What we know so far about the upcoming PlayStation 4K from Sony

by on May 4, 2016

Stephan Jukic – May 4, 2016

While Sony’s previous game console releases for all of the PlayStation models which predate the existing version 4 have come at a rate of one roughly every five or more years, the electronics giant seems to almost certainly be on the verge of releasing a new PlayStation 4K, or PS 4.5 or however it’s going to be called in the next months, only three years after the PlayStation 4 emerged.

Mind you, this won’t be a completely new next-generation gaming console as far as everything we know indicates, but it will be a device with enough new features and upgrades to legitimately be considered a distinct new console platform from the existing PS4.

Here’s a rundown of what’s rumored or mostly confirmed so far:

From shaky rumors to concrete sources

The entire PS4K rumor mill first started up with the gaming site Kotaku, which released documentary information on the PlayStation 4K and backed this up with an outline of the hardware updates the new console would have.

Later, this information was given further backing by even more reputable sites like Digital Foundry and the Wall Street Journal and following that, sources claimed that developers had actually been in backroom talks with Sony about the new console during the Games Developers Conference earlier in 2016. In other words, unlike the weak-linked and shady rumor mill that we often see spinning for many theories and “leaks” about upcoming new consumer electronics, the PS4K information is coming in thick from some pretty concrete sources.

It’s PlayStation 4K, not PlayStation 5

One thing that’s clear in all these rumors everyone, including us, has been covering in these last months is that the upcoming/rumored new PlayStation console will NOT be the PlayStation 5 which we will also surely eventually see. In the case of this new console revamp, Sony seems to be definitely aiming for something like a massively turbocharged version of the existing PlayStation 4 with full compatibility with existing PS4 games but with a considerable amount of new processing power and 4K graphics along with other UHD abilities at its core.

According to the rumors, Sony is internally calling the PS4K by the title of “Neo” and while we’ve also heard and used the term PlayStation 4.5 to describe the upcoming console, we lean more towards it being called the PlayStation 4K than the 4.5, which sounds a bit half-baked. Though the eventual name for this console is anyone’s guess in the end. Sony could indeed call it the 4.5 or 4K or “Neo”.


4K support and some serious processing powers

Now, all of the above name details and so forth notwithstanding, what really represents the core of all these rumors consists of the purported 4K graphics support it will deliver along with the heavily beefed up internal specs to support these extra graphics details.

According to the existing rumors, Sony will be adding in a new and improved version of AMD’s Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) into the PS4K. This powerful new hardware is a hybrid processing system which combines a CPU unit and a GPU unit together into one single piece of integrated technology with both computational and graphics support power enough to keep all of the new gaming needs of the PS4K running smoothly while fitting into a compact form factor.

Furthermore, the new APU from AMD is likely to come much more compact and advanced 14nm processor technology like that seen in some of the latest next-gen smartphones which have also emerged recently. Existing console microprocessors in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 still use 28nm microprocessors for comparison to what we might expect in the PS4K.

In more concrete detail, the value that these new and much smaller microprocessors will offer lies in the fact that more power can be fit into a smaller space while both power efficiency and head efficiency are increased at the same time. In other words, the 14nm design, if true, will pretty much double the space, heat and power efficiency of the PS4K over what its existing predecessors are capable of.

The PS4K will also likely deliver some greatly enhanced RAM.

On the other hand, we can be fairly sure that the new PS4K also won’t deliver the sort of hardcore high detail 4K gaming power at 60 frames per second that we’ve seen in some 4K PC gamer’s rigs on sale today. This is simply not likely (for now) in a device as small as the PS4 or the PS4K, which will probably come at more or less the same size.

Instead, what we can probably expect from the PS4K with some of the enhanced specs we’ve just described is a much better ability to handle Full HD games at high levels of detail and high frame rates while also offering support for 4K video entertainment. More specifically, the PS4K stands a good chance of coming along with a built-in 4K Blu-ray player and the kind of streaming media support for content sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime that we’ve seen in existing set-top boxes like the Roku 4K and Nvidia Shield.

Pricing, HDR and release date possibilities

Since Sony has made mention of their possibly releasing a 4K Blu-ray player in late 2016 or early 2017, the possibility of such media playback in the PS4K could mean a release date which coincides with Sony’s still vaguely stated plans for a 4K Blu-ray player. The Wall Street Journal has for its part speculated that Sony will announce the PlayStation 4K before they release their PlayStation VR in October of this year but this would only be a formal announcement date, with the actual release date likely coming in late 2016 or early 2017 as we mention above.

Sony's PlayStation VR unit, slated for release in October of 2016

Sony’s PlayStation VR unit, slated for release in October of 2016

Whatever the case may be, we can be pretty sure that the PS4K is coming well before the first quarter of 2017 has finished up.

As for pricing, if the above-described rumors about 4K video capacity, 4K Blu-ray media support and even streaming 4K content support with the possibility of HDR support are true, then the price of the PS4K might hover at around $100 more than the price of the PS4 that’s on sale now.

As for that HDR support for this new PlayStation 4K, it will almost certainly be the case if the rest of the above information pans out. High Dynamic range is the new must-include technology for all premium and mid-range ultra HD display and media devices in 2016 and it’s pretty much inconceivable that Sony of all companies would fail to include what they’ve already placed in all their 2016 4K TVs and what Samsung has already delivered to its own existing 4K UHD Blu-ray player.

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