Console fans enter a new era in a few weeks, with the first proper announcement of a mid-life generational performance update of a gaming box. Sony will officially reveal PlayStation 4 Neo on 7 September, with a CPU and GPU upgrade to the original PlayStation 4 thanks to AMD’s improved hardware.
The system will likely arrive 2.5 years after the original PS4 launch. While still likely to be less impressive than a mid-range gaming PC, and well behind dedicated gaming rigs, it marks a major change to the market where consoles have soldiered on with increasingly dated technology for up to eight years after launch. New games like No Man’s Sky could get a serious visual boost.
The announcement has second-mover advantage over Microsoft’s Project Scorpio. Soft revealed at E3 in June and not to be confused with the Xbox One S, the new Xbox launches in 2017 and features a 6-teraflop GPU. However, Sony has had time to respond with a more powerful update than its originally quoted 4.2-teraflop core. AMD’s Jaguar technology powers both consoles, so will be a win for the chip company.
Gaming Going Virtual
The updated PlayStation 4 will provide greater 4K TV support, and provide enough power for Sony’s PlayStation VR technology, code-named Morpheus and launching on 13 October. It might also help drive gaming VR sales behind the early adopters.
They pre-ordered all of Sony’s early devices but the company needs to sell millions to make it a viable part of the ecosystem. If VR fails to find a mass market, Sony could be left with a costly failure on its hands.
Time for Trinity?
Finally, for those aware of The Matrix, there’s Trinity. After being roundly ignored by Sony, the company might have an update for the Vita handheld console. With no new first-party games for years, leaving it to third party translations of Japanese RPGs and visual novels, plus a smattering of class indie games (Downwell, Spelunky, TxK, Minecraft and more), will Sony push a new, more-powerful Vita?
The move, likely with HD-out or a new HDTV dock, a modern mobile-class graphics core and less expensive storage, could help counter whatever Nintendo is preparing with its hybrid mobile/TV gaming NX console, to be announced later this year. However, having let the handheld languish while corporate Sony struggled with money problems, it has seriously dented the brand, so hopes seem minimal.