Sony is having a PlayStation event tomorrow in New York, where it plans to provide an update on its PlayStation business and PS4. Most people agree that means it’s going to show us a couple of PlayStation hardware updates, including a previously announced more powerful PlayStation 4 (supposedly codenamed “Neo”) with support for 4K and more robust virtual reality, and a slimmed down PS4 with the same specs as the version currently available.
This is definitely the main event if you’re ranking potential announcements at home. The PlayStation Neo has been rumored since earlier this year, and Sony took the unusual tack of actually making it official that a higher-end PS4 was en route back in June ahead of E3, without then showing the hardware at E3. At the time, Sony Interactive Entertainment President Andrew House told the FT that the new PS4 would have a higher price tag than the existing version, and be designed to live alongside, rather than replace it. It will boast features like 4K support and likely smoother performance for VR gaming via PlayStation VR, the headset accessory due out for PlayStation 4 this fall.
The plan from a games perspective is that every forthcoming game will still support the original PS4, and some of those will also offer improved graphics or other support for the PS4 Neo, as well, according to House. Sony seems very much to want to position this new device as hardware aimed at a subcategory of its core audience who value high-end graphics (likely those who might otherwise decamp to PCs for better VR visual via Oculus or HTC), and not as something that will ultimately replace the PS4 entirely.
It’s not known from current leaks when the PS4 Neo will launch, but speculation puts it at sometime early in 2017.
PlayStation 4 Slim
While Sony hasn’t confirmed the existence of a redesigned PS4 itself, multiple leaks have suggested it’s real, including videos and images supposedly resulting from the Sony console going on sale early in a couple of places accidentally. Sony didn’t help things by getting posted video removed, which all-but-confirms that the leaks were legitimate.
This hardware revision would be very similar to what Xbox did with the Xbox One S, which basically lost some weight and size, without altering its internal capabilities too much. It does however support 4K and HDR video playback, which is useful if you have a TV that offers those features. A PS4 Slim could mimic that approach, gaining a couple new tricks as well as the hardware design refinement, but it sounds like it’ll more likely be the same as the PS4, yet small(ish).
Immediate retail availability is likely in this case, given it’s been leaked so prolifically.
We know a lot about the PSVR, including price and release date, but we don’t yet know everything. Sony could definitely make some announcements here, including about what the PlayStation 4 Neo will add to the virtual reality experience. It could also make some additional announcements around what games will be available at launch, although it has already talked about the launch titles at various times in the past, with 33 total confirmed for availability alongside the headset hardware itself.
There’s also a new PS4 DualShock 4 controller design, according to the same leaks that revealed the slimmer PS4 design. The redesign basically just rearranges the light bar present on the controller so you can see it from the front while actually using the controller, which sounds like a useful tweak for what’s already arguably the best controller in the business.
We’ll have all the news live tomorrow as it happens from New York, starting at 3 PM ET.