We don't need a PS4k or Xbox One.Five

The PS4k is looking to be closer and closer to confirmed, but we don't need it. Why does it persist?

The PS4.5, or PS4k, is back in the news with another rumour. This time it is in the form of a codename: "Neo" -- hence the terrible pun of a header image. I'm Neo in this case, and Sony is Agent Smith. Hardware specs for "Neo" have also been rumoured at being slightly higher than the current PS4. But this begs the question, why is it needed? And why is it the worst idea since not having sliced bread?

It's about money, not about providing a better experience

The biggest, and foremost reason for an 8.5th generation being terrible is that it's just for the money. Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has said he doesn't really like the idea of an Xbox One.Five -- this is from the head of Xbox representing a console that sold less than the PS4. With Sony wanting to make a PS4.5, all this screams to me is that they want more money. Instead of selling just one console, they can sell two.

Even if the idea is to have full parity of software between the two consoles, playing a competitive game online means that someone playing at 1080p60 has an advantage over someone at 720p30. A higher frame rate means there is less input lag, and the higher resolution means the image is clearer and easier to see. That simply means the experience of the game is compromised, not improved.

playstation vr psvr ps vr

"Neo" could mean a VR focused console

Pictured above, on the right, is the processing unit of the PS VR headset. This is supposed to only add VR specific features like a VR desktop, 3D audio, and other features the main console doesn't have. It is not in anyway an upgrade to the PS4 for either CPU or GPU. That begs the question, if the PS4 can already play VR games at 120FPS, why is more power needed? The answer is simply, it's not. If you don't need more power, if you don't need to run at a higher resolution, there is simply no need for a new console. If something works, and it does work, you do not need more.

Screams of futility...

...can be heard from the offices of Sony. They know that their hardware is underperforming and outdated. It's sluggish, and underpowered, but that's ok. The Nintendo Wii and WiiU prove you don't need all of the power in the world. Mario Kart 8 runs at 1080p60, and the WiiU is a literal potato -- a lot of tablets are more powerful than it. But again, that's perfectly OK. Dirt Rally is proof that both the Xbox One and PS4, when being properly optimised for, can run at a smooth 1080p60 constantly. Consoles are not graphical powerhouses, and they shouldn't want to be either. It's never about the graphics anyway. It's about getting into games quickly, and those games running smoothly. All that counts at the end of the day is, did you have fun, or was it a good experience? Graphics are not needed for either of those. Halo 2: Anniversary only ran at 900p -- I say only though it's really not far off from 1080p. Due to it toalso running at a very smooth 60FPS, you didn't notice the slightly lower resolution, mostly because it's still a very high resolution. Halo 2: Anniversary looks stunning, and that wouldn't change by adding an extra 180 vertical pixels.

How much better looking do you want Bloodborne, or The Order: 1886? Both are beautiful looking games in their own right, and both run very well. Turning the graphics down a bit, they would still look phenomenal. With the added bonus of being able to run at 60FPS, it's ok to not have the best graphics in everything ever.

Graphics do not need to be maxed out anymore. Games look amazing enough for us to stop worrying about how they look. With game engines like Unreal 4, you can make great looking games very easily.While they won't be the best looking games, they will still look better than the average game anyway.

the order 1886

Look how amazing The Order: 1886 looks, but it doesn't need to. It went for graphics before everything, and it lost out big time.

Instead of PS4.5 can we see less focus on the best graphics?

I do love a good looking game, and there is definitely room for games that blow you away graphically, but can these become as scarce as a hen's teeth? Well slightly less rare than that, but it seems like they are trying to become a dime a dozen.

Instead of Sony, or Microsoft, trying to sell us another expensive piece of hardware, why not just bring the graphical expectations down a bit and focus on getting things running as smoothly as possible? This would benefit gamers more in the long run and improve overall experiences within the games. Graphics are already at the point where the returns far outway the cost, so can we all just be happy with how amazing almost all games look now?

Published Apr. 21st 2016
View Comments
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    Note: This was written when the rumours about if the console existed or not were around, I know it has been confirmed to be happening.

    But I still stand by what I say here. It's a money grabbing scheme, nothing more.
  • Chrisator
    Featured Contributor
    Wouldn't the concept be a worthwhile one as a stepping stone though? Considering you'd probably need a 4K TV to run it, it wouldn't exactly be mainstream, so would a PS4k be all that different in context, to PS3 and Blurays?

    And when it comes to parity of FPS, PC gamers have insanely varying rigs, but that doesn't make the games all that unfair in contrast, so why would it be different with the PS? Awesome article overall though, and I definitely agree their real motive is clearly monetary.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    Even the specs of the PS4.5 aren't really good enough for 4k gaming though.

    Either through a leak, or part of the rumor, the minimum output resolution Sony want it to output is 1080p. Maybe they are going to make it easier to run the console at 4k, but the PS4 can already output 4k, just not with games. I don't think there really is a market want for 4k gaming on console anyway, most PC gamers don't want it.

    As regards to PC, and system differences. Yes, it's true, but that comes with the territory, the PC has always been about different hardware and customisation of everything. Consoles are about making things simple and easy. Having different hardware on the scene does the opposite of that, it makes the job of the dev harder. Uniformity is what made The Last of Us on PS3 look so damn good, if there was 2 different PS3 systems at the time I don't think it could have looked as good as it did.
    It's simply opening us up to more broken games, by devs either who don't have the inclination (which are few and far between), or time to optimise for 3 pieces of console hardware. A dev who is focusing on PS4, now has to optimise for 2 different pieces of hardware. Where a dev on it right now, it's only 1.

    Yes, PC different hardware n all that, but with tech like DirectX and OpenGL, those already have optimisations built in for the hardware, bring in UE4 and done. Optimisation is easy, as a program will do it for you. Ok, it's not as easy as pressing a button, but what SDKs do consoles have which does that?

    I don't know... I just feel like this whole this is a marketing farce to squeeze more money out of the consumer, and Sony's rate with hardware support right now is pretty bad. PSP Go? Was dropped straight away, it was basically a more powerful PSP, like with the PS4.5 to the PS4. The Vita is basically dead in terms of 1st party support... Only the PS4 is supported anymore. Sony likes to drop support for its phones too. I just don't trust them at all.

    P.S. Sorry for the ramble... Which is probably slightly very incoherent in places.
  • Dustin Frisch
    That 4k stuff will become mainstream very soon I am sure.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    I really hope not.

    The diminishing returns are exceptionally un-cost effective, and unnecessary for almost every game.

    The only game that I can think of which benefit from higher resolutions, is Arma, with being able to see distant objects clearer.

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