Sony’s PlayStation Meeting wrapped up a short while ago, and their next console is finally official. PS4 Neo is now PS4 Pro. It’s not a successor, and the name reinforces that. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing. It’s a mid-generation bump designed to take advantage of all the new shiny 4K TVs everyone is buying.
Let’s cover the basics.
Price and release date – Outside of specs, this is the most important piece of info. PS4 Pro will set you back $399 when it releases on November 10, 2016. It’s a good price point. $100 more than the base PS4 model is a solid deal for folks wanting to get a taste of 4K/HDR gaming.
Specs – Here’s the spec sheet:
One spec that stands out is the lack of UHD Blu-ray support. It’s a head-scratcher for sure. The Xbox One S supports it, and it’s already out. Why doesn’t the PS4 Pro? Maybe Sony had to cut something to get the PS4 Pro out quicker. The new console will support 4K and HDR apps from Netflix and YouTube. But no UHD Blu-ray support. Weird.
A 1TB hard drive will make life a little easier for some gamers. Others will want to have an external lying around on standby.
The GPU is a nice boost, and much of that will be used to get games close to 4K. Sony’s Mark Cerny says brute forcing to that resolution is a challenge for consoles in 2016. Look for developers to mix software techniques to get there.
Games – It’s not just old games. Cerny showed off several games that will take advantage of PS4 Pro’s specs. For Honor and Insomniac’s Spider-Man game were shown. But games that we are already playing like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are also getting the 4K treatment.
Old TVs – What if you want a PS4 Pro, but don’t have a 4K TV yet? Cerny says folks with 1080p sets will also see a boost in how their games look. “Developers are free to tailor the experience to best fit the type of TV you use,” says Cerny. He then showed games like Paragon and Shadow of Mordor using the extra horsepower to deliver more detail.
Look for this “forward compatibility” as Cerny calls it to come to more than a half-dozen first party titles and “quite a few from our third-party partners.”
What I didn’t hear was anything about 60 frames per second. (UPDATE: Crystal Dynamics will use the PS4 Pro to improve the frame rate in Rise of the Tomb Raider.)
VR – PlayStation VR is coming right around the corner. VR games can take advantage of PS4 Pro to deliver higher pixel count and more detail throughout the game world.
Nothing blew me away
I didn’t see or hear anything that makes me want to buy a PS4 Pro. I already have a PS4. 4K and HDR just don’t cut it for me. I want to see games take a meaningful step forward. That means better graphics, but also better frame rate.
The problem is Sony has to keep the PS4 ecosystem tight. They can’t have one console vastly outperforming the other. Well, they could – but they went out of their way to name the new console PS4 Pro. Games need to work pretty much the same on both versions.
It’s an issue we’ll need to keep an eye with on the Xbox Scorpio too. If Microsoft tells developers to make sure games run similar on both consoles, we won’t see that generation leap.
Sony never sold us a generational leap, but they need to sell us something. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I see Horizon: Zero Dawn in 4K. But right now, I plan on keeping my “old” PS4.