Here we are again to discuss PlayStation 4.5, now seemingly dubbed “Neo“, and see if it possible for Sony to put on the market a brand new PlayStation 4 model which would not get completely out of this generation’s hardware but would represent an improvement in graphics and performance. The latest rumors say developers wouldn’t be happy about the potential split that a PS4.5 could represent in both the community and internal resources management. Making two versions of the same game could harm their chances to make that game profitable, this is what devs think according to this rumor, since it would require “extra cost and other nonsense”.
This looks pretty stupid in my opinion. While the idea of a PlayStation 4.5 could be debatable, developers, if the rumors are to be believed, would be arguing for all the wrong reasons. I mean, I understand that making two different versions of the same title would make things more complicated for them and could even result in them not building games for the standard PS4 in the end, but why couldn’t this work just like it does on PC?
PC gaming is based on one single concept and idea since it was born back in the days. Every game could be played, mostly, on every machine. This happens thank to the scalability of those games, allowing me, equipped with a low budget PC, to run them accordingly to my specs. I don’t know if we’re going along that road with console gaming and, although I admit this is an epocal change in philosophy, I don’t see what’s the problem there.
At this point no one can’t tell if Sony wants to completely shake the world of game development up, by setting a new way to offer games themselves (introducing the concept of scalability on consoles as well), or just wants to launch a slightly new model of PS4 taking advantage of the power of its brand and the huge size of its current userbase.
Of course, the easiest way to make PlayStation 4.5 a success is the latter, but once again we’ll have to wait and see if Sony wants gaming on console to change and lead that change, or just take advantage of the road that world is naturally going towards. It is the same question we were discussing about when Sony still had to publicly communicate the PlayStation VR price.
Launching PlayStation VR at a high price would make sense for Sony in order to make more money out of that hardware/peripheral. Launching it at a low or at least affordable price, instead, was going to be a move to allow virtual reality to become a new standard for gaming. In that case, Sony made the right move for the future of virtual reality, now it will “just” be a matter of software support and quality of experiences offered.
With that in mind, it is likely Sony would face it by offering low/medium settings with the current PlayStation 4 hardware, while going up to high/very high with PlayStation 4.5 – we’re talking, obviously, about PC-like settings. I would exclude the new PS4 could be 4K compatible since, according to the specs we’ve read about thanks to the latest rumors, wouldn’t make it.
So, technically, it would be a console making 1080p games look more brilliant in comparison to what they are today, not much more. PS4.5 is in fact said to be looking to full HD as the minimum requirement for developers to launch their titles, so a slightly higher resolution could even be possible (2K?) but 4K seems to be too out of reach for the rumored hardware.
More polished games, offered at a higher resolution, then. But what if launching a new PlayStation 4 could mean Sony and developers being able to present games with two different frame rates, as well? We have already seen titles equipped with a slider that can unlock or lock the frame rate (the latest one is IO Interactive’s Hitman), so that doesn’t look too hard for devs to work on.
It is something many players ask. And, overall, PlayStation 4.5 seems to be the reply to an increasingly higher demand from players for better looking games and a true difference coming from PlayStation 4 after the PS3 era. Is this the right reply, anyway?
I can’t tell that. At this point, it seems like Sony is looking to satisfy its and PS4’s huge userbase, bringing a more powerful hardware on the market to 1. make the base hardware (the standard PlayStation 4) even more profitable; 2. give an opportunity to Sony and Sony’s partners 4K Tvs to finally become meaningful or kind of. So it’d be a win-win. We’ll see if Microsoft thinks it the same way.
A trusted source tells me most developers are not happy with PS4.5, and having to develop around it. Extra cost, planning, other nonsense.
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) April 19, 2016