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Sony 'PlayStation 4.5' rumored with upgraded graphics; will Microsoft follow suit?

Microsoft's Xbox leader Phil Spencer recently hinted that the Xbox One might get hardware upgrades in the future. Now a new report claims that rival Sony is planning to release an updated version of its PlayStation 4 console, with more powerful graphics hardware.

Kotaku reports:

"Based on conversations with developers who have spoken with Sony, this 'PS4.5' will include an upgraded GPU both to support high-end 4K resolution for games and add more processing power that can enhance the games supported by PlayStation VR, the headset Sony will launch this fall. It's unclear if 'PS4.5' is an official name or just a nickname that developers have been using. One developer jokingly called it the 'PS4K' while telling me about the device."

The report didn't offer any information on when the "PlayStation 4.5" might be released or how much it would cost.

In his comments a few weeks ago, Spencer offered up these hints on the Xbox One's possible upgradable future:

""We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me. Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don't have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before."

Spencer clarified some of his statements on the Major Nelson podcast a few days later, stating:

"Am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console? That's not our plan,"

However, it is possible Microsoft could release some kind of graphics module for the Xbox One to increase its performance, similar to the recently revealed Razer Core, an external graphics enclosure for increasing the visuals on notebooks and other PCs on the low hardware end.

100 Comments
  • I expect my PS4 friends to burst in flames along with these news. They were mocking due Phil Spencer's comments so... this might be an interesting turn of events.
  •  You should look at NeoGAF now. It's hilarious. (I don't care for the wars stuff, but the reactions are priceless)
  • i still dont get it the games are universal so if I buy a new PS 4.5 with a better GPU how the hell will the game made for PS 4.5 perform on the standart PS4??? There will be graphic options like in the PC low - high settings? Or how will this work??? And what about the xxx millions of people with PS4? They need to buy the new version for full price? Or they will get a sale on the new one???  
  • i'd image the game will work fine on both, one just would perhaps perform better.  no different from somebody tossing their current pc build and buying a new one.     
  • Much the same way new 3ds games perform on the original platform
  • Hirule warriors have awful stutters on original 3DS lol
  • They don't. There are specific games for the new 3DS only
  • Yes you get it right.
    The current users can do whatever they want. All new games likely will be available on both versions. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This could be dangerous  for sony.  An updated PS4 even if the games do run well on the old one people are still going to be pissed.  People want the updated hardware so if they have to buy a new PS4 to get it, they may get pissed at sony.  We know it doesn't matter if the games look exactally the same on both systems or not, its the idea that one has newer hardware.  I think what sony will try and do is make it so games run the same and look the same on both even if the PS4.5 can run the game better.  If reviewers say "they look and run the same" maybe there won't be as much backlash.  But if one loads in games faster than the other or if the graphics look better on the PS 4.5 people will be out for blood. On the Xbox side if they do happen to make an external graphics booster, that would be smart.  Its always better to make an addon than to make a whole new console.  If they price it at about $100-150 and it gives a nice speed boost people would buy it.  I also think Microsoft is going to surprise us with something to do with VR.  I know they're all in on AR, but that doessn't mean they can't go in with Oculus or HTC to make either of their system run on the Xbox One.  Later on maybe HoloLens 2.0 they can make Hololense do AR and VR, have a double play.  I can see this happening.
  • I imagine most games adjust the graphics settings automatically based on the hardware it detects by default, so no, I don't think it'll be an issue.
  • It's a process called "Scaling"
    The software reads the hardware and determines the proper settings all before you even press play. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah the Spencer quote is about old games working on new consoles; nothing to do with upgrading the Xbone.
  • Wheter or not the rumors are true, and rumors always have some truth to them, a console is already old the moment it ships.  Having said that the PS4 and XB1 are now 2.5 years old - during this time SSD and RAM has dropped in price, the graphics engines have improved largely so an upgrade might be in order....
  • Well, they should. Now will be the chance for them to catch up on Raw graphics power and 4K 60fps play.
  • They can barely hit 1080/60 as it is (and they hardly do), 4k/60? Doubtful.
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • They are talking about max possible settings. Developers can decide by themselves how to use the hardware. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Lol. 4k 60fps, your dreaming. Posted via the Note 4/Nexus 7 (2013)/Lumia 1020/Lumia 2520
  • I dont think this is happening. First, how expensive would a 4k gaming console be??? $1000 ??? Second, how many people own a 4k tv anyways??? A new ps4 that is 4k capable for video streaming and some less demanding indie games? Sure, that could happen. But 4k AAA games on a console when the current genation cant guarantee 1080p at 60 fps? We are still years away from that
  • You just push few GTX980 in the console and lets go! Posted via Samsung Galaxy S6 but still love for Windows.
  • I found something interesting. http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/156273-xbox-720-vs-ps4-vs-pc-how-the-h...
  • Agreed.  Only a tiny minority PC gamers are playing at 4K.  Even 1440p/60fps is a strech for most.  No, give more detail and 1080p/60fps on my Xbox One and I'll be happy.
  • The only thing MS need to do regarding beefing up the Xbox is, actually do something with the cloud computing...
  • No, that's not true at all. Since the biggest releases after often multi-platform, expectation that MS can make cloud work to fix hardware shortcomings is illogical. Developers aren't going to fundamentally build a game in two different ways when they don't have to, and then there are the dual-threat issues of always-online and data caps.
  • Insufficient / unreliable bandwith & bad latency comes to mind .. at least for 4k. 
  • The Kinect port on the Xbox One may have the bandwidth needed to support a external dGPU box.  If it does I can see MS going that route.  Don't know if it would bring us 4k gaming but I'd be happy with higher detaled graphics and 1080p 60fps pefromance.
  • AFAIK, the Kinect port is just a custom shaped USB3.0 port, possibly with higher power output. Transfer speeds would still be limited to 5Gb/s. Even if it had extra pins, the hardware inside the Xbox would still need to support it, which may not be possible with existing systems. USB-C (with Thunderbolt) seems to be a minimum requirement for external GPU. It's possible they could add USB-C and the Thunderbolt controller to new systems (without modifying much else) but anyone who already has an Xbox would be left out.
  • Seeins as intel licenses out thunderbolt adding thunderbolt to an x1 would require an extra controller as no amd processor supports thunderbolt natively. So even an upgradable future version of x1 will be difficult.
  • That's a good point, I hadn't even considered that. In that case, Thunderbolt is not an option, so the only possibility would be for Microsoft to develop their own method of connecting an external GPU, possibly a custom PCIe connector. Would still require changes to the Xbox motherboard, of course, but AFAIK it shouldn't be hard to design a PCIe connector to go from the Xbox to a (also custom) external GPU. I have no doubt that if they did this, it'd be limited to Microsoft's custom GPUs, not just any standard graphcis card. It's necessary in order to keep the benefits of consoles: optimizing games to take full advantage of specific hardware, and simplicity.
  • Both systems are very weak guys! Simply release new hardware with high end CPU's & GPU's and cut this crap out. Let's have truly next gen high def games.
  • yeah next gen for 1000USD why not, right? And piss off all the customers with the older conzoles
  • It won't cost nowhere close to $1000. And the losses they'll have on the systems will be made up on game sales and of course Xbox Live subscriptions.
  • You think they (or any manufacture) will go back to that model? If they sell it at a loss, imo it wont be that much of a loss.
  • wasnt the blu ray played suppose to be firmware upgradable to support 4k?
  • 4K video playback is one thing. 4K gaming is another different beast. Video is mostly fed directly to the screen while gaming requires game logic processing and video rendering. All of that on at least 1/30 second.
  • Seems I made the right choice in going with the XBone and holding off on the PS4. I can now just get the 4.5 version which I am prepared to bet, will be offered with the PS VR, if released.
  • I was going to buy a ps4 slim later next year. Now it can turn into the ps4.5. Not bad ))))))) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Xbox One is very likely to get an upgraded model as well, though.
  • Yeah but I'm not buying a second XBone. Let alone when there's very little to justify it. With the PS4 I'll get a better console AND an even better VR experience (which the XBone will lack altogether or eventually get but by requiring a third party VR set). Which is why I'm glad I went with the XBone for now. Once this PS4K comes out I can then "ditch it" for the PS4K+PS VR instead of just buying another XBone (unless, of course, Microsoft offers some sort of programm that where they'll buy back my XBone for a decent price in exchange for credit towards a new XBone...and we both know that's something Microsoft won't do).
  • LOL
    These crapboxes are so underpowered its ridiculous. They can barely hit 1080p/60fps. But I didn't think they were THIS bad to the point where they needed a refresh already lol
  • I agree. I was honestly a little surprised how weak they were this generation. Posted via the Note 4/Nexus 7 (2013)/Lumia 1020/Lumia 2520
  • xD, ditch console and get a PC pls, budget desktops pack a better punch than the so named "next gen" consoles... I mean anyone interested in this never had the pleasure of ever owning a decent gaming pc... Ah well, haters gon hate... PC ftw
  • Some people (like me) hate the PC interface, settings, drivers, mouse & keyboard etc. I really don't see a PC as a game platform. The same with mobile gaming. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • PC is the oldest gaming platform around and still living and thriving.
  • But consoles provide better game experience anyway.
  • Not sure I agree, the term "a good gaming experience" for me is dependent on decent input and output, PC wins output hands down, better graphics, processing power etc, by input I understand that keyboard and mouse isn't for all, but one can buy xbox 1 remotes separately etc to improve that...
  • I was a PC gamer...until I actually got a job and a life. Nowadays my gaming PC serves for work. Which is why I got consoles. They are for passing time and light entertainment. I can no longer justify building gaming PCs. It's a waste of money for the little time I have anyway. So yeah...PC ftw if you're a kid or a teenager. Because once you get a life, you can kiss your PC-gaming days goodbye.
  • I am torn on this. On one hand, content will get better faster than the normal life of a console. On the other hand, I stopped playing most PC games because of this. (I still have a couple I love). I don't always want to be chasing hardware. I want to buy one machine, run through its life and upgrade in 7-10 years or so. I could go either way, but I am not sold on the idea totally.
  • But will this be then little unfair for people who already have Ps4? They have to run store to change it to new version and probably pay a fee. + all those old Ps4's just probably go in trash? Doesnt this make confusion in developing games then? Like they need to optimaze it for both versions. Im not sure of any of these so pls correct if Im wrong. (pardon if my english isnt correct)
  • The ps4 is nearly 2.5 years old. So not really.
  • I don't even have Ps4 yet ._. I was planning to buy it from friend of mine so I can play that new R&C game! ^^
  • It depends on how they implement it. I doubt games will not run on a regular PS4, just with downgraded graphics. Same thing with PC's, I have a pretty decent PC but not super top of the line, I can play all the games, just not in 4k. It's really just a graphics settings thing, and I'm ok with that. It does make me glad though that I didn't buy a PS4 last weekend like I was planning.
  • If this is really true... I think will be an "optional" upgrade, like it's buy a 4k TV today.. If you bought a PS4, you bought a 1080p console.. if you want a 4k console, you will need another one... And if Sony do the right thing.. all the games should be the same and work in both console with only the resolution and fps changing...
  • Assuming the "PS4K" will happen, all PS4 games will run on it. It's the same console, essentially. It just has upgraded hardware to better serve the PS VR and to eventually serve 4K games. This is a side-grade to the PS4 basically, not a "PS5". As for the "old PS4"...no, of course they aren't going in the trash. It will only go in the trash for the people who REALLY want this PS4K. The PS VR will run on the current PS4 console. And the current PS4 console won't go anywhere.
  • Then what happens to the current XB1 and PS4 owners? Will new games work on our old systems or will we be required to by this new "upgraded" system?
  • Yes, they will run on both versions with different graphics settings. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is about a waste of time on both ends. It's making a new console without naming it that. It'll make a lot of early adopters mad as well, I think. Better to just call them new consoles and offer a steep-discount, trade-in program.
  • Xbox is done. Say goodbye wc fanboys!
  • Bye!
  • How is Microsoft "following suit"? Phil Spencer talked about this very thing a few weeks ago and has generally gotten crap about it. Now Sony is rumored to be talking about doing it too, and not only is it now suddenly OK now when it wasn't before, but now its Sony who is the leader on this? What the heck?
  • Who said anything is okay or not okay?
  • #fookearlyadopters
  • Seriously if we play these games then everyone needs to go back to PC platforms.
  • Everyone needs to go back to PC anyways ;).
  • Unless there is an affordable upgrade option, then this may blow up in their face if true... When I buy a console, and i buy them all, i understand that there is a 4-8 year life for it. Releasing a suped up version (more ram, better gpu, etc) then you end up with the same issue mobile gaming has..... fragmentation. With few exceptions, why would a studio want to bother. The ONLY PS4.5 i'd find acceptable, would be with the addition of the PSVR GPU added internally, so you wouldn't have to bother with the external processing box.
  • I, for one, cannot wait for the white slim Xbox One.
  • I'm sorry but putting a "Will Microsoft follow suit?" in the end, does not make this an article relevant to Microsoft or Xbox. And there have been multiple Sony/PS4 articles lately.
  • That's not true. We believe this news provides more evidence that the Xbox One will get an upgrade. Also, the big moves of the competition are just important to know as the moves of the platform we follow.
  • I just don't agree with straight up having an article about Sony's plans and moves, based in the assumptions or belief that Microsoft might be doing the same thing.
  • Welp. That's a bummer. Literally just bought me a PS4 a few months ago.
  • I think if this happened, I'd not go for the upgraded console and when it comes time to upgrade I'll put the money into my PC instead, since it's essentially the reason I bother buying games consoles in the first place - to have 4 to 7 years gaming without worrying about how well my console will run a game ~(I also play PC games too but don't have a GTX 980+ because I use my console for most of my gaming) Sent from Microsoft Band
  • I think if this happened, I'd not go for the upgraded console and when it comes time to upgrade I'll put the money into my PC instead, since it's essentially the reason I bother buying games consoles in the first place - to have 4 to 7 years gaming without worrying about how well my console will run a game ~(I also play PC games too but don't have a GTX 980+ because I use my console for most of my gaming) Sent from Microsoft Band
  • I doubt Sony will do this or Microsoft for that matter. These upgrades failed in the past (Sega) and will fail in the future. You make a lot of old customers very unhappy. If it's free then it's something else, because everybody will enjoy an updated version.
  • man...I just ****ing got one today.
  • If all for an external graphics card but I'm not buying a new system at this point.
  • So many ps4 owners are gonna be so mad. Lumia 1520 beast & Galaxy Note 5!!
  • I have an Xbox One and a decent PC (AMD 8320 3.5Ghz octacore, 24GB RAM, Geforce 750 GTX ti, SSD) and I still game on my Xbox One. It's way less of a pain in the butt.
  • Why do you have 24gb ram?
  • Why do you have 24gb ram?
  • Because reasons lol. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android! (Nexus 5x)
  • Because running several virtual machines at the same time is important to my work as well as my hobbies.
  • I don't like this idea. This alienates your user base way to soon. If MS follows suit, it should be able to be added to the current Xbox One and should be discounted for current owners. Better yet just don't do it at all.
  • I would love an extra graphical upgrade unit that attaches to the console. If rather spend an extra $200 now than have to fork out $500 in a couple of years when they release whatever new system is ok the cards. This might at least extend the current gen. I am against the release of a separate console though, that just feels like a dick move.
  • Sorry, I completely disagree that "It's possible that Xbox One will get an external graphics module similar to Razer Core." There are no interfaces on existing Xbox Ones that would support that kind of device. In other news, "Xbox One Polaris" is more likely to be a thing, in my opinion.  
  • Do we know the data bandwidth of the Kinect port?
  • This is crap. I recently bought an XB1 elite, 2 elite controllers and some games. This is fine for PC gamers. I mainly game on PC now and we expect constant upgrades that make our systems old in a year or 2. Console gamers do not expect that. When we invest in a console, we expect that to be the same for years. It's one advantage to console gaming, it's cheaper and you don't have to worry about spending more money in a year to stay up to date. If console's start to go down this route, there will be no need to continue to be a console gamer, not with perfectly capable PC's coming in at 1000 bucks or so now. Bad move, better offer a discounted upgrade path or something.
  • maybe consoles will no longer be for kids, hard choice but the only one they have, its either that or let the apple tv and chromecast get powerful enough to make consoles irrelevant, a 10 year cycle has no place in modern technology
  • An external device to improve my Xbox One? Hell yeah!, a whole new system such as Xbox 1.5? NO THANKS Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I could see this coming a mile off. The problem for Sony is that the small case for the current ps4 might not be good enough to shift the heat generated by all that horsepower. However this could give Microsoft the opportunity to correct the under powered Xbox one, and also move closer to oculus without investing money in tech that might just fail to grow momentum.
  • The add on would be the smartest and keep users happy.
  • The fanboys on N4g are going bonkers right now!
  • Xbox one will never be able to catch up now
  • Microsoft should sell a console as powerful as a pc with a good price tagged for gamers. Where in we can choose to play the game with keyboard or else with the controller.
  • Pretty clear MS is focusing on ONE platform and that emphasis is now on PC and mobile so XBox will now play second fiddle. There is zero chance of a spec change/hardware up grade option, XBox is a dead man walking.
  • That's highly incorrect.
  • This post is so contradictory. Why mention that Phil Spencer talked hardware upgrades when in this same post towards the end you have another quote saying he didn't mean actual hardware upgrades to the Xbox One (which by the way John, in your initial post, multiple users pointed to how your quote was a far stretch interpretation...which now makes valid sense since Phil went on the record to say he was not talking hardware upgrades)? From that quote, it seems like he's saying that--exactly what you then suggest based on an unkown context--in a "graphics module" is not within their intentions. I think 4K gaming is something to consider and if Sony is planning a new console upgrade to catch-up to the latest fad, then Microsoft shouldn't fall behind on technical capability...the last thing they need is to be labeled the inferior console.
  • Smells like cash grab for hw specs. Not a good precedent. I'm sure it will sell though..
  • This would be a mistake IMO - It's taking away the whole point of a games console over a gaming PC. Sent from Microsoft Band
  • Honestly, Microsoft is heading in a much better direction with their upgrade option vs having to buy an entirely new console. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Bad idea, this kind of rapid update cycle is what killed Sega years ago. That said, go ahead and commit suicide Sony.