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article imageSony's upgraded PlayStation 4 is real, will play 4K games

By James Walker     Jun 10, 2016 in Entertainment
Ahead of the E3 gaming conference, Sony has announced it is developing an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4 capable of running 4K games with enhanced graphics. The news confirms months of rumours and will give the PS4 a substantial mid-life refresh.
Reports of Sony developing a more powerful PlayStation 4 have been circulating online since March. Today, Andrew House, president and global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, confirmed to the Financial Times that the company is indeed working on what it describes as a "high-end PS4."
Naming for the new console has yet to be announced. It is being developed under the codename "Neo" and is designed to sit alongside the current PS4 model. The upgraded version will be targeted at hardcore gamers who want access to the latest technologies and will priced higher than the $350 standard console.
"It is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4," House told the Financial Times. "We will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle."
Hardware details were not disclosed but House confirmed the upgrade will support 4K Ultra HD resolutions and more detailed graphical effects. It will enable consumers purchasing 4K TVs to take full advantage of the capabilities of the display, immersing themselves in smooth gameplay with four times the resolution of the current PS4's 1080p output.
The launch will represent a significant change in the lifecycle of games consoles. Previously, console hardware has remained static throughout a generation, leaving gamers running the same technology until a new console family is launched.
This is a stark contrast to the PC gaming ecosystem where players are accustomed to routine upgrades of individual components and regular releases of new hardware. This allows PC games to incorporate more complex graphical effects than their console counterparts.
With "Neo," Sony will be releasing a mid-life refresh to the PS4 that allows console gamers to take advantage of the current cutting-edge in display technology. It won't be accompanied by a new generation of products though, instead fitting in to the current line-up.
House said the move is a response to the faster-paced lifecycles of PC and smartphone hardware. "The consumer is attuned to a different cadence of innovation in technology thanks in great part for the upgrades cadence on mobile phones or PCs," he commented.
In a reassurance to owners of the current PS4, all games will continue to run on both versions. Every title will support the standard console and "all or a very large majority" will run on the new version. Developers will be able to target both versions when creating games. A "small but manageable" amount of extra code will be required to keep titles compatible with both platforms.
There is no timeframe for when the PS4 "Neo" will be brought to market. In a blow to fans, House said the console will not be present at E3 in Las Vegas next week. Sony wants to ensure it has a "full range" of games to showcase "in their entirety" before the public unveiling and first demonstration of the Neo's capabilities.
It is possible that Microsoft will take a similarly upgraded version of the Xbox One to E3 in response to today's news. As revealed last month, Microsoft is believed to be developing two new consoles, one of which is reportedly four times as powerful as the current Xbox One. It is said to have sped up its plans after news of the PS4 "Neo" broke in March, not wanting to be overshadowed at E3 by Sony's announcements.
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