing Project Scorpio and a so-called Xbox One S (a slim model) shipping already in August. While we all knew, somehow, Microsoft was working on such moves for a couple months now, it is to be believed Project Scorpio's announcement was a bit of a surprise for everyone, including Sony. The Japanese platform holder didn't reach E3 with its rumored PlayStation Neo hardware upgrade, although officially admitting, a week before the Los Angeles event started, it is indeed working on such console.
Looking at what Sony said so far, PlayStation Neo is representing a step forward in comparison with PlayStation 4, a platform for "hardcore gamers," it was defined by SIE CEO Andrew House, a machine which is granting superior graphics quality and performance to everyone who really care about frame rate and graphics.
Our opinion is this means Sony is working on a similar presentation to Microsoft, meaning that there will be, at some point after PlayStation VR launches, a talk about the "PlayStation 4 family" which is possibly expanding with a new high end, and more expensive, console.
We were lucky enough to have a chat with an anonymous source familiar with the matter and he confirmed this idea, stating the PlayStation Neo is even shipping in two different fashions as some sort of last minute decision to better face, at least numerically, both Xbox One S and Project Scorpio next year. Our source didn't go into specific details when talking about the first model specs, which should ship at a $499 price tag, but provided a series of interesting details about the most powerful PlayStation Neo version.
Sony itself thinks this price is too high and is indeed trying to understand if it can do something in order to get it lower for the first, and less powerful, model. This could ship only with an enhanced CPU rather than coming along with both a new CPU and GPU, for the purpose of making the platform less expensive as the company recognizes the price factor is the among the most important things that allowed PS4 to be so successful.
The most powerful model should release with a whopping
$599 ($499 now, read the UPDATE section below, more information from insider on PRICE) launch next year (the same price was tipped for Scorpio as well) and would support two GPUs for a 5.5 teraflops output, about 0.5 teraflops less when compared to Project Scorpio, and the same amount of RAM, so they're both really "similar" in terms of performances.
Talking about the GPU, it seems Sony has worked on something special to make those two graphics processors together with a good amount of stuff to be discovered about them. The Japanese platform holder has trademarked a solution allowing to have "dynamic context switching between architecturally distinct graphics processors", meaning what follows. Graphics input is basically produced in an architecture-neutral format; that format is, at a later stage, translated into a format which is specific to one GPU or another.
We don't know yet how much impact such a decision will have on graphics output once PlayStation Neo ships, but that means one thing to start with: the 5.5 teraflops count is pretty meaningless as of now since this solution could make it for a faster process when elaborating a game's graphics. So more power doesn't necessarily mean better in-game graphics. Also, working on two different types of GPU could also allow Sony to work with lower specs graphics cards on a supposed PS Neo entry level and reduce its price.
Sony is said to be still working on final specs and both the price, and the power of this console, could be changed and improved to have a major impact on Microsoft's chances to own the crown as the most powerful machine on the market.
This makes even more sense when thinking about Sony's decision not to introduce PlayStation Neo at E3 2016, with the final part of the press conference the one where a live demo of Days Gone was played for the second time clearly covered up with a last minute demonstration probably filling a whole left by something else. Rumors around the net have been pointed to a Red Dead Redemption 2 announcement that was later scrapped up, but we don't believe this much and think instead the idea, if any, was to release first info about PlayStation Neo.
An idea that was abandoned as soon as House and other execs had tips about Microsoft's incoming Project Scorpio presentation and started thinking they needed to get back to the drawing board in order to figure out a new strategy.
Neogaf user OsirisBlack has shared new details about PlayStation Neo. Osiris confirms Two PS4 Neo variant in work at Sony, but new update is shared on Price Tag. According to Osiris (the original leaker of PS4 Neo), the price of PS4 Neo is not going to be more than $499. Read our entire coverage of new report from Osiris: Massive PS4 Neo Leak: GPU 2X Powerful With High Clock Speed, 5.5TF, Price $499, Dev Kits Already Out