Console wars. Console wars never change. The hardware arms race to superiority will forever dominate as the main motivation for any company not named Nintendo, or so it once seemed. Reports from around the game industry have dubbed a new iteration of the Playstation 4 the Playstation 4.5, or possibly Playstation 4K thanks to its upgraded GPU which will be used for 4K visuals and the fancy Playstation VR headset. The fact that the Playstation 4, which is still a relatively beefy system three years post-launch, needs an upgrade reeks of the days of gaming past, when kids had to walk uphill both ways to find an N64 ram pack so they could finally play co-op Perfect Dark.
Needless to say, pundits, hardcore gamers and industry leaders aren’t impressed. Yes, technology is moving faster than ever, but had even a whiff of this been known back when Sony was the altruistic heroes of the Xbox DRM meltdown before the launch of the next-gen systems, most gamers may have saved up their cash for a gaming PC.
Speaking after Microsoft’s Build 2016 keynote address, Xbox head Phil Spencer told Gamespot he doesn’t believe in the piece by piece upgrading of systems, and you won’t be seeing that with the Xbox One.
“I’m not a big fan of Xbox One and a half. If we’re going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers. For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it’s reliable, the servers are doing well. If we’re going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people–an upgrade.”
Of course, this could be the first step in a PC-ified home-gaming experience. One in which gamers will intermittently upgrade their systems and won’t have to shell out $500 every 5-7 years, thus rendering their previous console obsolete. If that’s the case, it will be hard to take the first steps, but Sony could be trailblazing, and that’s never easy to do with the gaming crowd.