The last several weeks have seen endless alleged leaks of what is supposed to be an upgraded PS4, referred to as PS4K or PS4.5. Even more news has come by way of Giant Bomb editor Austin Walker. Walker states they have received, via multiple sources, documents confirming previous rumors, with added details. The system is internally codenamed NEO and has no price revealed as of yet, though speculation points to the price tag being $399.
Per Walker’s report, “the NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the original PS4, an improved GPU, and higher bandwidth on the memory.” The documents also indicate the NEO’s HDD will be the same as the original PS4, but it’s unclear if that is in regards to capacity or connection speed. Additionally of note is that beginning in October, every PS4 game released will be required to ship with a “Base Mode” for the current iteration and a “NEO Mode” for the upgraded console.
“Games running in NEO mode will be able to use the hardware upgrades (and an additional 512 MiB in the memory budget) to offer increased and more stable frame rate and higher visual fidelity, at least when those games run at 1080p on HDTVs. The NEO will also support 4K image output, but games themselves are not required to be 4K native.”
Reaching 4K resolutions will be guided by the help of Sony, though the publisher does not plan on forcing the hands of developers. Teams will be able to approach the situation as they see fit, but Sony will not let lower frame rates slip by. Frame rates on NEO must meet or exceed that of the original PS4 (from here on Base PS4).
The NEO is not meant to replace the Base PS4, the two will co-exist together with the same connectivity on PSN, user profiles, online communities, etc across the board. Don’t fret, your purchases and trophies will carry over. Stop sweating.
The connectivity between the two consoles will also extend to the games themselves. NEO games will not get special treatment with exclusive modes, bonuses, or DLC. The key difference will lie only in graphic fidelity. If the game has a feature, it may be that the NEO can run it better. For instance, Walker offers the following example: If a Base PS4 title includes four player co-op, then its upgraded counterpart may be able to enhance the same experience to eight player co-op.
Parity will also extend to peripherals. Therefore, NEO games will not have exclusive VR features. Though it should be noted that in the documents received by Giant Bomb, Sony does not mention its upcoming PSVR headset at all.
There’s no word on when this still unconfirmed console upgrade will launch, but games are supposedly going to begin launching with NEO mode this October. Walker notes this does not mean the console will hit this fall or even this year. Additionally, Sony won’t be requiring or encouraging developers to patch older titles with a NEO mode, those decisions will be left to developers/publishers.
The story is constantly developing and who knows when Sony will finally speak out. Perhaps at this year’s E3? We’ll have to wait to see.