Sponsored By

PS4 Pro: Mixed Reactions and Complications for Consumers

In an attempt to change how the industry views console cycles, the PS4 Pro has been met with mixed reactions, and has introduced new complications for consumers.

Jake Parmley, Blogger

October 5, 2016

4 Min Read

Set for release later this year, Sony’s PS4 Pro marks a rare occasion where consoles will be joined by a more powerful version in the middle of a lifespan. In attempts to change how the industry views console cycles, the Pro has been met with mixed reactions, and has introduced new complications for consumers.

4K Gaming? - Not Exactly

The PS4 Pro doesn't’t quite offer the 4K gaming leap gamers were hoping for. In fact, the PS4 Pro offers no mention of native 4K gaming. Instead, games will be rendered at lesser resolutions, then upscaled. To accomplish this, Sony has built a "checkerboard" upscaling method that allows them to achieve near 4K resolution. However, there's no guarantee developers will utilize this method, which means there's no guarantee of a standardized, effective upscaling technique on the new console.

Sony’s own PS4 Pro disclaimers reveal that “PS4 Pro Enhanced features vary by game” and that “select titles may have enhanced visuals, frame rate, HDR 10 support, or increases in resolution.” This means some games might look barely different from native 4K (the desired effect), while others might look barely different from the familiar 1080p resolution.

Sony also noted that “select features depend on the type of display connected to PS4 Pro,” which introduces the matter of 4K TV. In order to get the most out of the PS4 Pro’s extra muscle, consumers will need to invest in not-so-cheap 4K displays. While the combined results of PS4 Pro’s extra muscle, games properly leveraging upscaling techniques, and a 4K display will be impressive - consumers will need to decide if the results are worth the risk and cost. 

High Dynamic Range

The PS4 Pro’s second selling point is High Dynamic Range technology. HDR serves up a wider range of colors and higher contrast ratios, which can create more vivid and detailed games. This feature can make a huge impact, but you'll need a compatible TV to run HDR. While HDR was first announced as a feature unique to the PS4 Pro, Sony’s own Mark Cerny quickly doused the PS4 Pro’s HDR hype-flame by confirming all existing PS4s will receive HDR support via firmware update.

It’s worth noting that HDR on regular PS4s likely won't be as impressive as on the PS4 Pro. This is largely because the older consoles output at lower resolutions - meaning there simply aren't as many pixels to show off HDR's colorful improvements. Even still, the fact that current PS4s support one of Pro’s main selling points slightly diminishes new the consoles stature as a significant step forward.

Mixed Reactions

The reception of the PS4 Pro after its unveiling event in NY last month was mixed, if not a bit negative. This marks the first time during the current console generation that Sony and PlayStation have faced real, sustained scrutiny from the gaming community.

For Sony, the Pro's visual improvements could be difficult to sell to consumers, considering how gaming news and reviews are consumed. Twitch streams and YouTube videos don't have the fidelity needed to display subtle graphical improvements - let alone transitions to 4K.

It’s likely true that the “highly discriminating gamers” Sony CEO Andrew House referenced during the reveal will have trouble settling for standard 1080p after seeing for themselves what’s possible on the PS4 Pro. However, many consumers may not experience the PS4 Pro in person, therefore may fail to appreciate the additional clarity and detail.

While the Pro does offer exciting new possibilities, it has been met with mixed reactions, and has introduced new complications for consumers. We’ll find out if mid-generation upgrades are substantial enough to change the console cycle when the PS4 Pro launches on November 10, for $399.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like