It’s now become apparent that along with the launch of the new PlayStation VR kit, Sony are also planning to double up and release a new version of the PlayStation 4 – known either as the PS4.5 or PS4K. You can take a guess as to why it has been nicknamed the latter.
The PS4.5 would ultimately be a GPU upgrade, allowing users to play their games in stunning 4K definition. This would be nothing new for PC gamers, as this has been a standard for most over the past few years, but with the release of this console, we would be ushering in a new age of gameplay. Not only will it provide better graphics for the player, but it will be a more powerful unit, and will be able to better handle the new PlayStation VR.
As we at Vexoid stated last week in our PlayStation VR test session, we weren’t thoroughly impressed by the blurry state that we endured throughout the demos. One would hope that if the PS4.5 rumours are indeed true, that the issues with the headset focus would be sorted out and even boosted by the higher capabilities of the console. Both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift will be running off PCs that are infinitely more powerful than the current PS4, so assuming that Sony want to keep up with the VR competition, this wouldn’t be just a nice boost for the player, but a necessary one for the company.
Much like the way Nintendo attempted to enter the tablet market with the Wii U, this is a move from Sony that could backfire if they don’t keep up with the competition. At the end of the day, though, this needs to be seen as a step forward in gaming, unlike the motion control set ups from Sony and Microsoft following the Wii’s original innovation. What we saw last week was not a full step forward, as, while incredibly immersive, it left all three of us groggy after even just as little as ten minutes with the headset on. This would hopefully be combated by the power of the PS4.5, making the new console a necessary step alongside their VR headset.
The biggest problem I fear Sony will face is that if the rumours are to be believed and the PS4.5 will be released around Christmas time along with the PS VR headset, who will be able to buy both in tandem?
Currently, the PlayStation VR headset package will be setting people back around £350, which in itself is the price of a new console. So assuming the average gamer is in their teens or twenties, bundling that with a whole new console just is not feasible. Going on the price difference we saw between the Xbox 360 consoles last generation, the price drop was by about a third from the original retail value; this would mean that with the PS4 retailing for about £350, we could expect to see the PS4.5 coming out for around £300 given the existentially higher upgrades reportedly offered.
That, however, would mean that to play the VR games to the best of their abilities, consumers would have to pay in the region of £650, and that’s on top of the PS4 units they would have likely already purchased. If to be believed, that will mean that over the span of roughly three years, PS4 players will be spending approximately £1000 on their consoles.
Currently, Sony are winning the console war by a landslide, outselling their closest competition in the Xbox One by roughly 20 million sales, with the Xbox One on 20.72m and the PS4 on 39.8m. Logically though, that’s 40 million players that will either have to endure worse graphics, and, in the long term, probably a smaller game library, or give in and spend inordinate amounts of money to enjoy their system, which they will feel they have already paid for.
Nintendo are obviously moving away from the Wii U with the new Nintendo NX by Christmas 2016, and with Sony seemingly having to bolster their current console by selling a completely new one, could this be the end of consoles having a long shelf life?
We will have to wait and see on any updates, and Sony haven’t officially confirmed the existence of a PlayStation 4.5 yet, but keep it locked on Vexoid where we will bring you any news on this matter.