Reports circulating this week that a new PlayStation, code named “NEO” could launch and operate in conjunction with the PlayStation 4 have caused quite the uproar in the gaming industry. As reported by the Inquisitr earlier this week, Giant Bomb broke the news, releasing information pertaining to the mandates set up by Sony that the PlayStation NEO will have imposed upon it, as well as some of the specifications of the new system.
While none of this has been confirmed by Sony, they’ve also not denied the report, which means that there might just be something there. Giant Bomb’s report was corroborated by Digital Foundry, who said they had been sitting on the same documents for a few weeks trying to get a second source before going public, and that Giant Bomb beat them to the punch.
Either way, the response by the community has been quite mixed. While some of Sony’s faithful seem content with the idea of a mid-cycle refresh, many fans are equally upset at what a PlayStation NEO may mean to their initial investment. Many of the arguments have centered around the idea that early adopters will not have the superior system, and their investment in a PlayStation 4 will be nullified by the release of a PlayStation NEO console. Unfortunately, those arguments can already be made today, when you get right down to it.
PS4 will be the “Inferior System”
Sony has seemingly gone out of the way to be sure that their fanbase doesn’t feel disenfranchised by placing the reported mandates on PlayStation NEO development. No NEO games can be made without a PlayStation 4 counterpart, and content and peripheral parity is a must. No NEO game can sport features that cannot be replicated on the PlayStation 4. The only difference between PlayStation NEO titles and the same PlayStation 4 title will potentially be the NEO’s ability to play its games at potentially higher framerates, resolution, and graphical quality.
The flaw in this logic, however, is simple: the PlayStation 4 has been an inferior system in the two-and-a-half years since its initial release in 2013. The idea of a reported PlayStation NEO has only made this fact come to the fore in the minds of PlayStation fans. Since its launch, the PlayStation 4 has been trumpeted as the more powerful console, validating the purchases of 36 million-plus consumers. However, even during this time, the PlayStation 4 itself was inferior to even some of the humblest of PC builds. Digital Foundry’s budget PC build consistently outperformed both consoles at like settings and quality since its introduction, and it’s a PC that costs about the same as what both platforms did at launch.
Because the PlayStation 4 will be outclassed by another Sony branded system, the idea of their platform of choice being lesser is too close to home. However, at the end of the day, if you’re content with the current performance of your PlayStation 4, you not likely will care about this fact at all, and continue to enjoy your games on the platform of your choosing. And that’s exactly what Sony is trying to facilitate. Additionally, some users are speculating that development for PlayStation NEO will be a detriment to game developers. However, a developer on NEOGaf, via Reddit, compares NEO development to graphics options on a PC, meaning it’s not much different than what’s being done already.
Choose Your Weapon – PS4 or NEO
When you get down to it, the PlayStation NEO gives consumers one more choice to get the best performance their platform can afford them. While some may see consumers as having no other choice than to buy a new console (you can always build a PC if you want the most choice), Sony is trying to make it so that the decision to purchase a PlayStation NEO or keep with your current console is entirely up to you. Rather than axing the current generation, Sony is trying to make the two consoles coexist — and in turn leave the choice of which Sony platform to play on up to the consumer.
If you are disinterested in the PlayStation NEO, nothing further needs to happen. You can still play your PlayStation 4 titles at their current level of performance and be all the happier. However, if you’ve been upset with the performance and quality of the games you’re playing on PlayStation 4, the NEO presents an intriguing solution. You can still play your triple-A titles — and do so closer to the quality seen on PCs if the final specs are anything like what’s been reported — as well as enjoy games like Uncharted and other Sony-made games all in one spot. However, you may get a better experience on the PlayStation NEO as a result.
No longer will the discussions of what resolution your game will run at be a negative — the NEO will require a minimum of native 1080p on its games, as reported by Digital Foundry. Framerate may still be a sticking point, as Sony isn’t mandating that the games run at frame rates higher than what’s capable on the PlayStation 4, just that they be no lower than the targeted framerate of the PS4 title. However, you may start to see games running at PC-level minimums: 1080p, 60 frames-per-second. Additionally, games like Star Wars: Battlefront, which runs at 900p on PlayStation 4, could potentially see a resolution bump to a full 1080p on the NEO.
At the end of the day, the PlayStation NEO presents yet another consumer choice in the gaming landscape — and one that you aren’t required to buy if you want to keep and play current games. Rather than release a whole new console and disenfranchise current PlayStation 4 owners, Sony is reportedly doing everything to make both of these consoles coexist. And while the argument can be made that, in terms of progressing the industry forward, this mindset still sets back the gaming industry, in the end giving the consumer the power to choose will end up paying off well in the end for the PlayStation maker. Giving players more choice — and competent hardware — only makes the industry better as a whole. And Sony’s PlayStation NEO is a great step in that direction.
[Images via Sony]