PlayStation 4 was the fastest selling system in the history of the PlayStation brand.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Don Reisinger
June 10, 2016

After months of speculation, Sony has finally confirmed that PlayStation 4 will soon have a more powerful sibling.

The company is building a “high-end” PlayStation 4 that will come with support for 4K resolution and better graphics, Sony Interactive Entertainment chief Andrew House said in an interview with the Financial Times on Friday. However, the console will not be show at next week’s E3 annual gaming conference in Los Angeles.

Rumors have been swirling for months that Sony was working on a secretive project codenamed “Neo.” Those rumors suggested that Sony would create a new version of the PlayStation 4, called the PlayStation 4.5. The name suggested that the console wouldn’t be a completely new device, but rather an upgrade that would offer better performance than the current model.

Sony’s PlayStation 4, introduced in 2013, is the most popular console of its generation, topping 40 million unit sales. Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii U and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox One have sold several million units fewer than Sony.

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Still, Sony (SNE), like the others, is facing challenges. For one, 4K-resolution televisions are becoming more affordable and gaining popularity among consumers who want higher-resolution content. The PlayStation 4 is only capable of delivering 1080p resolution, which was fine for 2013, but limiting in 2016. Meanwhile, PC components, including high-end graphics chips, continue to be improved, allowing computer gamers to play the same games available on consoles, but in higher resolution and with better graphical fidelity.

Sony’s move, in other words, is an attempt to keep pace with the market.

That said, Sony has no plans to kill its current PlayStation 4. Instead, House says that the upcoming, higher-end console will “sit alongside and compliment the standard PlayStation 4.” He added in his Financial Times interview that Sony intends to sell both models for the foreseeable future. Developers will be able to create a game for Sony’s PlayStation 4 consoles that should also work on the newer system. On the higher-end version, however, gamers will likely find better graphical performance.

Looking ahead, House wouldn’t say when the new PlayStation 4 would be unveiled, what it’ll be called, or how much it would cost. He did, however, say that the console will be more expensive than the PlayStation 4, which costs $350.

House’s comments come ahead of Microsoft’s keynote address on Monday at E3. That company is also rumored to be working on a higher-end Xbox One, and could unveil the hardware either at the event or soon thereafter. Given House’s comments, it’s possible Sony believes Microsoft will indeed announce a higher-end Xbox One and Sony wanted to beat its chief rival to the punch.

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Sony declined additional comment.

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