PlayStation Neo and PlayStation 4.5 rumours suggest that Sony is expected to reveal an updated version of the PS4 in the next few months. This list describes why this move may be a disaster. The PlayStation Neo is assumed to debut during E3 2016 in June.
PlayStation Neo, or PlayStation 4.5, hasn't even been announced yet, but Sony's rumoured console refresh plans are still causing a stir amongst gamers. Here are five reasons why we think the assumed mid-gen upgrade concept has the makings of a disaster.
1) It's A Slap In The Face To 40 Million PS4 Owners
Sony's PS4 saleUnited Kingdom has been selling like hotcakes since its debut in 2013, and there's really no sign of that momentum slowing down. It's been the market leader throughout the generation and still manages to outsell Xbox One almost every month. Possibly most important of all is that PS4 software dominates the sales charts for most multi-platform games. Clearly, there's love and loyalty for the console that's currently on the market.
However, releasing the PlayStation 4.5 or PlayStation Neo introduces a new conundrum. By adding more powerful hardware to the new box, Sony is essentially punishing the 40 million people that had enough faith in Sony to invest in its vision early. Without those passionate folks there would be no success, and it's going to be hard to communicate the idea of a mid-gen refresh to them without that feeling of being hosed.
2) PS4 Market Value Is Destroyed
With more powerful hardware on the way, there's likely going to be plenty of Sony enthusiasts looking to trade in their existing PS4 for a PlayStation Neo. If that's the plan, they better do so quickly. Once a more competent sku is on store shelves for enough time, secondhand retailers and buyers of used goods aren't going to see much value in picking up a "lesser" system.
As a result of that, original PS4 trade-in values are about to drop considerably. In prior generations, the kickback would experience much smaller dips because the traditional aesthetic refresh offered game performance parity. The PlayStation 4.5 will not since it has better internals. Those hoping for the best trade-in benefits might want to act before the standard PS4 value depreciates.
3) Development Becomes More Difficult And Costly
Console development became much easier this generation with the adoption of X86 hardware, and, in general, the response amongst game creators has been positive. The PlayStation Neo, however, complicates that task considerably. Instead of making just one PS4 version of a game, studios will allegedly also be required to release a "Neo Mode" version that takes advantage of the new chips.
Making those adjustments to a game isn't instantaneous. It mandates optimisation for two different consoles instead of one. That means code cleanup will take longer, and that's more costly for developers. Don't just take our word for it. Earlier this month, BioWare founder Greg Zeschuk referred to Sony and Microsoft's rumoured hardware refreshes as "a gigantic pain in the a-- that flies in the face of the purpose of consoles."
4) It Splits Game Performance For Potential Backlash
With a standard and improved PS4 on the market, that essentially means game performance will likely differ between systems. Assumingly, the standard versions of certain games might look and play worse than their Neo counterparts.
That's OK to a certain degree, but what about the inevitable time when a major game release plays like garbage on the standard model? How will those 40 million plus consumers feel then? For those that think we're putting the cart before the horse, history has proven the case brilliantly. We've seen the outcry against performance differences on PC hardware, and even Nintendo was panned for the lackluster poor performance of "Hyrule Warriors Legends" on every sku but the New 3DS. Hardware tiers open Sony up to backlash at a time when the risk isn't necessary.
5) It's Never Been Done Before
The console industry has been operating on a fairly standard cycle for decades, and a product like the PlayStation 4.5 or PlayStation Neo represents a massive departure from the norm. Systems have been refreshed before but never in a way that impacts performance. Disrupting that pattern requires the public to unlearn everything they knew about consoles. Should the rumours be accurate, they're no longer the decade-strong, trustworthy machines they've always been. Like every other piece of tech, they've become immediately replaceable.
This doesn't bode well amongst an audience of gamers that are historically creatures of habit. Microsoft tried to abandon tradition by making Xbox One an always-online multimedia device, and the company is still trying to recover from that mistake. Similarly, the backlash against an upgraded PS4 has already begun, and it will only get louder once the rumours are confirmed.
The PlayStation Neo is still a rumour. No pricing or release details have been announced.
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How do you feel about buying a PlayStation 4.5 or PlayStation Neo? Will it be a disaster? Tell us in the poll and comments section!