The Playstation 4 Pro lands today. What is it and do you need one?

The Playstation 4 Pro has officially hit stores today. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the console. What is it, what does it do, how does it work? I’ll cover those questions and most importantly, “should I buy one?”

What is the Playstation 4 Pro?

The Playstation 4 pro is, essentially, a Playstation 4. It’s just a beefed up Playstation 4 that allows for improved visuals, namely, increased resolution and frame rates. The system targets users who have a 4K television, as it supports resolutions up to 4K, but it also works on current 1080p sets as well. It plays all of the same games as the Playstation 4, and there will be no games that only play on the Pro system. All games released in the past, now, and in the future will play on the Playstation 4 pro.

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What’s the benefit of the Playstation 4 pro?

Namely, the big difference here is the resolution output. Games will look much sharper and clearer with the Playstation 4 pro, and they may run at better frame rates, meaning the game plays much smoother. It, however, is up to the developer on how they use the Playstation 4 Pro’s power, so some games may have better resolution, some may run better, some may add extra visual effects, or some combination of all of these.

Will all games look better? 

No. It’s definitely worth noting that games are not required to use the Playstation Pro’s extra abilities. Also, games must be designed to use the new hardware. Some games will work with the Pro out of the box, while some games are being patched to support it, and many games simply show no change at all. Games that do use its potential will be labeled accordingly on the box in the future, and will still run on the original playstation 4. Currently, there are about 40 games that will support the Pro, and the list is growing, seemingly, daily. The support so far has been very good. Will that support continue in the future? It’s hard to say, but Sony has mentioned that it’s very easy to update a game to support the Pro, and it costs developers very little to do so.

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How does the Pro work?

The Pro is very similar to the original PS4 pro. Sony has made minor upgrades to the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), and placed two of them side by side in the new Pro console. When a normal Playstation game is inserted, it will use one of these GPUs to run the game, just like on the original. When it detects a Pro compatible game, it turns on the second GPU and increases the speed of both of them, more than doubling its power output. The CPU (central processing unit) also sees a boost, further improving it’s abilities. So, when a normal game is inserted, it runs just like an original Playstation 4, and when a Pro game is inserted, it ramps up the power to take advantage of it.

How much better will it look?

If you have a good 4K TV, especially with HDR (High Dynamic Range, enhances bright and dark image quality), you’ll notice better colors, a sharper image, and less aliasing (jagged edges), as well as other features that vary from game to game. Some games will look much sharper, as they’ll be outputted at native 4K (3840 x 2160), but most games will run at a lower resolution and will be upscaled to 4K, but still much higher than 1080p (1920 x 1080). The upscaling technique is very impressive, and renders an image quality that looks nearly identical to native 4K (it’s called checkerboard rendering and is different from traditional upscaling) thanks to clever programming and hardware features built into the unit. It’s not going to be a dramatic difference like going from a PS3 to a PS4, but those who obsess with jagged edges, frame rates and resolutions will appreciate the change. Small details like grass, hairs in a beard, rock textures, and distant mountains will look much sharper, without the “crawling” that happens around edges of fences and such at 1080p. Now, if you’re running on a 1080p display, you’ll still see an improvement. The image will support (depending on the game) anti aliasing effects that smooth out jagged edges (super sampling takes a 4K image and downsizes it to fit a 1080p display, greatly enhancing the image quality), and potentially higher frame rates. Some games even improve textures, draw distances, and add extra effects to the screen. Many games even offer options for gamers to choose what enhancements they want, like higher frame rates, or higher resolution.

Take a look at the video below for an idea of how games will take advantage of it. Note, if you’re not watching on a 4K display, you won’t see most of the changes.

 

Should I upgrade?

That depends on two things: Your TV, and your appreciate of visual quality. If you have a good 4KTV that supports HDR and you don’t mind spending the extra money, the Pro is a solid choice and provides, by far, the best image quality of any console on the market. If you’re running a 1080p TV, you’ll see much less of an improvement, but it’s worth considering if you’re planning to upgrade to a 4K TV, or if you’re simply a big fan of smoother images and higher frame rates. If you’re only concerned with gameplay, and don’t notice small details like edge sharpness, clarity and frame rate, you’ll be safe to skip this one. If you don’t have a PS4 yet, and you’re choosing between the two, the Pro is only $400, just $100 more than the original. This, to me, makes the Pro and obvious choice and an excellent entry point to Sony consoles.

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Days Gone on the PS4 Pro

What games support the PS4 Pro and which don’t? 

For a current list, including (when available) what changes are made for the Pro system, check down below, courtesy of Gamespot (direct link to their page below).

Gamespot’s Playstation 4 Pro Games List

This link has been updated nearly daily for the last two weeks, with many new games being announced. So keep checking back.

Am I getting one?

Me, personally, I’m getting one. I’m a huge fan of  high-resolution and high frame rate gaming, so this, to me, is an obvious upgrade. I’ll review it here soon, so keep an eye out for that as I post my hands on impressions.

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Horizon: Zero Dawn on the PS4 Pro

 

The Games list, as of 11/10/2016


 

Battlezone

The 1.02 patch released on October 27 adds increased supersampling resolution, improved dynamic lighting in the Cobra cockpit, and increased reflective lighting resolution.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Improved textures and a “dynamic” 4K resolution while maintaining the standard 60 FPS frame rate.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

4K resolution and graphical improvements.

The Elder Scrolls Online

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Increased graphical fidelity running in native 4K resolution.

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Increased graphical fidelity.

Fallout 4

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Bethesda said it expects the game to “take advantage of the PS4 Pro in 4K along with enhanced lighting and graphics features,” but didn’t provide any further specifics.

Gran Turismo Sport

HDR and wide color support, making for a larger range of colors. For example, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi said GT Sport will be the first game in the series to accurately represent the Ferrari’s classic red color.

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

1800p checkerboard upscaled to 4K.

Hitman

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Players can expect a “whole new layer of detail added to it.” Hitman’s overall resolution will be increased, while “reflective surfaces” should be improved, alongside “more detailed lighting effects.” Additionally, the game’s aliasing will be reduced. Read the full post to learn more.

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Hitman for PS4 Pro will still have “higher quality shading and less flickering highlights” on a 1080p set.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Improved shadow maps, extra detail, and enhanced colors. It’ll feature higher quality anisotropic filtering, which means upgraded texture sampling, resulting in more detailed environments. Additionally, supersampling will render Horizon’s resolution at a resolution “close to 4K” and then shrink it down to 1080p, Guerilla Games says.

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

A 2160p checkerboard, which Guerilla Games says is a technique that “looks incredible” on a 4K display. It’s supposed to add noticeable detail to aspects, such as “stitching on Aloy’s outfit, individual leaves and branches swaying in the wind, kilometers away in the distance, and more detail in all the machines and NPCs in the world.”

Infamous: Second Son

Support for HDR and 4K televisions.

Get more details here.

Killing Floor 2

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

1800p checkboard rendering on 4K TV (3200×1800) optimized for 4K TVs.

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Increased framerate and supersampling, as well as increased texture resolutions (which may also be present at 4K).

Get more details here.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Super sampling anti-aliasing.

NBA 2K17

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Native 4K resolution running at 60 FPS with HDR support.

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

2K confirmed to GameSpot that it will still render a 4K resolution even on a 1080p display. The company said this should result in “much better anti-aliasing” with HDR support.

Nioh

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Movie Mode: Stable 3840×2160 resolution at 30 FPS

Action Mode: Stable 1920×1080 resolution at 60 FPS

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Movie Mode: Stable 1920×1080 resolution with high quality anti-aliasing at 30 FPS

Action Mode: Stable 1920×1080 resolution at 60 FPS

Paragon

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

Enhanced visual effects, procedural ground cover, higher scene complexity, greater texture fidelity, and dynamic reflections.

Ratchet & Clank

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Higher resolution and HDR for supported TV sets.

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

“Big increase in gameplay image quality.”

Rez Infinite

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Native 3840×2160 (4K) resolution.

PlayStation VR:

1920×1080 resolution as opposed to the standard PS4’s output of 1440×810.

“Each particle looks a little more clear, a little more solid, adding up to objects and enemies that look more distinct and ‘real,’ whether close-up or at a distance,” Enhance Games CEO Testuya Mizuguchi wrote on the PlayStation Blog.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

There are three different visual options PS4 Pro owners can choose from when playing Rise of the Tomb Raider on a Pro. This includes an option to play with a 4K option that runs at 30 FPS.

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

The other two options don’t require a 4K display in order to take advantage. The high-frame rate mode supports 1080p with a frame rate of “up to” 60 FPS. Lastly, there’s an enriched visuals mode that runs at 1080p and 30 FPS, but “improves overall image quality” with things like hardware tessellation, anisotropic filtering, additional dynamic foliage, and more.

Thumper

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

4K resolution with no upscaling.

PlayStation VR:

Improved rendering quality at the same 90 FPS as the regular PS4.

Titanfall 2

Producer Drew McCoy explained in an interview that the PS4 Pro version of Titanfall 2 will not run in native 4K. However, the console’s extra power should help the game stick closer to its 60FPS target. Read the full interview here to learn more.

Viking Squad

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Native 3840×2160 (4K) resolution with MSAA 2x running at 60 FPS.

The Witness

PS4 Pro with a 4K display:

Two different modes will be available for users with 4K displays:

  • 1440p resolution upscaled to 4K, 60 FPS, 2x MSAA, text and UI rendered at 4K
  • 4K resolution, 30 FPS, 2x MSAA

PS4 Pro with a 1080p display:

1080p resolution instead of 900p and increased antialiasing quality from 2x to 4x MSAA, while keeping a solid 60 FPS.

PS4 Pro Games with Unconfirmed Details

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One thought on “The Playstation 4 Pro lands today. What is it and do you need one?

  1. Pingback: Playstation 4 Pro Review | GameTinge

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