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Playstation 4.5, Yay or Nay?

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Recent reports have suggested that Sony is working on a new SKU of the Playstation 4, dubbed the “Playstation 4.5.” What does it mean for the consumers?

First caught by the fine folk at Kotaku, sources that spoke to the media outlet outlined the new “PS4.5” as having a better graphics processor and can support 4K resolution in games. This has also earned it the alternative nickname of “PS4K,” and could be in line to boost the performance of PSVR titles.

PSVR

Digital Foundry has also come out and stated that Sony’s RnD labs already possess prototypes of this said device and disputed the significance of the “PS4K,” and that “while more GPU power is being offered to developers, realistically it is nowhere near enough to provide native 4K gaming at the same quality level as current 1080p titles.”

They went further into details and suggested three alternatives for this new entry, a modified console with increased processing power, a console with the options of selected 4K features, or a slim PS4 with minor performance upgrades.

Now that we have the story behind the news, we can finally dive into what this could potentially mean for the general consumer.

First and foremost, if you are an early adopter of the best selling console this generation, you will have had your launch PS4s for around two years. Certainly an upgrade sounds just about right, considering how PC-like the structures of both PS4 and Xbox One are. That is all fine, but what about the consumer who has just bought into the ecosystem that is Playstation? This is where the waters get murky. If Sony were to come out and announce a new SKU of their system, with all the fancy bells and whistles, you are going to feel hard done by if you are new to the current generation. After all, who would not want the newer and supposed better system?

Next, developers of games would be caught in a quandary, if you are afforded more GPU power, your games will look better and run smoother in theory. It makes sense to then use all the advantages you get to make your game every bit better, the million dollar question would be that can studios risk fragmenting their audiences in the pursuit of betterment? With over 35.9 million units sold (as of January 3, 2016), you are potentially losing out on so much revenue if your game can only run on the PS4.5/PS4K. Studios can always divide their attention and cater to both sides of the coin, but at what costs? Right now it seems almost redundant to have a new system just for the sake of, in my opinion, technological buzzwords and hype. The risk is simply too high and the reward too little.

4K is still a distant reality for a majority of consumers, and the lack of content has always been a sticking point. It is the same for games and consoles. The only viable outcome I can see from this is a slimmer PS4 with minor performance upgrades, which has always been the development modus operandi of console makers like Sony and Microsoft. The slimmer form factor is always a plus, and minor upgrades will not have gamers up in arms about performance and features (hopefully!). Faster loading time, better draw distances and whatnot, these are negligible differences as compared to games that are specifically gated to a new console ala the New 3DS XL and Xenoblade Chronicles.

Should you be worried that Sony is already considering changing one of the best selling console of all time? Perhaps. We as gamers are always after the newer and shinier piece of tech, and consoles are no exceptions. When you weigh the pros and cons, however, I definitely see this as a decision further down the road. It would be better for both fans and the company behind one of gaming’s stalwarts, and I hope that they do not rush this decision in a bid to gain a headstart in the 4K market.

That is just my two cents though, what do you think? Should a PS4.5 be reality? Let me know in the comments below!

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The original editorial appeared in the writer’s personal blog, you can find out more here!