Recently, there have been enough information “leaks” about Sony’s new PS4k or 4.5 to point to the PS4 getting a midlife upgrade. This will be different from previous generations of console gaming in that the system will undergo a more drastic transformation inside the box rather than the typical “slim model” releases, which were mostly a smaller and cooler running system. Looking at what’s ahead for us console gamers, I wanted address my thoughts on this situation.Here’s what we know so far…
PS4k Leaked Info via Giant Bomb, and Eurogamer
CPU 8 Jaguar Cores @ 1.6GHz
GPU AMD GCN, 18 CUs @ 800MHz
Memory 8GB GDDR5, 176GB/s
8 Jaguar Cores @ 2.1GHz
Improved AMD GCN, 36 CUs @ 911MHz
8GB GDDR5, 218GB/s
All developers will be given the option of making their game support the new NEO system, but they must also support the old PS4 unit. So those worried about their current system becoming obsolete can rest easy. This also means that there’s more of a burden on developers to optimize two versions of their games, and the “better” version will usually only yield higher FPS. That’s the funny part about this PS4k, or 4.5, or NEO, or whatever they are going to call it, it doesn’t mean that we gamers are going to get a huge step up in terms of performance. It’s a marginal upgrade and I’m not sure it’s warranted.
We are basically two years away from a PS5 or Xbox TWO, (stupid name) so why do this now? We are starting down some dangerous waters if Sony expects us to buy a new system faster than every 5+ years. It basically shifts console gaming into PC gaming, which is not a good thing. One of the reasons I don’t like PC gaming so much is the amount of maintenance necessary to keep your system running new games is too much for most people to keep track of. I know Sony is still requiring base PS4 support for every new game, but how long until they don’t?
I’m going to look at this like the Apple model. Users get new phones roughly every two years. Apple supports most of their devices for longer than that, but noticeable issues start to happen with their old iPhones after that two-year mark. They just don’t run applications as well as they used to, and that is because developers are making their new applications for the new devices and giving the old devices a quick optimization before release. So we get sub-par quality on the older but still “supported” devices. This is what I fear will happen to consoles if this upgrading trend continues.
I truly think this will be a negative on the console gaming world. Let’s take CoD as an example. Yes, 60 FPS is the norm for online multiplayer, but lets say someone is running the game at a higher resolution than you are. Competitively, this gives them an advantage since they can make out more detail and possibly see you much sooner than you can see them. There won’t be parity for players if some users don’t have the money to upgrade their console.
I’m all for new ideas in the gaming world. I’ve even gone as far as to pre-order the PS VR system coming in October. However, this seemingly inevitable path towards upgrades isn’t something I really think console gamers want to be going down. I want an easy gaming experience when it comes to my console world. This division in my favorite hobby not only seems unnecessary in terms of a meager performance boost, it also moves us dangerously close to the “master race” of PC gamers, which is something console gamers do not want to be.