My intention with this article is just to write my thoughts down somewhere before the meeting actually happens and we’ll see tomorrow if any of them hold true. If I’m proven wrong so be it, that’s part of the fun.
At this point I am speculating. I don’t base them on anything concrete, just bits and pieces I have read on the internet this year which I will try to explain as I go on.
Where’s the excitement of a big PlayStation event if we don’t have a guess at what might happen!
When and Where
The 2016 PlayStation meeting takes place in New York tomorrow (7th of September) at:
- UK: 8 pm BST
- EU: 9pm CEST
- US: 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET
- AUS: September 8th at 5am AEST
It is not open the pubic, only journalists. However it will be streamed live on the PlayStation EU blog. You can watch it here when it begins.
I will also be helping to update the live text feed on Reddit for the PlayStation Meeting. Ideal for those who are at work as it is text based. I would love to see you there!
What I Expect Sony to Talk About
On the press invitation apparently all it says is “We hope to see you there, and we can’t wait to share details with you about the PlayStation business”. So they are not giving away much there.
Yesterday there was mention on the Korean PlayStation site that there would be an announcement about the price and date of a new PlayStation, but it wasn’t specified which one.
The page appears to have been removed since it just forwards back to the main page: http://www.playstation.co.kr/news/46233
I expect Sony to talk about both the new PS4 Slim and PlayStation Neo.
There have been rumours going around for a while now that there may be a new handheld device in the works. So I wouldn’t be totally shocked if this happened, but there is something else I think that would be more likely. I will explain below.
Lets get the easier console out of the way first.
I think that PS4 slim will be aimed at casual gamers. With an improved version of PlayStation 4 coming out, I don’t know why a serious gamer would opt for a PS4 silm over a PlayStation Neo. But it is perfect for someone who only plays occasionally.
I can remember when PlayStation 1 dropped in price so much it was cheaper to buy one than a CD player practically. People were shocked that it could be sold so cheaply. Everyone and his dog bought one.
I think this is what the aim of PS4 silm is. There are already 40 million PS4 users, to expand that number further it makes sense to appeal to people who’s first hobby is not gaming.
I think the shock move here will be to price the PS4 Silm at £199.99. Below £200 is that magical price point where it suddenly looks really cheap. When it will catch the eye of people wanting to pick up a gift for their brother/sister/younger child/parent that needs a blu-ray player.
If you put a little effort in to your shopping, it’s been possible to pick up a PS4 for less than £250 for a while now. So I don’t believe this is out of the way.
I would be very shocked if the PS4 slim went on sale for more than £250.
Perhaps it will even appeal to the person who has tried a demo of PlayStation VR in a shop. Who has never been a gamer, but thought VR was amazing. Who wants the cheapest entry point possible, because they don’t know how much they will play.
Thanks to the recent leaks and PS4 Slim turning up in on Gumtree, in CEX shops and a special thanks(?) to @shortmaneighty2 on Twitter, I don’t think there will be many more surprises about PS4 Slim. Many facts seem to be known.
We can see from the pictures it still only has two USB ports. The power and eject buttons have been moved and are no longer touch buttons.
We can also see the harddisk bay has been moved to the back of the console and it no longer has an optical audio port.
The packaging shows us it will have a 500GB harddrive. Some people are speculating that there will be many harddrive sizes. I don’t think there will be. I think the idea is to keep it cheap.
PS3 had many disc sizes and trying to pick which one was good value to buy was a nightmare. I don’t see them repeating this mistake (or I don’t want them to). But has it happened in the past I am sure I could be proven wrong!
We know there is a new Dualshock 4 controller. It appears to have a light on the front because the touchpad has a transparent slit in the plastic, which lets the light from the light bar below shine through:
Whether or not there is a purpose to this lightbar of whether it’s just some extra shininess remains to be seem. Initially I thought perhaps it was to allow the PS4 camera to track the other side of the controller. But it seems rather small for that and probably quite dim.
I don’t think the the final name for PlayStation Neo will be PlayStation Neo. Just like the final name of PlayStation VR was not Project Morpheus. Sony appear to be naming their new products after characters in The Matrix before they come onto the market.
I have no clues what the new name will be. I don’t think it will be PS4.5. Something about the point five in the name makes it feel incomplete, or like a stop gap. PS4k had a much better ring to it. But I don’t think that will be the name either.
Perhaps it will be something more descriptive? PlayStation VR was a very functional name.
I expect it will probably be capable of 4k video streaming on services like Netflix and will probably be capable of playing 4k blu rays. It seems quite mad that PS4 does not support 4k TVs at their native resolution when they have been around for quite a while now.
I don’t think it will be capable of playing games at a 4k resolution. I think this because of the following Digital Foundry video.
It’s an interesting watch if you haven’t already seen it. In the video they built a PC as close as possible to the leaked specs of PlayStation Neo. Then tested what resolutions and frame rates they could get out of it.
It’s the kind of thing I would dream of doing but would never have the cash to try on a whim! I’m glad Digital Foundry are there to do it for us.
Keeping to the theme of what Neo could do in regards to new TVs, I think it will support HDR in some form and 10bit colour.
Firstly the new xbox does this already, so Sony would be at a disadvantage if they didn’t.
Secondly I know developers want it too.
Thirdly, I have been trying to replace my TV recently. When trying to work out if I needed to drop a lot of cash on a HDR, Dolby Vision, Ultra HD Premium monstrosity, I started researching AMD Polaris.
I came across this video filmed at CES 2016, talking about power consumption and more importantly showing the difference between standard graphics and those using HDR.
I feel that the difference between standard graphics and those using HDR, might be more of an impressive jump than the difference between looking at HD and 4K at a normal distance.
What I have learned from researching this topic extensively is that in order for HDR processing to be effective, then it needs to be displayed on a screen that can support 10bit colour, as well as having a very high level of contrast.
When I say 10bit colour, you might be thinking ‘great, what’s so important about that?’. I will try to explain.
Most TVs now use 8bit colour based of a standard called Rec. 709, which was finalised in the 1990s. 8bit screens can display millions of colours. 10bit screens as based on a newer standard called Rec 2020 which was designed more recently in 2012 and can display over a billion colours.
Having this extra range of colour I think will make an enormous difference. A few million colours vs over a billion. The closer the range of colours displayed is to the range a human eye can naturally see, the more realistic the picture.
Perhaps in the future we will have images in games that feel more like looking out of a window than looking at a TV screen.
As you can probably tell I am quite enthused about this topic! We have just reached the point now where 10bit screens are becoming affordable in consumer TVs. I plan to write about this topic in much more detail in the future.
I think that Neo will come out in Q1 or Q2 of 2017. I don’t think it will be released at the same time as PlayStation VR. It gives Sony no time of cash in on pre-orders and many people’s wallets won’t be ready at short notice.
It would also dilute the statement that PSVR will work fine with an ordinary or slim PS4.
There was also this document. When Giant Bomb originally leaked that there was a PlayStation Neo, this is supposedly the document they based their article on.
In that document it talks about the ‘10,000 foot view’. It has a timeline under that heading, showing when various dev kits will be phased in and out. The last one is being phased out in April 2017.
Now, there are a number or ways to interpret that timeline. Just because that is when a dev kit is being phased out, does not mean to say that is when final hardware will come out. They could run along side. However my guess is that Neo will come out, just before the last dev kit on that page is being phased out.
When Sony talk about VR in regards to Neo in this press conference (which I think they might not too much, as they will want it to be seen as something non-VR gamers want too), I don’t think they will be pushing the issue of frame rate with PlayStation VR.
I think they will sell it on more detailed graphics, better anti-aliasing and just being prettier in general. If they mention frame rate it will play on the worry that a standard PS4 is not good enough.
There could be other features like solid state harddrives etc. I hope not. A harddrive is very easy to change. A large SSD would push the price up a lot. A small one may be more of a hindrance than a benefit. I filled my 500GB drive a long time ago!
I don’t have a price prediction for PlayStation Neo. Just a deep hope that it will be something that is affordable.
I heard a rumour there will be a trade in scheme for American’s old PS4s, backed by Sony at Gamestop. Whether or not that is true, I don’t think there will be any trade in scheme for us in the UK. Definitely not a Sony backed on anyway. Maybe a GAME rip off one.
I would like to think there are going to be some surprises. Perhaps a twist to this tale. Some out of the box thing up Sony’s sleeve that they have managed to keep quiet. We shall see tomorrow!
IGN reported yesterday that Sony want to “aggressively enter the mobile market after the success of Pokémon Go”. This suggests that they will be making more smartphone apps/games.
The article states:
Hirai makes pretty clear why that’s the case: “Pokémon Go is a real game-changer,” he explained. “I’m very interested in the fact that it has the potential to really change the way people move, literally.”
Could we be looking at augmented reality PlayStation games in the future? I think that could be pretty exciting. While I did have a brief attempt at playing Pokémon Go and enjoyed having a reason to be outside, I found the game pretty boring itself. I would love to see if PlayStation can better that, as I have always preferred their games to Nintendo ones.
Perhaps one day I will get to run around town, jumping on things and collecting Wumpa fruit, with my own personal Aku Aku on my phone.
It could start to get weird if they venture into the mobile VR market though.
I just hope they can make apps a bit more reliable than the current PS4 apps. Though they have vastly improved since they were first released and the companion app is devilishly clever. They are still a bit bloaty and sometimes my messages don’t come through.
This makes more sense to me than creating a new handheld device. Especially after the lack of love and attention Sony have given to the PS Vita.
A Unlikely Dream
Update 07/09/2016 02:36
Though I wrote about it on Reddit, I forgot to write about what I hope for here. I would love it if the thing Sony pulls out of it’s sleeve (pun intended), is the VR glove!
There have been many reports of a patent for a VR glove being filed.
How exciting would it be someone came out on stage wearing this?
Many people have been complaining that the move controller has not be redesigned. If there was a glove coming, that would be a fantastic reason not to redesign the controller! It would be completely unnecessary.
I’m not a move controller hater, far from it. I have been an advocate of motion games since PS2. But I am very tired of hearing others complain bout the move controllers.
Those are my Guesses, What about Yours?
These are my predictions. What are yours? Let me know on Twitter here, or by using the form below 🙂
Predictions from Visitors
September 7th 5:12pm dryrain writes:
A well written comprehensive article. The price point for the slim model I still can not see it dropping below the £250 mark but £199 would be a good selling point. With the Xbox still staying at £250 I think it will stay on par with Microsoft. At that price it can be dropped with special offers at £199 they have no where to move.
I like the idea of the Neo and you explained it well about the 8bit/10bit point. Sony must really love the Matrix films, I wonder what character they will use next for their project? I kind of like the name Neo for the system but I guess they will probably change that.
The release date I think will be sooner just because Sony made a point of saying that they would not announce the Neo and then wait for it to be released at a much later date, like Microsoft have done. I can see it launching mid November which of course creates a problem with the launch of the PSVR. Asking comsumer to fork out the best part of £800 for Neo and PSVR is a big ask. If they wait till March/April next year they are competing with Nintendo. I can see your reasoning with your launch dates. Its a tough one for Sony.
One thing made me sad about your article the bit you wrote about the Vita. I like the Vita even with its faults its a great little machine which Sony only ever seemed to half support. I guess the Vita just came at a time where smart phones became bigger and better and tablets really took off. Vita could no longer stand out. Its a fanastic product though
Thank you for taking the time to write in dryrain! 🙂 It’s great to hear your thoughts. You could be right about the slim console dropping below £250, but I am going to stick with my optimistic prediction.
Saddath on Reddit suggested that it could be Sony are more interested in Greek gods than Matrix characters. So that’s another possibility.
I agree that asking the consumer for £800 for both PSVR and Neo in one hit is a big ask (that’s if Neo comes in at the same price as a launch PS4 not more!). But if it does come out in November as you suggest, then it does have the advantage for being out for Christmas. I think I would have to think very carefully if about buying it if it is so soon.
I’m sorry my comments about Vita made you feel sad. I don’t have anything against the idea of a portable gaming machine, I was a very early adopter of the first PSP. But if they made another there are many improvements I would like to see, especially in regards to ergonomics.
I felt a bit excluded from the Vita community as I cannot use one for any great length of time. So from that perspective I would prefer to see mobile games, unless it’s improved.
Only an hour now until we find out what’s what!
I will be helping to update the live text feed on Reddit for the PlayStation Meeting, I hope to see you there 🙂