Reports that Sony is working on a more powerful PlayStation 4 are true, according Digital Foundry. The publication states it has independently verified a report published on March 18, which said the new version of the console will have an upgraded GPU.
According to the site, Sony’s R&D labs have prototyped the device, which “more than once source” referred to as PlayStation 4K. It continues, however, to explain that although the hardware offers more graphics processing power, it is not enough to deliver a robust 4K gaming experience.
Digital Foundry posits that although the machine may be capable of playing “high-definition media” and some technical aspects of 4K spec gaming, such as high dynamic range, the hardware upgrade currently isn’t significant enough to constitute a full step into 4K gaming.
It goes on to speculate on three viable upgrade paths for the PS4. The first involves making tweaks to existing off-the-shelf hardware to decrease the size of the console’s microprocessor while increasing its power. This would leverage recent improvements AMD has made to its CPU and GPU technology.
The second involves “scaling up the existing [PS4] chip” and attaching some features that allow for select 4K features to be added on. The report notes that Sony must bear in mind potentially splitting the PS4’s audience and development resources.
The final option is a slimmer PS4 that has been given “minor boosts to functionality.” Take a look at the in-depth breakdown of each these in Digital Foundry’s full report here.
The subject of an upgrade to the PS4 was previously discussed by Sony executive Masayasu Ito, who said the company might consider a “high-power” PS4.
The idea of a mid-generation hardware refresh has also been broached by Xbox head Phil Spencer. On March 1, Spencer said Microsoft is building towards a future where the Xbox will be upgradable. This would allow the company to incrementally increasing its power while retaining compatibility with its older games, instead of replacing consoles with an entirely new device.
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