According to some game developers who spoke with Kotaku, Sony is planning a new version of its infamous PlayStation 4 (PS4) gaming console. The upgraded console is rumored to have more processing power for CPU-intensive applications like rendering 4K video, and hence would support games at ultra-sharp 4K resolution.
Sony didn’t confirm the rumors, so even if it’s real, the upgraded console won’t be coming out soon, but even then, it could be bad news for Microsoft, who’s Xbox One has consistently lagged behind in sales to its Japanese rival.
4k video resolution, also known as Ultra HD, is catching on fast. Both Amazon and Netflix support 4K UHD streaming of many shows, branded 4K TVs are easily available for under $600, and 4K Blu-Ray discs and players started arriving this month. But gaming at 4k is a big a completely different league—the Xbox One and PS4 both currently max out at 1080p resolutions, and 4K screens have four times as many pixels as current HDTVs, and just as much processing requirements.
But the most enticing possibility of a more powerful PS4 is better performance for the PlayStation VR headset. To maximize immersion, VR experiences have to be rendered at higher framerates than normal games. The rumor about the so-called ‘PS4.5’ comes at a time when Sony has just announced that pre-orders for its VR headset will open on the 22nd of March, 2016.
There are still many unknowns about the upgraded PS4, including the big question about its existence, but knowing Sony, it’s not hard to believe there’s something in the works.