JUNE 10, 2016 • Sony Interactive Ent. (SIE) president and global chief executive Andrew House has confirmed that a more powerful PlayStation 4 is currently under development. The disclosure came in an interview with the Financial Times. The upgraded PS4 will feature an enhanced graphics capability, support for 4K ultra high definition resolutions and an MSRP above $350. House said the “high-end” model will be targeted at core gamers and mainstream consumers looking for a 4K TV delivery device. In addition, there are no plans to discontinue the existing PlayStation 4 model as each configuration is intended for different consumer segments and will complement each other at retail. House also said that new version of the system will not be marketed as VR-preferred since the PSVR is designed to work well with all PS4s. As for next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, House said the upgraded console would not be promoted.
Impact: There has been talk about the PlayStation 4 “Neo” as developers have been mentioning the updated hardware for months now. The big question remaining is when the new SKU may hit retail. Normally for a major revision such as this, if a fall introduction were intended using E3 as a springboard would be guaranteed. That’s not to say a high-end PS4 will not appear for the holidays, only that it appears less likely. With Microsoft probably not getting its own higher performance Xbox One into stores before 2017, Sony could steal a lot of thunder by beating its rival to market. Plus, doing so would give Sony more leeway to discount the existing PS4 more significantly. Then again, with the continued dominance of the PlayStation 4, perhaps SIE feels no rush getting the Neo out the door. If it were us, however, we would focus on a fall 2016 release. Regardless, one other notable aspect of the Neo is that this will be the first time Sony has introduced a more powerful configuration mid-cycle, which says a great deal about the console business continues to skew further to core gamer sensibilities, as well as competition with the serious increases in PC system component performance necessary to support virtual reality headsets.