For months, rumors of a huge transformational shift in how console gamers play games have swirled. The rising tide of virtual reality headsets have hastened this, but there’s something else at the core of all these rumors. Reports said that Sony planned to deliver the PS4 Neo because it wanted to offer the truly dedicated crowd more horsepower to do all the things they’ve dreamed about since the 2013 launch of the original PS4.
Those PS4 Neo whispers are no longer rumors. Speaking recently, Sony’s Andrew House looked to recalibrate expectations. He confirmed the PS4 Neo is a real device, a real device that it has every intention of announcing at some point. He also confirmed other details about the PS4 Neo release and how the company sees the project internally.
PS4 Neo is for 4K Televisions & Hardcore Gamers
The key to the PS4 Neo release is “hardcore.” Sony is building the console for users that aren’t satisfied with the resolution that the PS4 is able to output today. In the interview, House specifically mentions 4K resolution displays. 4K displays allow users to see their video at four-times the resolution of a standard high-definition display. Anyone can spot a resolution jump that big, but it’s important for hard-core gamers because they want all the same fidelity that buying a game on Windows PC might bring them.
House didn’t confirm one big rumor surrounding the PS4 Neo. Some assumed that Sony is releasing upgraded hardware so that hardcore gamers will get a better experience when they pick up the upcoming PS VR headset.
PS4 Neo Release Pricing
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, fear about the PS4 Neo being real revolved around pricing. With the current PS3 selling for $349. To achieve the performance gains that Sony is clearly trying to with the PS4 Neo, the company is going to need to add extra hardware and tweak the design of the current console. Typically, refreshed consoles – even if they have the same internals or pick up a new port – are more expensive than the consoles they’re replacing.
House makes it clear that the PS4 Neo release is aimed at those willing to pay more than what today’s PS4 sells for. He describes the console as big a high-end variant of the current console. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even give a ballpark figure. The PS4 Neo could be as low as $399 or even higher.
PS4 Neo Won’t Replace the Original PS4
We now know that Sony won’t use the PS4 Neo release to put the original console out to pasture. Speaking with the Financial Times, House confirmed that the company will sell both consoles side by side, creating a PS4 family for shoppers to choose from.
Anyone that just wants an entry-level experience can go with the PS4 that’s on sale today. Folks that simply must-have as much power as possible can go with the more expensive model.
PS4 Neo Backwards Compatibility
That family of PS4 consoles fits in with what the company is saying about game compatibility. The one thing that people freaked out about nearly as much as pricing when PS4 Neo rumors surfaced was backwards compatibility. Some reports alluded to a future in which games made for the PS4 Neo might not work on the regular PS4.
House says that this isn’t the case. “All games will support the standard PS4 and we anticipate all or a very large majority of games will also support the high-end PS4,” he says. If we take what he’s saying at face value, which is the only thing we can do right now, PS4 owners will be able to enjoy everything that the PlayStation ecosystem has to offer, regardless of which version they own. That being said, the PS4 Neo will obviously deliver better visuals.
Folks can rest easy. Their original PS4 won’t suddenly start getting fewer games because of the PS4 Neo release.
We Won’t Hear about PS4 Neo at E3 2016
Before the PS4 Neo release confirmation, reports pointed to Sony discussing PS4 Neo at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in mid-June. House says that’s not the case, The PS4 Neo won’t be a topic of discussion at E3 2016. This is because Sony wanted to have more to show for the console upgrade. He doesn’t reveal a PS4 Neo release date either, despite confirming the existence of the console.
Sony’s confirmation of the PS4 Neo now leaves the entire gaming community with unanswered questions. First, why confirm the PS4 Neo’s existence now, but not talk details? The company could have easily ignored the rumors until it was ready to release the console. Second, how does the company plan to talk to convince users that planned to purchase a PS4 soon that they shouldn’t wait until Neo’s arrival?
It’s going to be a very interesting 2016 for Sony.