Just over a month has passed since PlayStation 4 Pro arrived in the Digital Foundry office – and we’ve been gradually working our way through its . The quality of Pro support varies from title to title but at its best, the new console absolutely delivers in providing an enhanced PlayStation experience worthy of a 4K display. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, FIFA 17, Ratchet and Clank, Hitman, inFamous, Robinson: The Journey, Titanfall 2 – and doubtless many more – all provide a palpable, compromise-free upgrade. However, it’s fair to say that it’s also been a rocky road for the Pro and with Project Scorpio on the way, we can sure that Microsoft is watching intently, tweaking and refining its own 4K proposition based on feedback to the new PlayStation.
So with the benefit of experience, what works and what doesn’t with Sony’s new console? At the most basic level, the platform holder has demonstrated that there is demand for a mid-generation PlayStation refresh, and the time is right for a machine that targets 4K displays. Ultra HD screens are shipping in volume, the prices on new panels are often irresistible and while there are still aspects of TV technology that require refinement – principally HDR support or the lack of it – we’re at the point now where even bargain-basement branded screens offer excellent value and performance.
Beyond the Pro’s spec, there are two major achievements to highlight that will change console gaming going forward: it has taken 4K gaming (or an approximation of it) to the mainstream and it has also prioritized and started to deliver on the promise of full high dynamic range rendering. And in both respects, it has managed to leapfrog PC – the usual pioneer in gaming innovation – in terms of wider-scale consumer adoption. Back in April, I saw some exceptional HDR software at the GTX 1080 launch – but it’s Sony hardware that is now delivering HDR games in reasonable volume. By the time Scorpio arrives, HDR support should be commonplace in new games and TV implementations to support it should be more robust. But let’s be clear – it’s Sony that has been the catalyst here.