Whether it’s embracing VR wholeheartedly or challenging the established console generation cycle, you’ve got to hand it to Sony – this company knows how to take risks. They don’t get much bigger than PlayStation 4 Pro, a release that doesn’t just ask you to upgrade your console, but your display too. Built primarily for the new wave of ultra HD 4K screens, the Pro offers both CPU and GPU upgrades over the current PS4. At its best, it offers stunning visual improvements over the same games running on base hardware, but even the more modestly boosted titles show clear improvements. Bearing in mind the entirely reasonable price-point, it’s a highly compelling piece of hardware.
However, for those familiar with PlayStation 4, initially it may all seem to be perhaps too familiar. The console itself uses the same design language as the recently released CUH-2000 PS4 Slim, and booting up the console and navigating the menu systems produces an uncannily similar experience. There’s no acknowledgement of any kind of upgrade at all, aside from the addition of 2160p support in the video output menus, along with a new information screen that scans your display and lets you know whether HDR is supported, and what content DRM systems are supported.
Clearly, Sony is making a statement that PS4 and Pro are of the same family, but this does result in some confusion. For example, there is no indication of whether the game you are about to load has specific PS4 Pro support or not. There’s not even anything like a pop-up explaining that Pro upgrade patches may be available for titles in your library. Personally, I’d be far more likely to revisit games in my collection if a free 4K or high frame-rate update suddenly became available. This is a big missed opportunity that Sony should hopefully resolve.