PS4 Pro Is Pretty Boring, And That’s Totally Fine

Posted: September 8, 2016 in Opinion Piece


by Dave Thier via Forbes

Listen, we all knew this was going to happen. We’ve been discussing the PS4 “Neo” (now “Pro,” officially) and “Slim” for months now, and the idea of upgraded version of Sony’s  hugely popular console does indeed have broad implications for console generations and the industry. But as far as the actual hardware is concerned, we’re nowhere near the drama of an actual new console generation. Sony announced the PS4 Pro in New York today, and it’s pretty boring. But that’s fine, really.

The PS4 supports HDR and 4K gaming, as well as 4K streaming and some slight increases in detail on HDTVs. HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range,” and it looks real pretty on TVs that support it, offering a colorful pop that feels like a much more exciting upgrade than the increase in pixel density offered by 4K. But at the end of the day, this is exactly what we thought it was going to be: an incremental upgrade offering new capabilities for people interested in paying for top of the line equipment.

It’s not earth shaking, but it was never meant to be. This is the video game industry borrowing what we already knew from the rest of the consumer tech world: there are plenty of people keen to spend $400 every few years on hardware, so why not let them? The idea of static hardware for five years doesn’t quite mesh with 2016, to be sure.

The PS4 Pro, along with Xbox One Scorpio, erode some of the advantages that consoles enjoy over PCs, and that’s tricky business. But the traditional console was going to have to change anyway, and I’m starting to think that these machines are developments of necessity more than anything else. This is what the console industry has to do to avoid becoming irrelevant. We remember that Sony has been trading on the idea of a boring video game console since the beginning of the PS4 generation, and to great success. The PS4 Pro, like the PS4 before it, is terribly straightforward. Buy it if you want 4K and HDR, don’t if you’re fine without them. Both machines play games and play them well.

I expect the PS4 Pro to sell out pretty quickly. Early PlayStation adopters have gone quite a few years without picking up a new console, and people interested in the shiniest new tech tend to have plenty of disposable income anyway. Combine that with continuing sales from the lower priced slim, and you’ve got a continually rosy future for the PS4.

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