Recently, gaming outlet Kotaku revealed that their developer sources told them Sony is working on an enhanced version of the PS4 known as the PS4.5 (no word if this is an official title or not). This upgraded PS4 is supposed to have 4K support and more powerful hardware.
Kotaku seems to think these sources are legitimate and that Sony is actually working on this project. Assuming it’s true, do these PS4.5 rumors suggest that Sony is stalling for time in the face of rapidly advancing technology? Does this news delay or hasten the arrival of the PS5? Let’s discuss!
What is the PlayStation 4.5?
At face-value, the PS4.5 is supposed to be an enhanced PS4 console with a more powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) that would allow it to play games in 4K resolution and offer more power for PlayStation VR and games in general. Think of it like the “New” 3DS Nintendo did that was more powerful.
Of course, in the case of the 3DS, there were games that could only be played on the new system and even multiplatform games suffered on the old hardware. On the one hand, a system like PS4.5 could give Sony the edge they need to stay relevant into the future while they no doubt plan PS5, but introducing another console this early into the cycle that’s more powerful will also fracture the market.
Two separate sources have confirmed the existence of such a machine, while several other writers on the Kotaku staff also confirmed with their sources. Odds are looking pretty good that Sony is considering this or downright working on it.
The question that come to light are whether it will be an upgrade you can install into your current PS4, or an entirely new console. As it stands, the sources suggest that Sony is still exploring the idea and hasn’t committed to anything.
Even so, critics have said that the PS4’s hardware doesn’t have legs for an entire generation, let alone support for virtual reality. This may be Sony’s only chance at staying relevant until the time is right for release PS5.
What do Gamers Think?
These rumors have caught fire around the web with multiple PS4 outlets reporting on the suspected console upgrade. I went to Facebook to take a look at some of the reactions from gamers. Let’s see what they had to say before I offer my opinion:
No, I would be annoyed, we accept a new console I.e ps5 in another 5 years or so is inevitable, but a ps4.5 is an insult to all those who went out and bought the ps4 which as yet has failed to live up to all the hype, Sony are only doing this to make more money and copying Microsoft with their xboxone variations they have announced.
- Sean Homar
It's a good idea only if they release a cheap upgrade that can be installed in our own consoles. Otherwise, users - including myself- will be very disappointed.
- Rafal Stepien
Love it, hope it's true. A beefed up ps4 capable of running games in 4K, all the power of a decent PC with the convenience of a console. Count me in.
- Dean Williams
I believe the PS4 definitely needs more graphical power. Some games have a big frame rate drop in them while playing. At this moment I am not interested in the 4K capabilities but definitely it definitely needs to up the graphics power.
- Michael McAtee
If you can't make a system right the first time, you should offer free upgrades to people who have already paid for it, rather than making us all buy the console again. This is getting as bad as half complete games that you have to keep paying for, just to have a complete game.
- Eric Hoffman
I will wait for the PS5, may get VR for my PS4, but will try a demo first as not sure I will benefit with being a spectacle wearer. The 4.5 I would say is pointless, the PS4 doesn't need an interim it's money to pay for the development of the PS5.
- Darren Davey
As you can see, there are a lot of different opinions. Some people welcome the idea, while others are furious that the rumors even exist. If Sony offered a cheap upgrade, I could see this working, but otherwise I think they will end up shattering the market like glass and losing a lot of customers.
I’m with Darren who will wait for the PS5. I don’t think 4K is really available enough right now (or different enough from 1080p) to justify making a new PS4 over it. There’s not a ton of demand for 4K among gamers right now. That’s why it makes more sense for Sony to do the PS5 in several years and let the PS4 live its life.
Playing devil’s advocate here, I could see the PS4.5 being needed if the PS4 can’t handle the graphical horsepower needed to run VR. Sony is known for doing slim model systems, but these weren’t typically all that different from the base console.
If the PS4.5 were to come out, it would be the equivalent of Sony admitting that they didn’t properly plan out the PS4 or PSVR. They would pitch it as an upgrade, but in reality they would admitting defeat and trying again.
Of course, they wouldn’t be the only ones.
Upgradeable Consoles: Is this the Future?
We don’t have any official confirmation on the PS5, so right now it could take many different forms. That being said, this news of PS4.5 and Microsoft’s recent talks of consoles that can be upgraded mid-cycle are painting a picture where you may start treating your console more like a PC.
At a press briefing, Xbox boss Phil Spencer talked about the concept of consoles that can be tweaked and expanded upon. “Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, strong. And then you wait for the next big step function.”
This is how Phil Spencer described things as they are now, and he’s absolutely right. He described a pretty awesome future for consoles as well:
“We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me. Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before.”
Spencer wouldn’t go into more detail, but the idea is a powerful one. What if the PS4.5 is the first in a line of consoles that can be upgraded. Maybe that 4.5 will become a 5 through a system of upgrades that you can purchase at your leisure and install with ease?
It’s certainly an interesting thought. What do you think? Should Sony upgrade the PS4 or just wait until PS5? Should we accept a future where consoles are upgraded throughout the cycle? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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