That rumored new version of Sony’s Playstation 4 console, dubbed “Playstation 4.5” or “Playstation Neo” out here on the internet, is indeed a thing, Sony has confirmed. But don’t expect to be introduced to it anytime soon.
According to a report from Financial Times, Sony has confirmed its new Playstation, uh, thing, codenamed “Neo,” and given a few details. The company also said that it won’t be unveiling the new machine at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016 (E3), the super-big video game convention that happens every year in Los Angeles and is kicking off next week.
The Financial Times story says the Neo will support 4K resolution games and that it’ll be “intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4,” according to Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House. That makes it sound like an upgrade to the existing Playstation 4.
If you’re thinking it sounds weird that Sony making a new console only three years after launching the Playstation 4, and wondering whether enough people are going to have 4K TVs to support it, you’re probably right. What seems much, much more likely is that Neo isn’t really about upgrading games to 4K, but about virtual reality. Sony’s Playstation VR is coming out toward the end of the year, potentially offering a low-cost entry into the medium as compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, both of which require a pretty high-end computer to play them. Sony releasing a VR headset that can take advantage of all the PS4s already in living rooms around the world could be a major contender.
Trouble is, the Playstation 4 probably isn’t powerful enough to supply a really great VR experience. Playstation VR may still work on Playstation 4, apparently, but bet that the Neo is the machine that’s really built to handle virtual reality games. Sony may well be banking pretty hard on VR taking off—enough to think it both needs to and can sell a new game machine this early in the Playstation 4’s life cycle.