Is the PS4 Good as Dead?

Is the PS4 Good as Dead?

The PS4K, known internally as “Neo,” is no longer a rumor. We know it’s coming, and we know the specs. The actual hardware specifications aren’t going to blow anyone away and you’ve likely seen them already, but if you need a refresher you can check out the image below. Sony is really doing it; with Neo on the horizon and Microsoft experimenting with a more modular Xbox, this could be the beginning of the end for “buy it and you’re set” console gaming. The rumors leading up to this point were wild and varied, and even now that we know the details people still seem perplexed as to why Sony is making this move, at this time. As we go forward – knowing that Neo is a reality – I just want to clear a few things up. This is everything you need to know about Neo in layman’s terms.

Is 4K gaming finally here?

Nah, dude. Hell, you could argue that 1080p gaming hasn’t truly arrived yet, as several current-gen titles run at 900p and still have frame rate issues. Neo will be able to output a 4K video signal, but when it comes to video games we have every reason to believe that it will upscale your 1080p signal to UHD. This is going to make PS4 games look much better on UHD screens, and you will be able to stream UHD video content. We thought Sony might choose to include an upgraded Blu-ray drive that takes advantage of much greater disc capacities and the new UHD 4K movie standard, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Will there be Neo-exclusive games?

Absolutely not. Sony has stated very plainly that the new PS4 wouldn’t get any special treatment or any exclusive games, and if they go back on their word in that regard I’ll never buy a Sony console again. What will happen is this: after October developers who make PS4 games will be required to have two separate modes – base mode and Neo mode. Every game released for the PS4 will run on both consoles, but in Neo mode developers will be encouraged to take advantage of the beefed up GPU and add some visual flare or optimize the game to run at a much greater framerate.

Is the PS4 Good as Dead?

Will my old games run way better on Neo?

Maybe, but the developers would have to go back and patch in a Neo mode, basically. Your older games won’t just magically run better. It will be interesting to see how many studios decide to revisit their older games and add in Neo support. I imagine studios owned by Sony will be encouraged to do so, but what I’d really love to see is Dark Souls III running at 40+ fps consistently. With graphically demanding games, though, don’t expect a huge jump in fps performance; Neo’s CPU still poses a pretty daunting limitation.

No native 4K gaming, no huge leap in performance; what’s the point?

Great question, reader! I have no idea why Sony, during a console cycle that it has been utterly dominating, is deciding to look 40 million investors (you, the PS4 owner) in the face and say, “Thanks for that, we hope you’re enjoying your PS4, now come spend $400 dollars with us again to get the real deal.” So many people are just now purchasing their PS4s – I only got mine last September – and it seems like Sony is eager to leave them all behind in a way. Yes we’ll still get the same games, but no one likes to be second best! If I wanted to play console games knowing that there was always a better-looking, better-running version out there I would have just bought an Xbox One.

Sony seems to be high off of the success of the PS4 and thinks it can do no wrong. “They’re not asking for this, but they’ll want it once it’s there.” I’m not so sure. Come holiday season consumers are going to have to make some tough choices. Will PS VR and Neo be competing against each other? If not, and Sony decides to push Neo’s release back to early 2017, will anyone want to buy a PS4 this holiday season knowing a better version is right around the corner? Will developers want to spend the extra time and resources to optimize two different versions of their game for a single console? To me, that defeats the whole purpose of console gaming, and BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk told GameSpot that this would be a “giant pain in the ass” for devs.

How do you guys feel about the PS4K, or “Neo?” Personally, I want Sony to succeed, but I’m not so sure that I want Neo to succeed. I don’t want to send Sony and Microsoft the message that we’re okay with this. Just because Sony is made of money and can afford to take this risk doesn’t mean that we’re made of money and can afford to invest in it. No, unless there’s a killer trade-in offer I don’t see myself upgrading. I’ll likely stick with my “basic” PS4 and hope that it doesn’t cripple the PSVR experience. Don’t screw us over, Sony.

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