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PS4 Neo: Why A High-Spec PlayStation Should Worry All Fans Of Sony's Games And Hardware

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(Photo : SIE/Facebook) PS4 Neo could be on the market by the end of the year, and we think that's bad news for PlayStation fans. Game compatibility issues and spec discrepancies breed too many unavoidable problems. Sony has not officially revealed the Neo, but it's confirmed to exist.

PS4 Neo and PS4K rumors have been buzzing since E3, and all PlayStation fans are restless with positive or negative anticipation. Given what we know so far, here are five reasons why all consumers of Sony games should be worried about high-spec hardware.

1) Compatibility Issues

With the arrival of PS4 Neo comes a second sku of hardware that every single game must be optimized for. That process is a lot easier than in past generations thanks to the widespread adoption of X86 architecture, but that doesn't mean it's guaranteed to be errorless. In fact, it seems almost inevitable that at some point in time a certain game is going to run like garbage on one system version but not the other. Even those with the more powerful variation could be impacted.

There's plenty of evidence to support this scenario. PC builds of many triple-A titles launch in semi-broken states due to poor optimization in development. Possibly even more applicable is the case of Nintendo's New 3DS. Even with a significantly closed hardware setup, "Hyrule Warriors Legends" runs terribly on the standard handheld. The PS4 Neo leaves every single game vulnerable to similar shortcomings.

2) Delays, Delays, Delays

In order to ensure that compatibility issues don't arise across either system, every game that releases on PlayStation platforms will now have to spend more time in testing phases because it must function well on two systems instead of one. Ultimately, this means that titles will have to be in development for longer than they were before. It's hard to say how drastic this production change will be without insider knowledge, but it's going to happen regardless.

In a console generation that's already comically full of delays, extra testing brought on by the PS4 Neo makes them even more likely in the future. It means we'll have to wait even longer for the experiences that we want to play. That's not fun for anyone.

3) It Hurts The Loyal PlayStation Base

The folks most likely to be miffed by the confirmation of the PS4 Neo are those that already invested in the standard system model. Over the past three years, dedicated PlayStation fans have made the PS4 a rousing success partly based on the assumption that their purchase would provide an amazing, top-tier experience for the next few years. That's not exactly true when a higher-spec Neo is just around the corner.


(Photo : Ben A. Pruchnie/Stringer)

The major point being that causing any discomfort to that massive existing customer base isn't a great strategy. It puts a huge blemish on consumer loyalty, and that can have a huge impact on the brand moving forward. Early adopters have turned PS4 into the behemoth that it is, but the console space is an exceptionally fickle one. Angering devotees now is a solid excuse for Xbox adoption later.

4) It Sets A Dangerous Precedent

All of these mid-gen console refreshes potentially set a rather dangerous precedent for the industry. The more folks that buy into the PS4 Neo or Xbox One Scorpio, the more hardware makers are getting the message that it's OK to release updated hardware at a faster rate.

That signal gives them incentive to possibly push the boundaries further later on. Sony and Microsoft are both saying that "nobody will get left behind" with these revisions, but every Neo sold is an encouragement to break that promise and make our standard console purchases less valuable. If enough Neos are sold, it's inevitable that Neo-exclusive games will be released. That means a green light for shorter console lifecycles and more money spent on hardware. That scenario may not play out, but it's now a possibility.

5) Marketing Mistrust Fiasco

Consoles like the PS4 Neo will also drastically change how games are marketed. Typically when we watch a Sony-sponsored trailer or gameplay demo, we trust in the fact that what we're seeing is being played on a PS4. That will still be true, but future titles will assumingly be marketed predominantly on Neo because its higher specs will offer better performance. That basically means we may not see what a game looks like on a standard PS4 until launch day.

This scenario is yet another unavoidable PR nightmare. It means that any promotional material for any game won't reflect the visuals that millions of consumers will actually get. It breeds mistrust and begs for crowded graphics downgrade threads at launch. It's a problem that Sony will have to confront, and there aren't many good ways to do so. To any Sony fan, no PR problem is a good one.

Do you think PlayStation fans should be concerned about the PS4 Neo? Will Sony games and hardware suffer? Tell us in the poll and comments section!


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