Sony to launch new PS4 to cope with VR releases

29 Mar 2016

PS VR headsetimage via Sony/Flickr

Current PS4 owners may be slightly annoyed to hear that their console might not be totally up to the task of handling the incoming wave of virtual reality (VR) games, with Sony planning to release a new-and-improved version of the console.

Despite being compatible, in theory, with the PS4, Sony is concerned that the latest generation console’s hardware might not be capable of handling the processing power required to run a game in a virtual reality world.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the launch of PlayStation VR will create a two-tiered access to games available on the platform, with those looking to play VR games left facing the likelihood of trading in their console, which is less than two years old, for the updated version.

The traditional console release model established by Sony and Microsoft for at least the last two consoles has drawn out a console’s lifespan to as many as seven years, with game developers often forced to adapt games to an older format despite great advancements in technology during that time.

Console manufacturers forced to act

This news, however, would appear to show that the console manufacturers are being forced to act in the face of the growth of PC gaming as a place where high-end, high-performance titles and technological advancements are quickly adaptable.

Despite launching later than the other major VR headset releases like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, Sony hopes that its considerably cheaper price will win over gamers in what is already appearing to be an expensive pursuit, at least for the first generation of headsets.

The official announcement on this ‘PlayStation 4.5’ is likely to be made prior to the release of PS VR this October, according to those within Sony.

While it hasn’t explicitly backed itself behind VR, Microsoft’s Xbox One has simply said that it remains “committed to console innovation”, but the console’s head, Phil Spencer, has said earlier this month that there will be “more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen” in the year ahead.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic