PS4 Pro

As the dust begins to settle on Wednesday nights PS4 Pro unveiling to the world, I thought id take a little look to see what Sony has in store for us later this year.  Of course the PS4 Slim also made an appearance on the night, but unfortunately for Sony, just about everyone and their dog already had a good look at it thanks to the numerous leaks that appeared all over the Internet, so in this article I'm only going to deal with what the Pro has to offer when it hits the shelves on the 10th of November.

I suppose the best place to begin would be with the actual meat and drink of the console, what makes it tick if you will.  Of course the first thing everyone will want to know is the power difference the Pro will have over the standard PS4.  Both systems use a AMD Radeon graphics engine, the GPU for the PS4 runs at 1.84 TFLOPS while the Pro runs at 4.2 TFLOPS so straight away you can see, that at least on paper, the Pro looks twice as powerful.  The CPU is x86-64 AMD Jaguar with 8 cores, memory 8GB GDDR5, the Pro is going cost you a bit more on the electric bill, it has an internal 310w power block, compare that with the PS4 Slim that was launched along side it at a 165w power block, the Pro is nearly twice as power hungry.  The Pro comes with 3 USB 3.1 ports, 2 in the front and 1 at the back, the PS4 only has 2 USB 3.0 ports.  The Pro will ship as standard with a 1TB hard drive.

The big buzz word at the moment in gaming is 4K, Sony's new baby will allow for 4K streaming, it will not play UHD BlueRay discs, which is odd in my opinion because the recently launched Xbox One S does, but the big question is this, will it play games in 4K?  The simple answer is probably not, even the Scorpio, which is going to launch sometime around Xmas next year and according to Microsoft will have a 6 TFLOPS GPU, might not be powerful enough to run games in native 4K either.  This is not to say that the Pro will not take advantage of a 4K TV, games will be upscaled and the new HDR functionality will make the visuals even more jaw dropping, but again this depends if your TV set has HDR.  To be honest, it seems to me at least, that if you want to get the most from the Pro, you are going to need the best TV possible, a UHD HDR TV is not cheap, but they will fall in price as time goes by and I'd imagine that by the time the Scorpio is released, Microsoft will be praying that said TV's will be affordable to most because they are going to face the same problem that Sony faces now, to get the best from the Scorpio, you'll need a bloody good TV.

I also want to chat about the PSVR in relation to the Pro.  I'm very interested in picking up the PSVR later this year but only under one condition, it works on the launch PS4.  Now Sony have stated that the standard PS4 will be perfectly suited to run the PSVR but it's on this point that I have my doubts.  In actual fact, I believe that one of the main reasons that they have developed the Pro, is because they know that the launch PS4 is not up to the task of delivering a decent VR experience.  I might well be proved wrong on this and to be honest I really hope I am.  I want VR to take off and the PSVR is the cheapest way for me to get to see what all the fuzz is about, but if I have to spend €400 on a new PS4 Pro, because the standard PS4 offers a terrible VR experience, another €400 odd on a PSVR and PS Camera, on top of the €400 I've already spent on my PS4 console, that would be €1200 spent on PS hardware this Gen, that's simply just to much, at that cost I'd have to forget about VR and instead I'd spend my cash on the Scorpio next year, which lets be honest, it's going to be a far more powerful console and a new 4K TV to get the max out of it.

I believe that Sony might have a problem selling this to the masses, not because it's not a good system or because its too expensive, at only €400 it's a reasonable price but because there are 40 million PS4 owners already out there that are very happy with their console, anyone looking to upgrade will have to consider buying a new 4K TV to really show it off and of course the biggest problem it faces is the Scorpio next year.  This might well blow it out of the water for pure performance, it will certainly offer higher fidelity VR, mind you the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are both bloody expensive pieces of kit, and Microsoft might just price it to match the Pro, it would mean taking a loss on it but it would give it the best chance to be the market leader, the Pro will have a year head start after all, Microsoft will have to be aggressive in its approach, it's taking a kicking as it is from Sony this Gen.

The bottom line is this, competition is the driving force of the industry that we all love, the PC market continues to push the boat out in terms of graphics and frame rates, consoles in a way are playing catch up but at the same time they are not really competing with PC's but are becoming more and more influenced by what is happening on the other side of the gaming fence, games will become scalable on consoles now, just like they are on PC, the Pro will offer a better performance in games than on the PS4, even though it's the same disc for both, the Scorpio will do the same when it comes out for Xbox One games, the push towards true native 4K gaming on consoles has started, though maybe the Pro and Scorpio might not just make it yet, the biggest change towards a unified gaming world has already begun too, Cross Platform gaming is happening as we speak between consoles and PC, and it's surly only a matter of time before we see the walls of PSN and Xbox Live come tumbling down and players on both systems get to finally face off against each other.  It's a good time to be a gamer, no matter what system your playing on, the future looks good. 

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