Tech Analysis: 4K gaming on PlayStation 4 Pro

It all seems to have rather gone rather quiet for PlayStation 4 Pro, mere weeks before the system’s launch. What’s clear is that anyone who didn’t attend the PlayStation Meeting in person a couple of weeks back still hasn’t seen much of what the system is capable of. Follow-up downloadable media released in the wake of the event has mostly been bereft of quality and doesn’t showcase the hardware favourably. Meanwhile, the first public reveal of the system at EGX recently was limited to just six units running just one title – Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

With just over a month to go before the new console launches, the lack of exposure for the system is puzzling. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the hardware’s chances, principally because the software I’ve seen – principally Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn – looks impressive. They’re not launch titles, of course, but they perhaps hint at the kind of quality we may see more generally a couple of months on from release. More than that, the price-point of the PlayStation Pro – $399/£349 – makes the hardware a no-brainer for new console buyers as we move into the holiday season.

The bottom line is this. While we can fully expect bundling deals and special offers to drive down prices on existing hardware, the retail pricing for PS4 Pro is undeniably compelling – $100/£100 more than the new CUH-2000 ‘Slim’ PlayStation 4 model buys you 31 per cent of extra CPU power, 2.3x the GPU grunt, faster RAM and twice the storage space. As things stand, the base PS4 is suddenly looking very expensive for what it offers, relatively.

By pricing PlayStation 4 Pro in line with the original PS4’s launch cost, Sony has realised that there’s a certain price ceiling acceptable for a mainstream console launch, and while the omission of the UHD Blu-ray drive is a bad move for a device aimed at the higher end, more discerning user, it’s clearly a business decision aimed at getting as many consoles into homes as quickly as possible. Keeping the price low also helps to address the key concern about the hardware, which is pretty simple: to what extent does it actually improve the visual experience? Before addressing that, it’s worth pointing out that the relatively small price bump from PS4 to Pro means that even if you’re buying just for more refined performance, excellent anti-aliasing and 2x the storage, you’re still not getting a bad deal.