ICYMI: The heavily rumoured PlayStation 4.5 is a thing thanks to some leaked documents courtesy of Giant Bomb (Article here).
Now, I don’t know how I feel about this, the PlayStation 4 has hit the 40 million mark and with it only being out for 2 and a half years that is a phenomenal achievement. It’s obvious that there was a fear that the console days are dying and the “PC master race”, is taking over, just look at all the HD remasters we’re getting and companies releasing episodic games, but this is not the case with consoles selling shit loads, both sides however there is a clear front runner (SPOILER: PS4).
NEO is probably a codename, so we’ll have to wait and see if Sony go with it.
The documents discussed in the Giant Bomb article say that the NEO will have an upgraded CPU, GPU and more Memory to make the games run better, it will produce a more steady framerate the older model and all that jazz. The games that will take advantage of the Neo won’t be exclusive to the new hardware and developers will require to make two versions if you will a Neo version and a base model version or whatever you want to call it.
Now, upgraded hardware is nothing new. Remember the 32X and the Sega CD for the Sega Megadrive? The expansion pack on the N64? The PSone and the PS2(and 3) slim? Xbox 360 Elite? The New 3DS and the DSi. Now, I know what you’re thinking. These were from the simplest of terms redesigns to make the system cheaper or “expansions” to exsisting hardware apart from a few of these where you had your exclusive games (Like Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for the New 3DS) you could run the games side by side on the original hardware and the expanded hardware and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference with the NEO offering a more stable frame rate and 4K resolution n all that, I imagine you will be able to tell the difference.
Which leads me to my next point; assuming you want to sell as many Neos as possible, how are you going to convince the PlayStation 4 owner that they need to ‘upgrade’ to a Neo without making their current PS4 seem like a piece of shit. Sony have got to be careful how they market this one because on one hand the average gamer who’ve waited for a price drop or redesign etc. will probably bail and get one no questions asked but it’s the 40 million(!!) people that already have a PS4 who’s piss might get boiled. Example; It’s E3 2016 at Sony’s press conference and they’re showing off a new game, let’s say the rumoured God of War IV, assuming they announce the Neo at E3, do they go with the split screen idea, basically saying “Oh, that £350 machine you bought less than two years ago? That’s shit now, look at this shiny new one”, by the way… A bad idea. Or do they just show the Neo version of a game and have a splash at the bottom of the screen saying “Running on Neo”. Sony have got to be careful how they handle the Neo announcement.
I know all the PC bellends out there will tell me how this is natural and a sign of the times or some bollocks but the fact of the matter is that console gaming was always known for its simplicity and being straight forward. This is going to split the market place and theres’s rumours going around that game devs are not happy with this strategy from Sony, which is far enough seeing as it will probably cost them more money to make their games with extra development time needed to make both versions of their games and let’s not forget the QA costs added on top of that.
It’s gotten to the point now where console gamers are contemplating just getting a PC if consoles are getting upgraded every two to three years and with good reckoning, you may as well just get a PC and moan about frame rates, resolution and how the weak consoles are holding back the power of video games then play side-scrolling indie platformers on a £3,000 machine.
I’ve been a console gamer my whole life and I’m not against PC gaming by any means, it doesn’t matter what you play on, great games are great games… Except for smart phones, they can fuck off. Anyway, I was chatting to a PC gamer the other day and he said to me something along the lines of…
I might get the Division, but I don’t think I can run it on full settings on my PC so I might just get it on PS4 and wait for Nvidia to release their new graphics card so I’m gonna have to save about £300.
That wasn’t all he said but that was the gist…
Is the Neo a good idea?
At first thought I’d say no. Like I’ve already said it’s going to split the market which Sony has worked so hard to be winning, it’ll take developers longer to get two versions of one game out on ‘one’ platform, if Sony market this the wrong way they’re going to piss off a lot of people and what’s the betting games will get delayed because of this and games just will be straight up unplayable on one of the versions.. That’ll happen, I’m looking at you Hyrule Warriors 3D (FYI: barely runs on the old 3DS).
I’m sure Sony will lift the lid at E3 but my gut instinct is sometimes you’ve gotta dance with the people that brought you… Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. I’m sure we’ll find out soon.