The days of expansion slots and RAM upgrades for consoles are long gone, but quite a number of sources have told Kotaku that Sony are preparing an updated and significantly more powerful version of the PlayStation 4.
This upgrade would entail a major overhaul of the APU at the heart of the console, and while nothing was mentioned of an upgrade to the eight core CPU side of this chip, a GPU upgrade is mooted to allow the console to run games at 4K, which pushes resolutions to four times the size of 1080p. That added GPU power would also be a major boon for the PlayStation VR and developers who have to be able to maintain an absolute minimum of 60 frames per second, or be rejected.
However, 4K gaming also requires a serious jump in power and you have to ask if it’s even feasible for the PS4’s price point. Elsewhere at GDC, AMD have been showing off and talking about a huge leap in performance for their next GPU architecture. Codenamed Polaris 10 and 11, the lower powered Polaris 11 was demoed while running VR content at 4K resolutions – whether this was a game isn’t clear – and did so without a fan cooling it.
I did get to see AMD's Polaris 11 GPU running PASSIVELY while playing back 4K VR content last night. Pretty impressive. #AMDCapsaicin
— Ryan Shrout (@ryanshrout) March 15, 2016
Of course, whether or not this is really on the cards is another matter entirely. The many millions of PlayStation 4 owners out there are not accustomed to hardware improvements beyond superficial redesigns that shrink a console in size, so Sony would potentially face a major backlash if they were to go ahead with a new console within this particular generation, especially if games could then start to be developed exclusively for the newer hardware, as with Nintendo’s “New” 3DS.
Similarly, Phil Spencer was quick to step away from the notion that Microsoft were considering moving to an iterative model for the Xbox, aping PCs and phones. He said, “Am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console? That’s not our plan.”
Naturally, when Kotaku asked Sony about this, they replied, “We can’t comment on rumors or speculation.”