There’s a lot of smoke around Sony releasing an upgraded PlayStation 4 this year. The rumored machine would be able to play content at a 4K resolution, hence the nickname ‘PS4K’ or ‘PS4.5’ given by players online.
When a piece of hardware like this is rumored, the first question that needs to be asked is: Why? Why does there need to be a PS4 that plays 4K content and why would I need to buy it? From Polygon’s report, it would seem the aim is simply to be able to play 4K blu-ray content. That’s a thing, if you didn’t know. But is there more to it than that?
Personally, I’m someone that isn’t quite sold on 4K yet. That’s not to say it isn’t the future, because I believe it is. The natural progression in video production is for technology to continue improving the resolution, clarity, and refresh rates of the video that the average consumer watches. Thus, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all watching the most mundane of broadcasts or streams in 4K resolution in true 60 frames per second, or better. From The Price is Right, to Monday Night Football, to CSPAN; that should be the future.
Still, that doesn’t mean we’re equipped for that yet, nor does it mean we can afford it. Even compressed, 4K footage is large and the cost to produce it for creators as well as the cost for consumers to view it is high. Something as simple as viewing a 4K blu-ray – a stand alone experience – takes a 4K television or monitor. Something a lot of people don’t have and aren’t looking to get yet.
If the PS4.5’s only improvement is giving this option, it simply seems like a waste of money. Don’t think for a second that you’re going to be playing console games at 4K any time soon. Getting a 1080p, 60 FPS game on the PS4 is a treat as it is (when it does happen).
Perhaps if the PS4.5 does something else, like improving on the PS4’s hardware capabilities, can I see myself purchasing one. After all, there’s the New Nintendo 3DS to take lead from. The second model of Nintendo’s current handheld didn’t just add a few more buttons, it improved on what was under the hood; making some games exclusive to the N3DS and older games run more smoothly on it. Imagine if you would, a game that runs at 900p on the launch PS4 but 1080p on the PS4.5.
This is all just speculation, of course. As far as Sony is concerned, the PS4.5 is still unofficial. So any report of it offering a better experience with games or being better equipped to run the upcoming PlayStation VR platform is just that. Rumors.