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article imageSony could build a 'high performance' PlayStation 4

By James Walker     Oct 25, 2015 in Entertainment
Sony is open to building a high-performance variant of its PlayStation 4 console, its senior vice president of entertainment said in a recent interview. An updated version could extend the PS4's life-span, giving Sony more time to work on a successor.
The PlayStation 4 is based on the x86 processor architecture, the same system as is used by conventional desktop computers and laptops. This means Sony could feasibly upgrade the console's core hardware in the future, something that was impossible during the era of the PlayStation 3 as it was built on a totally unique platform.
DualShockers reports that the senior vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment, Masayasu Ito, recently commented that a "high-performance" edition of the PS4 could be a less far-fetched idea than it may initially sound. In an interview with Japanese news site 4Gamer, Ito was asked whether he would consider releasing a console in the future that is essentially the PS4 but with more power. Ito replied that the real question is whether such an improvement should be made and whether it would be beneficial to the platform in the long-term.
He quickly clarified there is currently no release date to announce and that nothing should be expected in the near future. He noted that the PS4's x86 architecture means it could be easily expanded while maintaining compatibility with all existing games and apps if the company chose to offer a variant with a faster processor or GPU.
The current-generation PlayStation 4 uses a custom-design AMD processor and is not widely perceived to have any performance issues. Some gamers continue to push for more though, so the addition of a higher-cost higher-power processor option would probably appeal to dedicated gamers.
Some online have already embraced Ito's comments as an indication that the "PlayStation 4.1" is in active development but he was keen himself to stress otherwise. Instead, Ito merely acknowledged such an upgrade would be possible and suggested the company may be asking itself questions to determine whether it would be a good idea to pursue.
If Sony did release a high-performance PS4 variant then it would represent a new kind of launch in the console industry. Traditional mid-life upgrades have been limited to simple facelifts such as altering chassis appearance or adding the option of a larger hard drive. Sony could continue to convince hardcore gamers that it is the best platform to stay with if it could offer a superior tier of performance to the already-powerful standard PS4.
Theoretically, the x86 architecture of modern consoles means they could be upgraded like gaming computers in the future, allowing users to switch-out components at will. It's unlikely Sony would ever release control in this way but if it did then the line between dedicated gaming computers - such as Steam machines and the Corsair Bulldog - and traditional consoles would be eroded away to almost nothing. The "computers" would be characterised by open software and the "consoles" their traditional interfaces and controller styles.
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