On Thursday, the new Sony Playstation PS4 Pro will be released. Should you go out and get it?

What’s New In the PS4 Pro?

The biggest feature is the 4K resolution support. Microsoft’s XBox One doesn’t have it, but now Sony does. As you know, 4K means more pixels. In general, more clarity and more crisper imagery. But before you rush out and buy this, make sure you have the appropriate display hardware. You are going to need a 4K LCD monitor or television along with appropriate hi-speed UHD cables. Make sure your 4K screen support high dynamic range (HDR) too. Not all 4K screens do. HDR will give greater luminosity (lighting) to the screen. Just like how a photographer uses Exposure Value (EV) settings with stops to control the amount of light to the sensor on the camera, lighting for the television can be manipulated through programming the PS4 Pro. This gives the game developer additional means to control the lighting in scenes and create a different environment.

Personally, I don’t mind paying $399 for a new piece of hardware that is going to give me higher resolution. To see and feel something different on a large screen TV adds to the experience. I welcome it. But just because its available today, doesn’t mean its a no brainer decision.

The PS4: Only 1080p Support

When it comes to the Sony PS4, let’s look at the current situation today. Your PS4 is limited to delivering 1080p at 60 frames per second (fps). If you connect it to a 4K TV, the PS4 is going to deliver 1080p output to it. Then, the TV is going to have to upscale from 1080p to 4K.

You may or may not like what you see. Its not a perfect 1:1 match. Its all left in the eye of the beholder (you) to determine if you see the difference and like what you see.

Create 4K Content to Avoid Additional Processing

Most PS4 games are created in a native 1080p resolution. If a game is to be remastered to fit on a 4K screen in Enhanced Pro mode, all the developer has to do is batch process all the images by doubling the image size to convert them to 4K. Because the original source is not created in 4K, you may even wonder if this “cheating by doubling the image size” really looks any better.

Again, that too will be left to the eye of the beholder.

Sony PS4 vs. Sony PS4 Pro

Lets compare the guts of each PS4 to see what the differences are:

PS4 PS4 Pro
x86-64 AMD Jaguar 8 cores x86-64 AMD Jaguar 8 cores
AMD Radeon 1.84 TFLOPS GPU AMD Radeon 4.20 TFLOPS GPU
8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5
None 1GB DDR3 DRAM
500GB drive 1TB drive
HDMI HDR port HDMI 4K/HDR port
165w 310W
$299 $399

You can see that the Pro uses a higher end AMD Radeon GPU that more than doubles floating point calculations over the original PS4. It has an additional 1GB of DRAM, a larger hard drive, a 4K fast HDMI output port, and requires higher power consumption.

Cost wise, the PS4 is about $300. The PS4 Pro is $399. You can do an estimate of why it comes more considering the difference in components. 1GB of DDR3 RAM is cheap, probably no more than $10. The cost difference between a 500GB and 1TB SATA III drive is only $30. The AMD Radeon is a Polaris GPU. No pricing information is available but I imagine its no more than $40 to Sony. Sum that up and you get $80.

So you are getting more RAM, a bigger drive, a faster GPU, and a hi-speed 4K port for another $100.

Sony Playstation PS4 Pro Games List

But what really matters is if there are games available to exploit this new console and make it shine. You shouldn’t just go out and plop down your hard earned money unless there are games available to take advantage of the increase in resolution. Sony announced that when the PS4 Pro is released, these Pro Enhanced games will be available for purchase:

  • Battlezone
  • Bound
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Dishonored 2
  • Driveclub VR
  • EA Sports FIFA 17
  • Firewatch
  • Helldivers
  • Hitman
  • Hustle Kings
  • Infamous First Light
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Knack
  • Mafia III
  • Mantis Burn Racing
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • NBA 2K17
  • Neon Chrome
  • Paragon
  • PlayStation VR Worlds
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Rez Infinite
  • Rigs Mechanized Combat League
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • Smite
  • Super Stardust Ultra
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind
  • The Playroom VR
  • Thumper
  • Titanfall 2
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  • Viking Squad
  • Wheels of Aurelia
  • World of Tanks
  • XCOM 2

So Should You Buy It?

I would suggest looking very closely at the list above and determine if there are any games that you absolutely want to play at 4K. Looking at this list, I only see a few. In particular:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • TitanFall 2

The rest, I couldn’t give a crap about. So at this point, do I want to drop over $300 in video games I’ve already played along with another $399? I don’t think so guys. I need to see more games and new games at that.

Summary

Sony has come out with a new 4K Pro version of their popular Playstation gaming console. Although I see myself buying this in the future, I don’t really need it now. There really is no use for me to plunk down another $700 just so I can play old games in 4K resolution. Its sort of silly when I think about it. I question why gaming companies would ever think that the consumer would want to spend more money on games they already have. It makes for a weak argument of trying to steer gamers to the 4K platform and I believe its the wrong approach. Instead, Sony should have held off on this release until the game publishers came up with new titles to showcase 4k game play. The back and forth outdueling nature between Microsoft and Sony is only leading to changes that feel like they are trying to nickel and dime you for more money every three years. This model will eventually fail at this higher end price scale. It just may scare people away to want to move back to the PC to do their gaming instead. Why invest more money into a video gaming console when you can simply use your own PC gaming rig to play on 4K LCD monitors today?

So for now, I will hold off buying a Pro version. To me, both Pro and Xbox One S seem like “fillers” in the time lines of both products that lead to a much better gaming console down the road. Its hard to justify spending more money for a new piece of hardware when all that is coming out is remastered games. Its like asking me to pay twice for something that I already have. That’s what I think is the big problem that will make it difficult for the console to get out of the gate.