The Sony PlayStation 4 Pro’s weak claim to 4K gaming: most games only upscaled
Stephan Jukic – September 16, 2016
Sony, after releasing its new 4K-capable PlayStation Pro console, has stated that the majority of the games available for the PS4 Pro will only receiver upscaling to 4K graphics from a native resolution of Full HD. The company however claims that this fact isn’t an example of misleading advertising on their part.
According to PlayStation chief at Sony Andrew House in comments made to the site Digital Spy, “I would say that the majority will be upscaled –at least based on the game portfolio I have seen to-date”
House also explained that Sony’s statements about 4K gaming viability in the PS4 Pro weren’t disingenuous since the term used for graphics resolution isn’t as important as whether or not users perceive a visible difference in their gaming experience. He claimed that users can then go from what they perceive to forming an opinion of whether or not the PS4 Pro is what they like.
Taking aside the fact that there is in fact a real difference between games playing in native, integrated 4K resolution and games being upscaled to 4K from what is actually HD resolution, House’s wriggling on the what the PlayStation 4 Pro really offers could be a bit upsetting to some gamers, and a dangerous thing to do in a competitive gaming market which includes not only the PlayStation 4 Pro but also Microsoft’s Xbox One S and the even more powerful and upgrade-flexible technologies of 4K-capable GPUs for PC gaming in the resolution. Furthermore, the PS4 Pro doesn’t offer the 4K Blu-ray playback of the Xbox One S and its streaming content selection doesn’t even yet include Sony’s own “Ultra” movie service with HDR.
Unlike PCs for 4K gaming or any kind of gaming, which can be upgraded as much as a user wants whenever they want, the PS4 Pro and other consoles don’t offer this option and Andrew House is aware of the fact as well.
However in response to this potential competitive conflict, the Sony PlayStation boss defends the PS4 Pro by saying that it “came out of a confluence of thinking about a few things” and that Sony’s content partners had suggested that the last console cycle between PlayStation devices had “been a bit too long” Thus, Sony decided to push towards innovation within the lifecycle of a given console and thus speed up new development frequency and upgrade frequency in the PS4. Furthermore, because House and his team were looking at how consumers are willing to constantly upgrade in the mobile phone industry for access to new technologies in each generation of smartphone, some of that strategic thinking went into the PS4 Pro. Basically, House and Sony asked themselves “Does console innovation have to happen only once every 6 or 7 years?”
This was the sort of thinking which went into the development and release of the PlayStation 4 Pro with its HDR and 4K gaming capabilities; creating a console which is reasonably innovative but which also maintains a stable roster of core benefits which game developers can depend on when creating games they then know will be playable in the same way on each device a consumer owns. In other words, creating a more stable game development landscape than that available with PC gaming and its much more fluid nature.
However House also says that it’s difficult for him to imagine a PlayStation console with upgradable individual components coming “at this point”. This one point definitely distinguishes the Pro console and its cousins from PCs and GPUs for 4K gaming, which exists in a rapidly evolving landscape of new products and new graphics capacities for handling the still heavy-duty gaming resolution.
With this we come back to the so-called 4K gaming qualities of the PlayStation 4 Pro. The term 4K gaming is a fairly loose one but even in a broad interpretation of the term as it applies to a console whose developers heavily promoted its 4K gaming chops pre-release, the ability to play native 4K graphics at 4K resolution at a decent speed is crucial. It’s something UHD-capable PCs with the latest Nvidia or AMD GPUs are capable of and something the PS4 Pro should be capable of. So far however, House has stated that most games will be upscaled on the console from HD and only a handful so far offer native 4K gaming. These consist only of three games right now: “The Last of Us Remastered”, “The Elder Scrolls” and “Mantis Burn Racing”.
Eventually we will see more games as the PlayStation game developer community picks up on the console’s new 4K graphics and gaming chops but for now the above selection is much weaker than what’s available in native 4K graphics for any UHD PC gamer.
And with only upscaled 4K being possible with most of the new Pro console’s games, there is actually remarkably little to distinguish the device from its cheaper rival the Xbox One S, which also offers HDR, 4K upscaling and comes with the added bonus of 4K Blu-ray disc playback. None of this is to even speak of the 2017 Xbox “Project Scorpio” console for 4K Xbox gaming, which is confirmed already as being a much more powerful console with broad 4K gaming support for Microsoft games.
Quite basically, the 4K gaming landscape around the PlayStation 4 Pro is starting to look a bit narrow and a bit threatened, at least for now.
Story by 4k.com