Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Sam's Take: Why I Don't Think The PS4.5 Is A Good Idea

When rumours for the PS4.5/PS4k first appeared, I was pretty sure that it wasn’t true. “Surely” my younger, unwise mind of a couple of weeks ago said “Sony wouldn’t shoot themselves in the foot by attempting to divide their fanbase.” But, alas, here we are, with all signs pointing to a more powerful PS4 console being released, and I’m here to tell you why I really don’t think it’s a good idea.

Let’s start with why Sony would want to make a PS4.5. It’s obvious that Sony is very far ahead sales-wise in front of the Xbox One and Wii U, so it would make business sense for them to make a more expensive PS4 to capitalise on their big fanbase. Not only that, but Sony’s consoles have always been flagships entertainment-wise - the PS2 could play DVDs, the PS3 started the Blu-Ray craze, and, if all goes to plan, the PS4.5 should be able to play 4K Blu-Rays, as well as stream 4K video from apps such as Netflix and Sony’s new 4K service, Ultra.

However, it’s very, very doubtful that the PS4.5 will be able to play games in 4K. Most 4K PCs cost thousands and need top-of-the-line hardware to work, so it’s likely that this new PS4 will only give a slight boost in performance, and perhaps be more energy efficient - a PS4 slim, if you will.

But this misses the entire point of console gaming - everyone is on equal terms. People buy consoles because they want a system that's good for four or five years, one that can play the latest games, where they'll get the same experience that their friends are getting - and this new PS4.5 undermines the principle of that. What's the point of building a big audience when you're just going to split them up again?

I get that Sony has room to experiment - their considerable sales lead in the console race isn’t slowing down anytime soon - but I feel like this is a step too far. Many PS4 owners aren’t too happy at the moment due to a variety of reasons - the PS Plus lineups are getting more meagre by the month, and many of the features on PS3 still haven’t been brought to the newer console. Many people have dutifully pointed out that Sony have yet to massively slip up this generation, but this could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

With the PlayStation VR launching this year, as well as some of the console’s biggest exclusive franchises getting new instalments, Sony need to work on keeping the fans happy in order to get them on board for experiments to come. I definitely trust Sony as a company to make good decisions, but I feel that the Japanese juggernauts shouldn’t fracture the fans just  yet. After all, PS4 should be for the players, not for the payers.

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