UPDATE 2: In the Giant Bombcast (via VideoGamer), the staff reveals games running on the new upgraded ‘NEO’ console may be required to hit 1080p resolution, according to the documentation they saw. Additionally, other enhancements of the PS4K will include improved Remote Play streaming resolution and the ability to record game footage at 1080p/60fps.
UPDATE 1: Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry is also reporting the PS4K / PS4.5 NEO console is real and that the details from the Giant Bomb’s sources are correct with their findings. As for the release date, it believes a March 2017 launch may be more likely, though a holiday 2016 release is still possible.
Digital Foundry did add news about Sony’s plans for distributing the PS4K / PS4.5 development kits. "A second-gen test kit, again not based on the actual retail shell, goes out in June," it wrote. "Sony gives more intensive Neo briefings at its DevCon event in in May, while code submission for Neo-compatible titles begins in August."
Lastly, Digital Foundry provided a technical analysis of the NEO specs and is worth reading (or watching the video version) to understand how much of a boost the new hardware can provide.
ORIGINAL STORY: In the past weeks, an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4, nicknamed the PS4.5 or PS4K, has been rumored to be in the works. Today, multiple sources and reportedly official documentation have confirmed to Giant Bomb new details and specs of the new PS4.
Internally at Sony, the PS4K goes by the codename NEO and will contain an improved processor (CPU) and graphics processor (GPU), along with higher bandwidth RAM. The hard drive is stated to be the “same” as the PS4’s, but it’s unclear whether that refers to the read speed or the gigabyte size.
Starting this upcoming October, PS4 games will be required to have a “Base Mode” for the current PS4 and a “NEO Mode” for the PS4K. However, it’s unknown if this necessarily means the new PS4K console is launching in October.
Games will be allowed to use NEO’s extra horsepower, including an extra available 512 MiB of the 8GB RAM, for more stable frame rates and improved visual fidelity. 4K resolution output or 4K upscaling is supported but won’t be mandatory from developers. The NEO mode of games, whether they output in 1080p or 4K, must meet or exceed the frame rate achieved on the regular PS4.
There will be no games exclusive to the new PS4K / PS4.5 console. Any title playable on the NEO will be playable on the regular PS4. According to sources, Sony appears adamant on preventing fragmentation of the PS4 player base. NEO owners will not see any exclusive gameplay elements, such as a NEO-only VR mode, but improved versions of a features are allowed. A theoretical example: since Rocket League features 4-player splitscreen, the NEO Mode could support say 6 players on the same screen. Additionally, games will not be able to give any exclusive unlockables when running on the NEO console.
NEO owners will not be allowed to be separated from regular PS4 owners while playing on PlayStation Network. Similarly, the user interface, PlayStation Store, online communities, and overall user experience will be the same.
Meanwhile, older PS4 games will not take advantage of the upgraded NEO specifications by default and will need a patch by the developers to do so. Sony is not requiring previously-released PS4 games to be patched.
Given these restrictions and standards, Sony is not replacing the existing PS4 with the new NEO console; both consoles will be exist concurrently, similar to how Nintendo sells the New 3DS handhelds alongside older models. Previous leaks suggest the new PS4K launching at $399. The regular PS4 will likely see a price drop, making it an affordable choice for those jumping into the current generation.
Does the reported requirements Sony has put in place changed how you feel about the PS4.5 / PS4K? Will you purchase one when it launches?