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Though the PlayStation 4 is nearly half through it's life, Sony isn't quite done with supporting the PS3 just yet and have issued another update to the aging console for those the no doubt sizable amount of people who still own and play it. Update 4.80 is available either through as a manually installed .pup file or via auto-update.
The update is more of a stability update than anything else, with not mention of any included features or specific fixes that it might address. The last update, firmware 4.76 which was released in January of 2016, was also more of a general stability update with the only other mentioned feature being the discontinuation of support for Facebook integration.
There are still a surprising amount of PS3's in the wild that are actually being used. They are still a viable platform for consuming media and even for playing games. The back catalog of great games is rather large and the ability to play more PSOne classics or PS2-era games via backward compatibility is much appreciated, though that's coming to the PS4 slowly but surely. It is, however, nice to see Sony take the time to address any latent issues in the older console because it likely still sells for them now that they're profitable to manufacture for them. The PlayStation 2 lived on well after the PS3 was released in the guise of a smaller device, which sold well in Japan and in the west. It's a natural move, there are plenty of great games to still play on the PS3 even.
Sony is apparently adamant about upgrading their current console, infusing it with more raw power to tap into so to have better looking games at potentially higher resolutions. But isn't that the same thing as simply creating a new console? One would think, but Sony isn't sure that there ever will be a true PlayStation 5 at all.
Back in February of 2015 it seems that a Lorne Lanning, a veteran in the gaming industry, was able to talk to the president of PlayStation, Shuhei Yoshida, at a private dinner following DICE 2015. The question was raised, rightfully, what a PlayStation 5 might just look like. Yoshida countered with an "if", meaning that such an idea was transitory at best. That answer could also have been technically specific, meaning that they were already working on the PS4.5, or Neo, at the time and that in the short-term there were no certainties regarding a specific generational increase.
Just as Microsoft's approach has changed to be more agile and flexible, so too has Sony realized that with PC hardware evolving at the rate it does, they also do to keep up and ensure playability and interest is maintained. Resolution is unfortunately a topic of great interest to gamers and a source of greater consternation, as of late. It does have an effect on how we experience playing, though perhaps not as great as some would have you believe. But if the two big console makers can't compete in terms of resolution, or in performance at those resolutions, then it could potentially lower their market share. More power also means access to other ways to experience gaming, such as AR, and VR as well as being able to have better looking games at more modest resolutions that play faster.
We only recently reported that Nintendo's next-gen console would be faster than the PS4 by a 'noticeable amount', but what APU or GPU would be powering the NX console? An AMD chip, of course.
AMD is powering all of the consoles right now, with APUs inside of the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U. The next-gen Nintendo NX console being powered by an APU or GPU from AMD comes as no surprise, but it'll be interesting if it's powered by their next-gen 14nm Polaris architecture.
During the RTG event in Sonoma late last year, I actually asked AMD that question - whether their new GPU would power any next-gen consoles. AMD said they couldn't elaborate, but it makes sense. 14nm provides a cooler operating system, with an improved punch in performance, and less power draw - another notch on the belt of reduced heat, and noise.
With E3 2016 right around the corner, it should come as no surprise that next-gen consoles could be a thing - a huge reveal of the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation - possibly, according to a GameSpot executive.
GameSpot COO Tony Bartel talked at the GameStop Investor/Analyst Day briefing in Texas, where he said that the launch of at least some of these next-gen consoles "seem[s] imminent". Bartel didn't say which consoles, but with the constant flow of rumors on Nintendo's next-gen console, and the PlayStation 4.5 all but confirmed, it looks like we should be excited for the next couple of months.
Bartel said: "Although we have not modeled extensive growth for new innovation in this presentation, we are very pleased to see the introduction of technology like virtual reality and rumored new console launches, some of which seem imminent".
2016 could be a year when Nintendo comes out with a console that beats the half-assed 'next-gen' console offerings by Microsoft and Sony, which quickly became 'oh so they made them 10% faster than last-gen' units with its next-gen NX console.
According to the latest rumors, the Nintendo NX console is faster than the PS4 "by a noticeable amount" - and it's not just in graphical power - this is in the NX's GPU, CPU, and RAM. The new rumors have a 'tier 4' ranking assigned to them, which means they've got multiple sources backing up the rumor.
The new T4 rumor says that NX is faster than the PS4 "by a noticeable amount" but the sources don't know the clock speeds, or what type of memory the NX console will use. The CPU is said to be 15-30% faster than the PS4, and that a next-gen Zelda is "100% confirmed".
The next PlayStation 4 update is almost here, landing tomorrow, April 6th. System Software Update 3.5, codenamed Musashi, brings about some more social functions that should better allow you to play with your friends when they're online. The video below highlights some of the things you can look forward to in the newest update.
You'll now have the ability to actually appear offline even when you're perusing and doing other things, or just don't want to be bothered with play requests while going through a particularly tough part of Dark Souls III.
There's also a new notification system when friends are online, and you're able to quickly join a game with your friends when they're already in an online multiplayer session. One feature that they've added that's actually quite useful in its simplicity is being able to check on the status of the various PSN services. There's plenty more they added and you check out the whole list and descriptions of those features below. It's an incremental update, but if we're waiting on a PlayStation 4.5 that's 4K capable, then further updating will be in the works too.
With the rumors that Sony will be releasing a more powerful version of its PlayStation 4 console, and our sources saying it'll happen later this year, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has now talked about a hardware upgrade for the Xbox One. But, it won't be happening.
Spencer says that Microsoft doesn't want to offer smaller, incremental upgrades to their console, but instead, they want to give gamers "substantial" upgrades. During Microsoft's Build Conference, Spencer said: "I don't know anything about any of the PS4K rumours that are out there,but I can understand other teams' motivations to do that. For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it's reliable, the servers are doing well. If we're going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people - an upgrade".
Maybe we can expect a next-gen Xbox sooner, rather than later, eh?
We've been hearing about the purported PlayStation 4.5 for a couple of weeks now, but more and more sources are jumping onto the story claiming they've heard what Sony's new console would be capable of.
We've heard from our own sources, who have confirmed Sony is indeed working on the PS4.5 - but what will it be capable of? I think we'll see AMD provide their new Polaris architecture to Sony in the form of a next-gen APU capable of 4K gaming - but for the rumored $400 price, I really don't think we'll see 4K 60FPS gaming. We'll probably see 4K @ 30FPS, which is good and all - but it's not enough in my opinion.
The PS4.5 will be Sony's surprise Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which will increase physical 4K media playback consumers just like the PS3 did with Blu-ray all those years ago. I'm sure the PS4.5 will be a better console for the PlayStation VR when it's released in October, too. As for the release date, I think we'll see the PS4.5 released in October or November, right in time for the PlayStation VR launch as well as the holiday season.
GDC 2016 - Sony had a killer Game Developers Conference, announcing the $399 price on the PlayStation VR for the PS4, but what did Microsoft have? Well, nothing in the form of new hardware announcements - but the company did just drop the price on the Xbox One to $299 for a "limited time".
The normal price on the Xbox One is $349, with the $50 discount applied for now - but there's no news on if, or when the price will bounce back up to its original price. The discounted Xbox One pricing will include all of the current console bundles at participating retailers across the US.
Not only that, but the Xbox Spring Sale promotional event will also see discounts on a bunch of digital games on PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360 backwards compatible titles. This will kick off on March 22, two days after the Xbox One price was cut, where gamers can grab their game of choice and "save up to 40 to 60 percent off, with some at more than 60 percent off".
There seems to be some substantial information regarding a minor (or fairly major) refresh of Sony's PlayStation 4. In fact, some developers have reportedly told Kotaku that there have been actual discussions behind closed doors about a "PlayStation 4.5" that could include a more powerful GPU for actual 4K gaming.
More than three independent sources in the developer community seem to have been able to confirm the existence of some type of evolution in hardware and design. This information seems to be even more substantiated after a supposed behind-closed-doors meeting from Sony at GDC. And just what does it mean for current owners?
Well, it would be the anti-thesis of what makes a console such a valuable ecosystem. The hardware is similar for a full generation of development, meaning no one has to upgrade to experience their games at the greatest possible settings for that platform. Having different versions, even if one is discontinued, defeats the purpose of the fixed-specification console. This is even in line with Microsoft's want to have upgradable console hardware in the future. The console as we know it, then, might be doomed. Or we could be looking at the definitive next generation, earlier than usual.