PS4 Pro: Is 1080p vs 4K Graphics Differences Big Enough To Justify Another $399 Expense In 3 Years?
Stop calling it PlayStation Neo – it's PS4 Pro, and it's the latest entry in the PlayStation family together with a brand new PS4 releasing on September 15. Opposite to this model, PS4 Pro will be powerful enough to run at 4K graphics (not native, clarification awaited from Sony), both upgrading currently existing games and moving new dedicated experiences, with a few bells and whistles. We must say Sony didn't introduce new games made thanks to the power of PS4 Pro. They just let people see what the already known titles such as PS4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn and multi-platforms Mass Effect Andromeda and Watch Dogs 2 will be able to do, often comparing the new version with the older for the regular PS4 model.
Everything That Happened At PlayStation Meeting
First, the Japanese platform holder held a brief presentation for PS4, the new PlayStation 4 model which once upon a time we used to call PlayStation 4 Slim. It doesn't hold the "Slim" subtitle as it will be the sole PS4 base model to remain on the market in a matter of weeks and months, even though the official name is "PlayStation 4 Slimmer and Lighter". It's releasing at the very sweet price of $299, $100 less than 2013's launch price, and has a 500GB hard drive with a good -30% in size and -16% in weight. A brand new DualShock 4 will be part of the bundle, as it featuring a light at the sides of the touchpad and supports a better USB port allowing you to play while it is connected to the console. A vertical stand can be bought on its own at $19,99.
Then, SIE Andrew House announced PlayStation Neo would be called PS4 Pro and let the stage to the tech lover and Hideo Kojima personal friend Mark Cerny – yes, the one that introduced PlayStation 4 back in the days and, yes, the one that built Knack. Before he did that, anyway, he added that PS4 Pro will offer double the performances PS4 currently has on offer, which means a confirmation when it comes to this new consoles' rumored specs – around 4 teraflops. This, again, is a confirmation about Project Scorpio being much more powerful than this machine, coming in at around 6 teraflops in late 2017.
Cerny added technical details such as HDR support, which will be included in a software update for all the PlayStation 4 models out there next week, and native 4K gaming, providing a few examples of the games that will be updated to support those technologies. He briefly discussed PlayStation VR games running smoother and more detailed, but nothing substantial and, to be honest, we were surprised virtual reality was cited when the headset is releasing for standard PS4 models in one month. His speech wasn't as effective as actual games managed to be, as titles like Ubisoft's For Honor, Insomniac Games' Spider-Man and Horizon: Zero Dawn had a brilliant look noticeably taking advantage of PS4 Pro raw power. Mass Effect Andromeda (which we've never seen running in real time) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare looked pretty good, too, but we'll need to wait and see how current-gen versions will be before we can provide a proper judgment about their graphics.
All in all, anyway, the real win Sony brings home is once again about price and release date. PS4 Pro will be available on November 10, 2016, while its (supposed) direct competitor Project Scorpio won't launch until late 2017. Who cares about the fact Project Scorpio will be more powerful by 2 teraflops? It's a matter of a console which is releasing this year and one that won't be ready until 2017. So it's around 4 teraflops against nothing until next year comes and Microsoft unleashes its beast. By that time, for what matters and for what we know, Sony might be already working on another PS4 version to release in line with the smartphone/tablet business model.
Moreover, price is a great factor when you think about the reasons why Sony might be the most successful out there, one more time. PS4 Pro comes in at $399, which is the same price of PlayStation 4 back in 2013. We don't know concretely what's in it yet, but launching already in 2016 a 4K capable living room hardware looks a kind of magic. And definitely something that will put a lot of pressure on Microsoft, which will have a more powerful hardware next year but a more expensive one as well, and they'll just need to figure out how to stay as close as they can to the $399 price tag Sony has imposed today.
It's so early to tell who's won and who's lost, only time will tell that, of course, and there are still a few factors about PS4 Pro we'll need to understand before we can say that – how currently existing and newly released games will look like on PS4 Pro when this is not connected to a 4K/HDR compatible TV? Sony was all "don't worry, you'll see a difference anyway", and I know for sure there will be a noticeable difference between current gen and "next" gen versions, but will this be big enough to justify another $399 expense in three years?