The new PS4 Pro is a more powerful version of an already good machine, but you should still think twice before buying. Here’s why.
Your TV Isn’t Good Enough
The advertising for the PS4 Pro has been almost exclusively focused on 4K and HDR. 4K represents the looming new standard TV resolution of 2160p, which represents a substantial increase in pixel density over a 1080p HD TV of the same dimensions. HDR (High Dynamic Range) allows the screen to display a richer color pallet. Many 4K TVs and monitors sold in recent years do not have HDR.
Here’s the thing with the PS4 Pro: while it is capable of outputting games at 4K, most of the time it is upscaling the image from a lower resolution. Many of the games on the PS4 have dynamic resolutions of around 1440p. After upscaling, the image does look sharper on a 4K TV, but the difference is negligible and can only really be noticed going from a 1080p screen to a 4K display.
The thing is, very few of the gamers considering a PS4 Pro will actually own a TV capable of making the most of it. Most recommended 4K HDR TV’s will cost well over £1,000 and it will be a few years before they become commonplace in our households. Buying a PS4 Pro without a 4K HDR TV is like purchasing a pair of Beats headphones to listen to a tape deck.
There Aren’t Enough Games
Yes, you can play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Fallout 4, with improvements over the PS4 base version. Rise of the Tomb Raider also comes with a variety of visual options, and Hitman will let you assassinate with a whole new layer of detail. The thing is, the enhancements don’t necessarily justify the price tag of a PS4 Pro and a TV to make the most of it.
Destiny, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Until Dawn have confirmed there will be no visual improvements, and the majority of the PS4’s catalog will either have no enhancements or few, to say the least.
Now, there will be games released over the next six months that will make the most of the PS4 Pro’s power but, assuming you already have the TV, wouldn’t it be best to wait six months and snap up the console in a games bundle for a reduced price? Paying the full price on day one for a handful of worthwhile games with improvements doesn’t make sense.
Since we’re mentioning the money, we may as well put it under a heading. The PS4 Pro costs £350, which in itself isn’t extortionate. The thing is, the base Ps4 is £100 less and yet still delivers a fantastic gaming experience.
If you don’t have a TV that is capable of making the most of the improved visuals, or you’re not desperate to play Fallout 4 with slightly less jagged edges, then save your money. £100 is a lot, and I can almost guarantee that in 6 months you’ll be able to pick up a PS4 Pro with at least one game for the same price. There may be a few games built with the PS4 Pro in mind by then.
Some Games Run WORSE On The PS4 Pro
Yes, you read that right. You’ve just dropped £1,500 on a 4K HDR TV and another £350 on the PS4 Pro, but guess what? You might still not be getting a superior gaming experience.
Digital Foundry has run an analysis and discovered that for Skyrim, The Last of Us and Mantis Burn Racing, “… gameplay will actually be smoother overall on base PlayStation 4 hardware.”
Sure, not every game is experiencing issues, but Rise Of The Tomb Raider and parts of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are showing choppier FPS than on the standard PS4. The issues will be ironed out with time, but then why buy a PS4 Pro right this second?
“But…I STILL Want A PS4 Pro”
Here’s the thing, if you don’t own a PS4 then spending the extra £100 to get the PS4 Pro does kind of make sense. I know that goes against most of what I’ve written up there, but it doesn’t make sense to buy a base PS4 just to upgrade in a year or two.
On the other hand, if you already own a PS4 and don’t own a 4K HDR TV, there is next to no reason for you to look to upgrade today. Half of the advantages of upgrading to a PS4 Pro will be smothered by your 1080p TV. The other half won’t be evident for at least six months as games are produced with the power of the Pro specifically in mind and then downgraded for the PS4.
If you already own a 4K HDR TV and have £350 burning a hole in your pocket then I envy you, and…go for it. But, you’re one of the few people who upgrading actually makes sense for today.