The rumours around a potentially mid-generational PS4 release have had people talking for weeks now, as many try to speculate what a new, beefier PS4 could potentially mean for games in the near future. Many have taken the new name to heart, thinking that the new PS4 will be able to push games out in stunning 4K. Other are more realistic, with the PS4 maybe bolstering performance but support 4K exclusively with media.
Digital Foundry, the guys with most of the technical know how (and one of the outlets corroborating the original Kotaku report) have a few ideas of their own. Like most other sensible people, they’ve waved away the possibility of the PS4K actually rendering games in 4K – considering the most powerful GPUs on the planet right now can’t even manage that at 30FPS on most occasions.
If consoles are using mid-range hardware to keep prices sensible (and no, this won’t change), 4K is a dream. But it doesn’t mean other technologies can’t enhance games profoundly.
The most prevalent rumour is that the PS4K could in fact double the performance over the current PS4, and Digital Foundry doesn’t seem to think this is too outlandish. Especially with new AMD architecture on the way, the possibility of double the processing power is possible, although limited by the CPU and access developers have to this new tech (current GPU technology gives developers direct access to the Metal, which is why so many game look as great as they do).
And while that’s nowhere near enough for 4K still, it does mean that many games that are already struggling could see massive stability upgrades. Final Fantasy XV, for example, dives deep into 15FPS territory in its new demo. More processing could certainly help that, and many other titles already struggling to squeeze the most out of current hardware.
Other enhancements could be smaller, such as support for High Dynamic Colour Ranges and a expanded Colour Gamut for more modern displays (this is a small change that would probably require you to buy a new TV). Support for 4K3D Blu-ray movie would also be on the cards, with the current PS4 using a very early iteration of Blu-ray drives which prevent this. This could also extended to 4K support for media streaming, which the likes of Netflix can’t actually do on the PS4 right now.
So yes, it’s still very much up in the air as to what this upgrade could mean for the PS4. If Sony doubles down on power, it could turn out to be a more necessary upgrade than millions of PS4 owners were expecting to undertake so soon, or it could just end up being a more inclusive media enhancement. Either way, Sony is staying very quiet for now.