Editor’s note: You’re about to discover Neo’s opinion on the PS4 Neo, and I’m almost 87% sure he’s not just openly biased because they (very suspiciously) share a name. Chris has his own feelings about Sony’s controversial PS4 upgrade, and when you’re done here you should read his thoughts too, because life’s all about balance.
What follows is my opinion of course, but I do believe that with so many “gamers” up in arms about the PlayStation 4 “Neo” (or PS4.5), we are forgetting (or more accurately, failing) to think rationally.
Understanding what has recently happened with technology and economics has everything to do with why the PS4 Neo was and remains a sensible decision for Sony, despite the outcry from consumers. Let’s look at the logic behind it all.
More often than not, we tend to come to vicious conclusions based solely on our own personal perspectives when it comes to the products we like or don’t like. It’s completely understandable, since we’re the ones spending hard-earned cash on these products. However, given that Sony is offering a new, upgraded console with better capabilities at exactly the same price as the old unit, we shouldn’t be complaining as much as we are.
Let’s be clear about one thing: we are owed the functionality and capabilities of the product we buy as advertised and as promised. There’s no two ways about that. What isn’t promised, however, is that for any given amount of time, we are entitled to have the best version of that product. I don’t recall Microsoft or Sony ever making that promise about any of their products, at least within the console space.
The announcement or rumour (I can’t tell what it is at present) in no way takes away from the current PS4. Your console doesn’t cease to function, nor will it offer an inferior experience because a superior version has arrived. The games that were coming to the PS4 and are presently on the system remain unchanged. So the question is: where exactly have we been wronged?
Why is it that many of us feel compelled to dislike or speak poorly against a product which by and large doesn’t affect us in any way, shape or form? Let’s consider for a moment the automobile industry. When your chosen car manufacturer releases an updated model they don’t owe you an explanation as to why there’s a much-improved 2016 edition. If you were happy with your car the day before, then you should still be happy with it today.
Technology must progress and it’s a nonsensical argument to take issue with Sony being in the business of technological advancement. Consider as well that during the console’s lifespan Sony wants to sell as many PS4s as possible. With each unit sold, the cost to produce them is driven down, pretty much how consoles have worked all along. How does it make sense then that when the technology is available to not only reduce cost, but also provide a better experience, that the company must continue to manufacture an older, less-capable product?
When new notebooks, graphics cards, CPUs, hard drives, monitors and other PC hardware make their way to the market, we are more than willing to accept them, but somehow when it comes to consoles, this should work differently? Why is that exactly? Why are consoles exempt from what every other system and cycle within the technological space experiences? Smartphones are refreshed annually, yet it’s rare to find anyone up in arms at the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S7, when the Galaxy S6 still feels so new. It’s an absurd complaint to have, particularly when Sony revealed that there won’t be any PS4 Neo-exclusive titles and that the new unit will retail for the same $399. If you’re buying a console in 2016, then it makes sense that it houses relevant technology for 2016. Manufacturing processes have improved, we have new nodes and we have a better, more efficient, cooler and potentially cheaper architecture that can service exactly the same titles and more.
Think of the original NES, which was available in Europe from late 1986 and the SNES that followed in 1992. Those were entirely different systems with zero compatibility and with exclusives on either side. That isn’t what we’re dealing with here. As fans, we can say how much we love our video games and the consoles on which we play them. We can reminisce on how both the NES and the SNES have a special place in our childhood memories (because for some reason every gamer on the Internet seems to have been around at least in the early ‘80s to have formed these fond memories), yet we forget that those two systems arrived in Europe within a few years of each other. Zero compatibility, different price tags and effectively nothing at all in common. One was superior, the other inferior. I doubt there were many complaints at the time.
I don’t own a PS4, but when this updated model releases I’ll pick it up for sure. I’ll put the games and improved technology first, well ahead of my perceived right to bottleneck progress by insisting on having the “best” hardware in 2016 – the same old hardware a $399 investment would’ve bought me back in 2013.