Editorial: The PS4 Pro Is NOT The 4K Solution In Gaming

Yesterday Sony revealed the PS4 Pro, a Mid-Gen console promising the latest in 4K graphics and technology. You're to assume that this is the next step in console gaming, and while Sony is more than happy to let you assume that, they're just some things that aren't possible in the current technological state that we are in. 

What's Impossible

For example, I see a lot of people making a fuss that although the console will run in 4K, it will not also simultaneously deliver a 60 FPS (frames per second) experience. Unless you're running a high end PC (which you can't get for $400) that's not gonna happen...period. I can't fault Sony for wanting to deliver 4K at a bargain value even if the cost is at a higher frame rate. 

What Isn't 4K Or Upscaled

What I can fault them for, however, is the lack of pressure put on developers to enhance their games for the PS4. Mass Effect: Andromeda currently states (via Gamespot) that their game will be locked at 30 FPS regardless of the console you play it on. Granted the game hasn't been finished yet, but already their statements are joined by the developers of Infamous: Second Son and First Light.

There's also a big question mark as to whether online gaming for FPS shooters will be enhanced. Video Gamer already says Naughty Dog's Cristian Gryling has answered that question...

"Everyone is trying to be really cognisant that the game will not run faster, like, higher frame rates, unless you're playing a single-player style of game. But if you're playing multiplayer games, it will be the same playing field. Base PS4 users, PS4 Pro users, you're still running the same frame rate. Yes, you're running at a higher resolution, you might be seeing it in HDR, but overall it's a level playing field. We're not benefiting the PS4 Pro users and skewing the community."

This doesn't just impact the competitive gaming crowd either. The streaming community will not be able to Stream in 4K, but rather 1080p and PS4 share will only support 4K screenshots and not footage. That's still a step up from the standard 720p of the original PS4, but it's not 4K which is what this whole thing is marketed around. 

Of course none of this really matters unless you own a 4K television to run it on, which not a lot of us have. Hell I just managed to get a 50+ inch HD in my living room last year, and it's gonna be awhile before I get my hands on a 4K (although prices are lower than what I expected). 

There Is A Positive...

There is something that the PS4 Pro will do that has people talking. Wired says PSVR will get a bumped frame rate with the system, which only means great things for the VR experience. Then again, that adds another item you'll need to make this new upgrade viable. 

So in terms of gaming what you need to understand is that the PS4 Pro will deliver the greatest 4K experience you've ever seen on the market provided this...

  1. The game supports 4K 
  2. The game is primarily single player.
  3. You have a 4K television. 
  4. (Optional) You're planning on buying PSVR

So say you go out and buy a great single player experience that supports 4K (narrow list at the moment), PS4 Pro, 4K television, and PSVR. You're sitting at over $1,000. That's still cheaper than building a 4K gaming PC, but it's not the $399 that's apparently all it takes to run 4K. If you're in it for the 4K be prepared to shell out some money. 

Truth be told PS4 owners will already be getting a firmware update that supports HDR televisions. This alone will boost your console experience in a noticeable way provided you have that television. It will require very specific standards to get a quality beyond that with the PS4 Pro. 

What Isn't Being Supported

Stepping aside from gaming even the lack of 4K support is an issue. It's been officially announced that Sony (who spearheaded the Blu-Ray movement) will not be supporting 4K Blu-Ray on the PS4 Pro. It seems like a weird move as Microsoft already teased this feature for the Scorpio. They ARE going to support Youtube and Netflix in 4K, which is a definite plus, but Netflix has a very small list of 4K titles (most of them their own series) in comparison to what will be available in the Blu-Ray market. 

So Why Buy A PS4 Pro?

It's a good question to ask yourself. I'm not trying to tell you not to buy one. I'm just telling you that this console is not exactly marketed as it really is. 4K gaming is here, but this is far from the ideal scenario in which you want to own it.