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article imageSony to launch two new PlayStation 4 consoles next month

By James Walker     Aug 22, 2016 in Technology
Sony is planning to launch two new PlayStation 4 consoles at a September event, according to a report. While the company has already confirmed it is building a new high-end console, it is said to be planning an upgraded standard model to accompany it.
The Wall Street Journal revealed the existence of the new PS4 consoles in a report this week. People "familiar with the matter" informed the site that Sony is planning to unveil a new "standard model" of the PlayStation 4 next month, alongside an official announcement for the PS4 "Neo."
The latter model will be a substantial upgrade of the original PlayStation 4, featuring enhanced graphics for higher-fidelity gaming. After months of leaks and rumours, Sony confirmed in June that "Neo" is real. It will allow more demanding games to be created, using higher resolution graphics and new features such as virtual reality. The launch will go hand-in-hand with that of PS VR, Sony's upcoming PlayStation virtual reality platform.
The upgraded "standard" PS4 console has not previously been leaked. The device is likely to be slimmer and less expensive than the current model, according to analyst Damian Thong, cited in the Wall Street Journal's report. Over the weekend, images of an alleged "PS4 Slim" appeared online, showing what is claimed to be an engineering sample of a significantly smaller version of the console.
Assuming both of the new devices are real, Sony will be targeting two different audiences with the launch. Neo will appeal to hardcore enthusiast gamers looking for the highest standard in modern gaming. It will offer access to cutting-edge technology, such as virtual reality, that is currently only available to PC gamers.
The upgraded baseline model will be designed to appeal to casual fans and home gamers, according to The Wall Street Journal. While this approach could create a divide in the PlayStation community, it also allows Sony to individually target each group of gamers. It can build a high-end model for those who want it, without raising the price of the PS4 for consumers who only play light-hearted family titles at the weekend.
There's reason to believe that Sony is planning two new versions of the PS4. Microsoft is currently using the same model to develop the Xbox One. At E3 earlier this year, it unveiled the Xbox One S, an upgraded version of the standard Xbox One. It has a slimmer design and lower price than the original console, as well as support for 4K video and HDR gaming.
Microsoft is also building "Project Scorpio," a heavily-upgraded Xbox One console to launch in late 2017. The company is promising the "most powerful console ever," capable of supporting next-generation technologies and higher-resolution gaming.
Considered together, the plans of Microsoft and Sony sound almost identical. The two companies will each launch a refreshed console this year, followed by a significantly upgraded one in 2017. Project Scorpio and Neo will rival each other in the high-end region of the market. The Xbox One S and the upgraded PS4 will cater for less demanding players.
With neither Microsoft or Sony currently willing to build a new generation of hardware, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be with us for several more years. They both look set to change dramatically over the coming months though. With Microsoft's Xbox One S already shipping to customers, it's perhaps inevitable that Sony has a revised PS4 ready to go on sale before the end of the year. It will then be a race to bring Scorpio and Neo to market, disrupting the gaming landscape in 2017 with consoles to rival PCs.
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