While still unconfirmed by Sony, the system that’s being referred to internally as NEO will reportedly feature a faster CPU and GPU combination as well as higher bandwidth memory and 4k output capabilities.
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According to reporting by Giant Bomb, starting in October, every PS4 game is required to ship with both a “Base mode” which ensures compatibility with existing PS4 consoles, and a “NEO mode” which is solely for the upgraded version.
Games running in NEO mode will be capable of taking full advantage of the hardware upgrades to bolster frame rates and stability at higher visual fidelity, in this case 4k/UltraHD resolution. While capable of higher resolution, Sony won’t require games to be released in native 4K after the update.
What Sony is firm on, however, is frame rate. Reports suggest that Sony is unwilling to bend on a requirement that developers utilizing NEO mode meet or exceed the frame rate offered in Base mode.
Sony is also taking a hard stance against segmenting its existing users. The idea is for the two consoles to co-exist, not to compete based on additional features or NEO-only games. Both consoles will have the same feature set with no additional unlockables, exclusive gameplay options or segmentation from other PS4 players on PSN.
This stance is also expected in regards to peripheral support, although the leaked documents made no mention of PlayStation VR, an odd omission given how much the hardware upgrades stand to improve the VR experience.
As far as release date and price, we’re still in the dark. Some rumors suggest the console could sell for $399 and while October is the stated date for Base mode and NEO mode requirements, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see NEO launch at that point; though it could definitely happen.
That said, it’s probably a safe bet to assume we’ll have the new PlayStation NEO before Christmas.