Much of the Internet has been ruminating around the idea of a PlayStation 4 refresh, dubbed the “PlayStation 4.5,” as The Inquisitr reported on earlier last week. While a 4K capable PlayStation 4.5 is certainly something many people who buy into the gaming industry would like to see – in fact it may even be great for the industry moving forward – is a PlayStation 4.5 concept even doable in the end?
The PlayStation 4, for the entirety of its console life-cycle, has been ahead of competitor Microsoft’s Xbox One in terms of sales and adoption rate. It’s such a large lead that Microsoft has given up on announcing sales numbers, instead relying on Xbox Live subscriber numbers to sell their console’s marketability. So if that is the case, why would Sony even entertain the idea of a mid-cycle refresh of their outrageously well-selling console? While it’s obviously still rumor yet to be confirmed by Sony proper, a PlayStation 4.5 would be an interesting addition into the console line-up, effectively ending the nature of long console lifespans, which have dominated the consumer space since the early days of at-home gaming.
The question, however, remains: why would Sony entertain a thought like this if they have such a lead advantage over their direct competition? It’s simple, really. Better hardware means better gaming experiences. A more powerful system, such as what a PlayStation 4.5 is rumored to be, could pay dividends to Sony in the long run, giving them a decided advantage over what Microsoft can drum up until the next version of Xbox or PlayStation release in the coming years.
However, this doesn’t mean that to get 4K gaming into a living room box sellable to consumers will be easy. Being able to match what has been one of the console’s largest selling points will be tricky, especially if the rumored PlayStation 4.5 does turn out to support actual 4K gaming. With the way the current consoles operate now, they run off a hybrid APU made by AMD. One of the major concerns with consoles is heat dissipation. It’s why CPUs in consoles are underpowered compared to their 8-core brethren on PC. This is also why CPU-heavy games such as Assassin’s Creed Unity and Fallout 4 suffer greatly performance-wise on these systems. So throwing a 4K-capable chip into the mix can compound issues greatly. It would need to be done to provide for an optimal CPU solution on PlayStation 4.5, while being able to dissipate the heat generated by such a chip when rendering games in their full 4K glory.
The other major hurdle is how the 4K gaming would be handled. Will it only support native 4K displays, or will console players be able to downsample the resolution onto their screens, much like PC users can do currently? Would this be something the hardware would inherently do, or would it be required for the developer to allow? Also, with the current consoles struggling to do most games at the current industry benchmark minimum — 1080p resolution with a 60 frames per second presentation — how would 4K fare? Would we see 4K, 30 frames per second, or would the PlayStation 4.5 pack enough power to allow for a full 60 fps refresh?
Finally, cost — how much would something like a PlayStation 4.5 cost the end consumer? 4K isn’t cheap, even by today’s standards. To get a true 4K-capable graphics card, you’re going to spend close to $700 dollars, according to NewEgg. How would Sony mitigate the cost of the console so the end user isn’t spending a massive amount of money on their system? Would they operate on the profit-loss model console manufacturers ran with last generation, thanks to the powerful sales of the current PlayStation 4, or would they pass that cost on to consumers, leaving another “599 US Dollars” in its wake?
What do you think about the viability of a PlayStation 4.5? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Sony]