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Report: Fresh details emerge on Sony's more powerful PlayStation 4

Report: Fresh details emerge on Sony's more powerful PlayStation 4

March 24, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

Two separate media outlets are now reporting that Sony is developing a new iteration of the PlayStation 4 that's more powerful than extant hardware, though how, why or when such a revamped console might launch is yet unclear.

Details of the potential "PlayStation 4.5" initiative were first reported by Kotaku last week, and seem to have come primarily from developers familiar with the project. 

Those who aren't should note these reports because (among other things) they're well in line with Xbox chief Phil Spencer's comments earlier this month that Microsoft wants to "decouple our software platform from the hardware platform on which it runs." 

Spencer was referring to Microsoft's efforts to make games playable across both the PC and the Xbox One, but his statements also allude to a broader goal of creating a console game ecosystem where games can be backwards- and forwards-compatible, allowing companies to release updated hardware more often.

"I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we've ever seen. You'll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible," said Spencer. "We can effectively feel a little bit more like what we see on PC where I can still go back and run my old Quake and Doom games, but then I can also see the best 4K games coming out."

That last bit is especially notable in light of the fact that today Eurogamer's Digital Foundry reports, based on unnamed but trusted sources, that Sony's R&D department is prototyping a device known as the "PlayStation 4K."

Digital Foundry's full report is worth reading, as it explores the technical reasons why a more powerful PlayStation 4 console that's capable of rendering games in native 4K "at the same quality title as current 1080p titles" seems impossible.

Sony has now sold well over 36 million PlayStation 4 consoles since the platform's November 2013 debut. Earlier that year, platform architect Mark Cerny walked Gamasutra through the nuts and bolts of the PlayStation 4's development process.

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