A new, more powerful PS4 could undo all the goodwill Sony has regained

A new, more powerful PS4 could undo all the goodwill Sony has regained
A new, more powerful PS4 could undo all the goodwill Sony has regained

Long, long ago, in a console generation far, far away there was a little box of magic that went by the name of Nintendo 64.

It was a steadfast commitment to the past with its adorable chunky cartridges, and a powerful stride into the future thanks to 64-bits of oomph and the kind of pedigree game selection that would make most consoles weep with envy.

As sturdy as it was in the processing department, developers were still obsessed with a Frankenstein-esque desire for more power. Then along came the Expansion Pak.

Originally conceived as a memory boost (it added 4MB of DRAM, essentially doubling the N64's internal memory) it was meant to act as the bannerman of the balked 64DD (yes, that was really its name) add-on peripheral.

The 64DD instead died a death and the N64 community was left with an add-on that made for more powerful games and great visual output. It was great, it made The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Perfect Dark and Donkey Kong 64 the kind of experiences that left Sony's PS1 for dust.

But it also made those games inaccessible to those that needed to fork out for the game and the pak.

Nintendo 64

It gave plenty of other games a visual or processing boost, but for those of us too young to afford it, who had already invested in a seriously expensive bit of tech, well those games suddenly felt walled off.

Pak your bags

Those are exactly the memories that flashed into my mind when I read the word 'PS4.5'. Not a slimmed down version (although one of those is undoubtedly coming, though not for a little while yet), but a console with its hardware refined and recalibrated to increase its already considerable processing power. For all intents and purposes, a new console.

Okay, let's preface this by adding that Sony hasn't officially said a word about this. It's all rumour and overexcited chitchat regurgitating out of the usual over-ripe forums you can smell a mile off, but nevertheless it's taken off.

Everyone is reporting on it, even studios are commenting on it now. There's this air of excitement over what it could mean (especially when it comes to the increased power of PS VR), but a lot of that anticipation has been misplaced.

A more powerful console is a good thing, no one is disputing that. If PS4.5 has more processing grunt that means more stable frame rates, reduced chugging and less of everything that seems to skew modern videogame critique these days. But what about that those near 40 million users that have invested in a current PS4?


That's a lot of people who have signed onto the new PlayStation manifesto since November 2013, and that's an investment that isn't made lightly. Consoles often have lengthy life cycles these days (with Microsoft planning to wind down Xbox 360 production later this year that'll be 11 years in the can for that plucky console alone) and users have bought into that mantra.

If a new version of the PS4 was announced, say, at E3 2016 with a launch date of Christmas, Sony would effectively be devaluing the 'current' status of a current-gen bit of hardware. Suddenly there's a doubt cast every time those users hear a new game announced at any of the big trade shows or a separate event.

Will it work on my 'old' PS4? Is this the game that will make me 'upgrade'? It's the same mindset we've still got with late adopters that still use old-gen hardware, but at least that one feels less of an alienation when you consider those old machines have had a near decade of operation.