Skyrim: Special Edition 4K game for PS4 Pro shows weak frame rate performance

by on November 10, 2016

Stephan Jukic – November 10, 2016

Now that the new PlayStation 4 Pro has finally been released for sale, preliminary reports of its actual functionality as both a native 4K gaming and upscaled gaming console  are starting to come in and just like the frame rate metrics that we’re hearing about, the verdict comes with ups and downs.

One of the more recent test cases of the PS4 Pro in action with native 4K resolution gaming involves the new Skyrim: Special Edition game for the 4 Pro. From what we’re hearing, the game is delivering wonderful graphics among games in the Skyrim series but the frame rate drops in native 4K are not so lovely to deal with.

Skyrim: Special Edition is one of a very tiny handful of games that have been designed to render in full native 4K UHD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels on the PlayStation 4 Pro but even this game, tailored as it has been to deliver natural 4K on the new console underperforms according to a recent analysis by the gaming site EuroGamer.

Skyrim: Special Edition 4K game for PS4 Pro shows weak frame rate performance

In its graphics, the new Skyrim works similarly to the PS4 1080p version of the game with its use of a temporal AA solution for removing aliasing in surfaces and thus creating a very sharp, clean visual experience. Basically, the quality demonstrated on the PS4 Pro version is as good as what you’d see in a 4K PC with a 4K GPU.

In other settings, both the PS 4 Pro and the original PS4 are the same in terms of quality settings overall and the game emulates a detail preset of “Ultra” on a PC well.

However, in terms of smooth performance, which is crucial to a complete and user-friendly gaming experience, Skyrim: Special Edition for PS4 Pro is showing itself to be something of a letdown in native 4K. As the Eurogamer report states, the performance of the game is distinctly worse than it was in the PS4 1080p edition and same-scene comparisons in ultra HD show a very frequent 2 to 3 fps deficiency in 4K Skyrim. This of course causes stutter, especially during faster gaming sequences with more complex levels of visual detail.

Basically, while the game manages to handle a rough proximity to decent 30fps gaming speed on the PS4 Pro, it doesn’t do so as well as Skyrim 1080p did in the PlayStation 4 and this is disappointing. The disappointment is even worse if you keep in mind that Sony has repeatedly stated that its native 4K games for the new ultra HD-capable PlayStation will even manage to play at 60fps. Skyrim: Special Edition is showing that this claim is a long ways from being true if even 30fps is proving to be tricky.


In other words, the new PlayStation 4 Pro console is delivering the expectations many gaming tech watchers (us included) have had about Sony’s claims of smooth native 4K gaming. Namely that native 4K won’t be an easy thing to handle in the console with the sort of GPU specs it offers. The PlayStation 4 Pro comes packed with  GPU whose power is somewhat less than that of 1440p and high frame rate 1080p PC GPUs like the new AMD Radeon RX480. Since even this GPU isn’t quite strong enough for 4K gaming on a  PC at decent frame rates, we could hardly expect the PS4 Pro to do better, despite Sony’s arguments that it would for at least some games.

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