In the wake of Sony’s press conference for the PS4 Pro yesterday, plenty of questions were being asked about its capabilities and in interviews afterwards some of the machine’s shortcomings were revealed.
Perhaps the single biggest shocker is that the PS4 Pro will NOT include support for UHD, the 4K Blu-ray discs that hit the market this year. Sony’s PlayStation was the key reason that DVD and Blu-ray got a foothold and took off as the home video formats of choice by sneaking millions of players into households with the PS2 & PS3 respectively.
That fact that 4K playback of video will only be supported through streaming services like Netflix and Youtube would suggest Sony doesn’t have much faith in the new disc format. It’s baffling as Microsoft’s just released Xbox One S can play UHD discs and their high-end 2017 console upgrade Project Scorpio is also expected to be capable of doing so.
Speaking with The Guardian, Sony Interactive Entertainment Andrew House says the 4K disc drive wasn’t included as there is not enough consumer interest in 4K UHD discs to support the format:
“Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming. Certainly with our user base, it’s the second biggest use case for people’s time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area.”
The PlayStation 4 Pro is capable of 4K gaming, something the Xbox One S can’t do at this point. Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, which is still a year-and-a-half away assuming no delays – looks to be more powerful than PS4 Pro. However, it is also rumored to have a much higher price point that, with the shift to Windows 10 and all future Microsoft games being both PC & Xbox compatible, renders any $500+ Xbox somewhat pointless in an age of ever cheaper gaming PCs.
Indeed, House sees the PC as the main competition for the PS4 in the future:
“I saw some data that really influenced me. It suggested that there’s a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that’s obviously where it’s to be had. We wanted to keep those people within our eco-system by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality]. So the net result of those thoughts was PlayStation 4 Pro – and, by and large, a graphical approach to game improvement.”
High dynamic range (HDR) support is coming to all PS4 consoles with a firmware update next week. The PS4 Pro will cost $399, it will have 4K support but more technical details won’t be revealed until a later date. At 4.2TFLOPS of power, the PS4 Pro is a substantial boost up from the PS4 (1.84TF) and the Xbox One (1.31TF) and will be the most powerful console on the market until Project Scorpio (6TF).
All are behind the best graphics card on the market at this time, the NVIDIA Titan X (Pascal) at 11TF which appears to finally achieve the holy grail of gaming – consistent minimum 60FPS 4K gaming (with everything on Ultra) on a single card across essentially all titles.