Back in March, the first rumors started to appear that there was a new PS4 in the works. Yesterday, Giant Bomb’s crack reporter, Austin Walker, lent even more credence to the rumors. A whole lot of credence, in fact. So much credence that it’s basically a clearwater revival. It seems pretty likely that this “NEO,” as it is called, will probably be unveiled at E3 this year.
It seems as though Sony is going through great lengths to ensure that there is as little separation between the classic PS4 and the NEO as possible. There will be no NEO exclusives, nor will there be special unlockables for customers who own a NEO. Both consoles will connect to the same PSN store and will maintain the same user environment. To the network, everyone will be using the same PS4. Certain users will just be using a slightly better one.
Any game that comes out this October will be required to be NEO-ready, and September games will be required to have a day one patch to bring them up to NEO standards. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that the NEO is launching in October, since games will have the option to be NEO-ready prior to the console’s launch, but it seems like a pretty likely scenario that the NEO will release sometime later this year or early 2017.
The PS4k rumors weren’t far off, either. The NEO will evidently support 4k resolutions, but games will not be required to support them natively, and in most cases they’ll be upscaled from 1080p to 4k.
And for anyone worried that the NEO might be replacing the PS4, it isn’t. The two consoles will exist in unison. Walker’s sources didn’t give him a price point, but previous reports put the console at $399.
As for the specification specifics. The CPU is having its speed bumped up from 1.6 GHz to 2.1. The GPU is seeing a bigger upgrade, doubling its 18 CUs to 36, and upping the clockspeed from 800 MHz to 911. RAM, too, is seeing a slight increase, from 176 GB/s to 218.
The upgrades are definitely noteworthy, but I don’t know if they’re noteworthy enough to see games on the PS4 that currently run at 30fps to run at 60 instead. While the NEO’s video card is definitely a lot better, I don’t think the upgrades are big enough to pull off a jump that high, so I suspect NEO games will mostly run at the same framerate as their PS4 counterparts. They’ll just take advantage of the increased resolution and maybe have a few graphical options increased.
If anything, the NEO seems to be there to ease the transition to Playstation VR, even though that won’t be exclusive to NEO, either. But if playing VR games on the classic PS4 makes you nauseated, what’s another $400, right? I’m growing increasingly doubtful that the the new PS4 will be a big enough step up from the classic console to justify the cost, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the games take advantage of the new specs.
Now we just need to know more about Microsoft’s plans for an upgraded Xbox One, as well. Seems like both console manufacturers are jumping aboard this band wagon. On the other side of the fence, PC gamers are supposed to be getting swanky new video cards from both AMD and nVidia this year, too.
Everybody’s getting a new piece of hardware this year, it seems.