The rumors are true: Sony’s upgraded PS4 console is coming. The company confirmed as much this morning in a interview, simultaneously announcing that the new hardware will not be making its debut at next week’s E3 showcase in Los Angeles.
Speaking with the Financial Times, Sony Interactive Entertainment head Andrew House said the upgraded console, codenamed Neo, would not be replacing the current PS4 on the market, but rather acting as a complement to it with upgraded processing power and 4K resolution video capability.
More importantly, game compatibility won’t shut current PS4 owners out, as House also said Sony is expecting all future titles will run on the original hardware and a “all or a very large majority” will support the higher-end Neo, though if that means a select few games won’t run is unclear.
It was previously rumored that new games in development would require designers to build a base game for the standard PS4 hardware as well as an upgraded “Neo” mode compatible with the new console – likely influenced by the impending release of PlayStation VR, Sony’s virtual reality headset launching in October.
House did said the new high-end machine would cost more than a standard PS4, but failed to divulge any specifics on price, specs, or release date. The news comes on the heels of rumors swirling that Microsoft is also planning on an upgraded Xbox, codenamed Scorpio, allegedly slated to launch next year.
The bigger surprise in the news is Neos status as a no-show next week for E3. If rumors about the Scorpio are true, the specs of Microsoft’s Xbox update may be higher than Neo’s.
With PlayStation VR getting what’s sure to be a huge push from Sony during their E3 press conference, the decision to hold back on the Neo is likely a calculated one. Microsoft isn’t expected to debut Scorpio until later this year – giving the competition to strike first would be a good play to make sure Sony is as prepared as possible in defending their position as head of the pack as this console generation takes a somewhat unexpected turn.
Though previous rumors had pegged the Neo’s launch as soon as September of this year, it’s possible that Sony is simply waiting for Microsoft to flinch first, possibly even pushing back the launch of the Neo to bring it more to parity with the competition. In any case, it was widely speculated that Neo would take up a big chunk of Sony’s briefing. What it shows in its absence (more VR announcements are likely) should be interesting.