E3 2016 - 4K "NEO" PS4 and PSVR will dominate Sony's press conference

With E3 just around the corner, both of the biggest players in the console market are gearing up to make some big announcements. While they're obviously trying to keep things quiet, it can be hard to keep big hardware launches under wraps in this day and age. So today we're going to take a look at what we can expect from Sony's E3 conference.

PlayStation VR

Sony's E3 conference will likely be dominated by virtual reality. The company already announced their jump into the VR market back at GDC. While the formal announcement is already out of the way, we expect to see a lot more titles demoed on stage, and a more in-depth look at the hardware itself.

It's possible that Sony may announce that the PlayStation VR will be compatible with the PC. Sony has already commented that they may consider doing this sometime in the future. The main reason cited was because the PS4 internals are already so closely related to a PC that it would make it entirely possible.

PlayStation 4.5 Codename NEO

The NEO is likely to be the press conference's highlight. Rumors have been floating around for months about Sony's new 4K PS4. Sony's biggest challenge here will be in explaining exactly what the new console is, and why owners of the current PS4 will not be forgotten when it comes out.

The NEO console is said to be a considerably more powerful version of the same PS4 that we know and love. The idea behind it is that you will be able to play games at a much higher resolution, and with higher quality graphics, than you would on the original console.

PlayStation 4.5 "NEO" – What you need to know

Sony is said to be requiring all future games to have two separate modes. One will be the classic PS4 "Base Mode," which is exactly the same thing that you get today. The "NEO mode" will give the developers room to increase graphics settings to their liking. This will include up to 4K resolutions, but all games in NEO mode must run at a minimum of 60FPS.

Essentially, the NEO console will simply make your PS4 games look better than they would on the original console. Every game released will still play on the original PS4, so you don't have to worry about being locked out of exclusives, just because you don't have the latest console.

The Future of PlayStation

I think that Sony and Microsoft are both heading in a completely new direction with this generation of consoles. I think we're seeing the very last major console releases. I mentioned this in my piece yesterday on the Xbox press conference.

Sony's rumored "NEO" and "Base" modes for future games is a telling sign that they want to start treating console games more like PC games. PC developers don't program their games for very specific hardware like they do for consoles. Since PCs are so uniform, older computers can still run games well after their prime. If a PC gamer wants to know if a game will run on their system, they can simply check out the minimum specs given by the developer. If their machine doesn't meet those requirements, then they know that they'll need to upgrade to play.

I think that Sony's new 4K "NEO" PS4 will be the first of a new generation of incremental updates to the PlayStation line. I think that Sony will continue to work with the x86 architecture, and simply release new versions of the PlayStation that are compatible with the previous ones. All of the controllers and accessories will carry over to the PS5, PS6, and so on. When you go to pick up a game, it will have a set of system requirements. You might see that you need a minimum of an original PS4 to run the game, but to get the best experience, it might recommend a PS6.

This would allow customers to hold onto their hardware for longer, while also having the option to get better performance, if they want to shell out the money.

Sony is hosting their press conference on Monday, June 13 at 6pm PT. We will be on-site covering E3 all next week, so stay tuned.