PlayStation 4 Neo – that's the internal name for the now apparently inevitable upgraded version of the PS4, a new report has claimed.
Giant Bomb says that multiple sources have confirmed that Neo is expected to launch in October or shortly after. A price of $399 has been mentioned, but not confirmed. Both designs will continue to be sold, both will use the same online infrastructure and both will connect to the same version of PSN.
The site adds that as of October all PS4 games are required to ship with a ‘Neo' mode that offers improved performance on the higher-spec machine. However, Neo will not have exclusive games – all titles will be required to work on both old and new PS4 hardware.
So, what of the specs? The current PS4 has an 8-core Jaguar CPU running at 1.6GHz. The Neo ups this to eight cores at 2.1GHz. The existing PS4 has a GPU with 18 compute units running at 800MHz. The new will have 36 compute units running at 911MHz. Both devices have 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, although the current 176GB/s speed will be upped to 218GB/s.
All of which represents a pretty substantial upgrade, albeit contained within a very similar design.
Interestingly, the report adds that while 4K output will be supported (and indeed is being encouraged by Sony), it will not be required. Indeed, the specs seem to fall short of those required for top-end 4K gaming on demanding triple-A titles. The PS4 Neo will upscale any non-native 4K games into that resolution, however.
In contrast, there is no flexibility when it comes to framerate – Sony is telling devs that titles must run at an identical or higher framerate in Neo mode. In other words, it is prohibited for studios to use that extra processing power for fancier visuals if it comes at the expense of lost frames.
Also not permitted are exclusive gameplay features or functions for Neo games. Essentially, everything bar the graphics and framerate, or extensions to existing features, must be identical between both versions – presumably to avoid any potential backlash from existing PS4 owners.
PlayStation VR is not mentioned in the documents seen by the site, but it is entirely logical – and in line with previous reports – to expect VR games running on the new hardware to offer the same performance benefits.
Developers have also been told that they can ship ‘Neo Ready' titles from October even if that arrives ahead of the console's actual launch. Games arriving in September will also need a ‘Neo Ready' patch ready for the console's day one, while studios are also completely free to upgrade their existing titles for Neo via patching.