The PS4.5 would be Bad: Sony Should Focus Efforts on the PS5

Do PS5 instead of PS4.5

We’ve already covered rumors about the PS4.5 here on PS5 Gamers, and whether or not Sony is stalling for time, but now that these rumors have become more prevalent, I’m starting to get a little annoyed.

Another round of rumors has stated that the announcement of this new console could come before the launch of PlayStation VR in October 2016. Okay guys, it was fun at first, but this needs to stop. We don’t need a PS4.5, it’s a waste of time. In my opinion Sony should be working on then next quantum leap in gaming, not a mild step forward that will ultimately cause more problems than it solves. Whether you agree or not, read on and I’ll tell you why.

Why I think the PS4.5 is a BAD Idea!

The PS4.5 is (thankfully) still a heavy rumor, but as more time goes on, it’s becoming apparent that Sony is seriously considering this. We don’t have details on what it will do, how much it will cost, and whether or not it will have exclusive titles, but these possibilities even existing is troubling to say the least.

Justin Mikos posted an article on Game Informer where he mirrored my concerns about these rumors.

In his article, Justin makes an excellent point about the whole argument for 4K gaming. Right now the PS4 supports 4K videos and pictures, but not games. Part of these PS4.5 rumors state that the system will support 4K gaming. There’s a few problems with that:

  • Most PS4 games don’t hit 1080p/60 FPS because they use other resources for graphics and effects (excellent point by Justin)
  • 4K gaming requires a significant hardware jump (which means more cost)
  • 4K TVs aren’t mainstream
  • Increased file sizes for 4K games would raise the hard drive space needed
  • Developers don’t want or need the extra work
  • PS4.5 exclusive games would shatter the market

The entire point of consoles, is to provide a one-size-fits-all solution that you won’t need to upgrade for a significant amount of time. Introducing another, more powerful PS4 mid-cycle will ruin the appeal of consoles as people will feel the need to upgrade, especially if new games run poorly on the PS4.

Combine this with the release of the PlayStation VR this year, and you have way too many moving parts for consumers. With the PS5 slated for 2020, the last thing we need is a confusing crack in the market during the final stretch of the PS4’s lifecycle.

Furthermore, if the PS4.5 is truly designed to offer increased VR experiences, this puts even more strain on developers who have been creating games based on the PS4’s hardware.

We’ve already seen how bad of an idea this is with the New 3DS which is Nintendo’s more powerful handheld. It may run games better, but titles like Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors: Legends run horribly on the older hardware, thus leaving those owners out of the loop.

Sony has enjoyed massive success thus far with PS4 sales, and the last two rounds of PlayStation VR pre-orders have sold out in minutes. They are riding high, so why ruin that with a console that represents a baby-step forward technologically and a potential rash of backlash from consumers?

The PS4.5 is a bad idea, plain and simple. The sheer power and cost needed for 4K gaming isn’t justified as 4K televisions aren’t expected to be mainstream until 2017 at the earliest, and most people won’t have them in their homes until 2025.

I have more to offer than just my concerns, I have a plan, and it’s one that I think the general gaming population will agree with. Grab your notepads, here is what I think Sony should do.

This is What You Should Do

Let’s make one thing clear: I have no problems with a slim PS4 or a PS4K. Sony, if you want to make a PS4 with enough horsepower to run 4K games and maybe slim down the design (if that’s possible) then go for it, no one’s stopping you.

As a gamer for 25+ years, I’ve been playing PlayStation since the original, which brings me to a story that is relevant to all of this.

When I was kid, my parents got me the PSOne, which was essentially a smaller, more compact version of the original PlayStation. Here’s the thing, though, I played on my friend’s PlayStation and their console looked a lot different than mine. I didn’t like that, and it could have been because I was young, but there’s something to be said about a brand’s image.

I went ahead and played my first game on it (The Road to El Dorado, don’t judge). The game was a poor movie game with a jittery frame rate, but as a kid I didn’t know that. I thought my parents had purchased some off-brand crappy version of the PlayStation 1.

I know better now that it was just that game, but here’s the thing: there are gamers out there with about as much experience as I had when I was a kid. They’re not stupid or anything. They don’t know anything but what they’ve seen or what their friends have.

See where I’m going with this? Sony’s going to confuse and splinter the market with a move like this. The decision should be simple. People recognize the PS4, and they love it. Don’t sacrifice that to provide a resolution that doesn’t matter yet.

Let’s talk worst case scenario here. Sony releases a PS4.5 at a higher price point with increased hardware that allows for better VR, better games, and 4K support.

Now, what happens when Joe Schmo goes to buy his PS4 and PlayStation VR. He doesn’t want to spend more than he has to, so he goes with the PS4 thinking it’s fine because Sony said it would work with VR.

What happens when he finds out that he can’t play certain games because they’re only for PS4.5? What about the fact that the VR experience isn’t what Sony promised unless you spring for the upgrade?

Gamers are finicky bunch, and if there’s one thing we don’t like, spending all our precious gaming dollars. While I think the possibility of an upgradeable console is cool, I don’t think introducing it midway through the PS4’s cycle is a good idea. To twist a common phrase, Sony could be “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Right now, consoles have an image to uphold. Consumers expect to invest in something that will remain relevant and supported for a typical cycle of at least five years. Yes, I hear you naysayers out there making comparisons to other devices like smartphones that are constantly being upgraded, but consoles have never been like that.

That’s not to say that can’t be, but the transition would need to happen between cycles, not in the middle of one. If you want to upgrade to 4K and you want VR to be the bee’s knees, then you need to focus your efforts on creating an amazing and massively more powerful PS5 console.

If you look at our PS5 Specs page, you’ll see that we’re expecting greatness, not a timid upgrade. You made the PS4, and it’s successful. Now, focus on PlayStation VR, not some upgrade no one asked for.

Yes, the PS4 could have been more powerful at launch, but in the gaming industry you don’t get a do-over. You have to play with the cards you’re dealt and own up to your design and hardware decisions. Sony should definitely realize this.

What do you think? Do you want a PS4.5, or should Sony focus their efforts on the PS5? Let us know in the comments!

Note: The thoughts expressed in this article are the opinions of the author (Bradley Ramsey) and do not yet represent facts or the opinions of Sony Computer Entertainment. Although it will probably be accurate, for now it is pure speculation. Thanks for reading!

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