Before the end of the year, Sony will have launched not one, but two brand new PlayStation 4 consoles. The slim model will simply replace the launch PS4 as the new standard console on store shelves, but the PS4 Pro will be a genuine upgrade, bringing new features and improvements to the PlayStation 4.
At the keynote event in New York City on Wednesday, Sony spent far more time showing off 4K games than it did actually discussing what the PS4 Pro could do, so we’ve decided to collect every piece of information we could find about the high-end console and wrap it all into a convenient bullet point list.
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What can the PS4 Pro do?
• It can deliver games and video in 4K quality resolution.
• It can run all games in 1080p, often at a higher or more stable frame rate than the base PS4 can offer.
• “Forward compatibility” allows developers to upgrade the visual fidelity of PS4 games that have already launched.
• It features a more powerful GPU and faster CPU.
• It can stream games over Share Play and Remote Play at 1080p.
• It can record game footage at 1080p.
• It can access 5GHz Wi-Fi.
• It supports HDR.
What can’t the PS4 Pro do?
• It can’t play Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray discs. This is the biggest shocker of all, as even Microsoft’s new Xbox One S can play 4K Blu-rays, and it’s not even meant to be Microsoft’s major hardware upgrade. If you want 4K video, you’ll have to stream it, but Sony doesn’t think consumers will mind because the PS4 Pro is “primarily a gaming platform.”
• It won’t be the only PS4 that supports high-dynamic-range lighting. Every PS4 on the market will soon receive an update that makes them compatible with HDR TV sets (which is arguably as important as 4K, if not more so).
• It’s not going to change the way you play. Although games will undoubtedly look better on the PS4 Pro (even if you have a 1080p TV), Sony wants the functionality to remain the same across consoles. You won’t see any new modes or special features in games on the PS4 Pro, just graphical improvements.
• It won’t markedly improve all of your PS4 games. Although many developers will bring graphical improvements to their games, some PS4 games won’t support the PS4 Pro in a meaningful way.
Overall, the PS4 Pro is a worthwhile upgrade for gamers who are obsessed with being on the cutting edge, but a tough sell for everyone else. Having seen the PS4 Pro in action, I can attest to the fact that 4K HDR gaming is a stunning upgrade over 1080p, but is it going to be enough to convince someone who already owns a PS4 to spend another $400 less than four years after launch?
The PlayStation 4 Pro will be available on November 10th.