When asked what the future of video games looks like, most gamers will mention 4K gaming and virtual reality, and the fact that neither the PlayStation 4 nor the Xbox One support these technologies have led many people to question the longevity of this generation of consoles. However, Sony has been working to fix the PlayStation 4’s shortcomings, first with the self-powered PlayStation VR headset, and now Kotaku is reporting that the company is working on an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4 that will be able to support 4K gaming. If this is true, then this might mark a massive shift in the console market, and could see consoles adopt a smartphone-like upgrade system.
Rather than waiting several more years to release the next generation of PlayStation hardware, Sony is reportedly developing a stopgap that would either upgrade the current model PlayStation 4 or exist as a separate bolstered version of the console, according to a report on Kotaku. Known as “PS4.5” behind the scenes, the updated console would feature better graphical power and the ability to play games at the 4K screen resolution (3840?–2160) on screens that support it — which is very much a niche thing at this point in time. The increased graphics capability would also be a bonus for PlayStation VR in the long term, as the standard PS4 is significantly hamstrung in that realm compared with its PC-focused VR competitors, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. For consumers, the prospect of a PS4.5 might be worrisome, as it would be a largely unprecedented move for a game console, which gamers have typically been able to expect to exist as is for as long as a decade before a new model hits the market. Nintendo in 2014 released a more powerful version of its handheld 3DS platform, dubbed “New Nintendo 3DS,” that can play games an older model 3DS cannot. But a 3DS retails for only $200, whereas a PS4 costs $350.