Back in January of this year, Microsoft unlocked its seventh CPU core in an effort to improve the performance of the Xbox One console. It looks like Sony has taken a page out of Microsoft's playbook because, according to the PlayStation 4 software changelog, an update to the console is opening up developer access to the seventh core of the CPU.
Sony's optimization of the PS4 aims to improve the performance of games. Even though the Xbox One gets blasted for not frequently matching the PS4 for graphical performance, Sony's console regularly misses the coveted 1080p/60FPS benchmark in major game releases as well. The unlocking of a seventh CPU core for the PS4 will help developers improve performance, but expectations should be tempered. Like the Xbox One, the seventh core will not be fully accessible for games. Developers are expected to have something closer to half of the seventh core available for games, leaving the other half available for the operating system.
The PS4 has received more praise for its GPU than the Xbox One but occasionally catches flak for inconsistency in frame rate performance due to its CPU, an area where the Xbox One actually has an advantage. Opening up a seventh core for the PS4 should allow games played on the console to run a bit smoother going forward. Whether or not previously-released games will see any benefits from this unlock likely relies on developers patching their games to take advantage of the extra power.