|Sources: The Upgraded PlayStation 4 is Codenamed NEO, Contains Upgraded CPU, GPU, RAM|
Earlier this year, rumors began to fly that Sony would release an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4, a console often called the PS4.5 or the PS4K by fans and press. Today, multiple sources have confirmed for us details of the project, which is internally referred to as the NEO. At time of publishing, Sony has not returned our request for comment.
The NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the original PS4, an improved GPU, and higher bandwidth on the memory. The documents we've received note that the HDD in the NEO is the same as that in the original PlayStation 4, but it's not clear if that means in terms of capacity or connection speed. Starting in October, every PS4 game is required to ship with both a “Base Mode” which will run on the currently available PS4 and a “NEO Mode” for use on the new console.
Games running in NEO mode will be able to use the hardware upgrades (and an additional 512 MiB in the memory budget) to offer increased and more stable frame rate and higher visual fidelity, at least when those games run at 1080p on HDTVs. The NEO will also support 4K image output, but games themselves are not required to be 4K native.
The NEO will not supplant the current PS4, but will exist alongside of it and use the same user environment. The PS4 and NEO will use the same PSN store, connect to the same online communities, and offer the same user experience, so expect to see the same cross media bar that you’re used to. Players will be able to retain all of the purchases they made on the PS4.
Sony seems committed to keeping the NEO and the original PS4 player bases connected. As such, there will be no NEO-only games, and Sony will not let developers separate NEO users from original PS4 players while playing on PSN. Likewise, Sony explicitly and repeatedly states that developers cannot offer exclusive gameplay options or special unlockables for NEO players—so don’t expect NEO owners to get a level editor or a special Rocket League car that you won’t have access to on your original PS4. That said, so long as both systems have the same feature, the NEO can run an improved version. A local co-op game that features four players on the base PS4 could offer an eight player co-op mode on the NEO, for instance.
More at Giant Bomb | Update: Digital Foundry says PS4K-Neo spec leak is genuine, dev kits on their way to devs