With the announcement of its new, slimmer PS4, and the PS4 Pro, Sony may just have added another dimension to what it means to be a gamer in 2016 and beyond.
It’s a great time to be a gamer, what with so many big titles rolling out of development studios on an almost weekly basis, and the near-constant advancements in both hardware and display technology driving the gaming experience to unprecedented new levels.
At the PlayStation Meeting event in New York, the slimmer PS4 was shown off in all its sleek and efficient glory. It is set to be available in most markets by September 17th, expected to cost £259 in the UK. It will house all of the same components as the existing PS4, which Sony delightedly proclaimed has now sold 40 million units worldwide since its launch in late 2013.
The most exciting part of the event however had to be the launch of the new PS4 Pro.
Costing £349 in the UK and pencilled in for November release, the PS4 Pro is described by Lead System Architect, Mark Cerny as being able to
reach resolutions not thought to be possible in 2016.
The new console promises 4K and HDR support with more than double the GPU power and a boosted clock rate on the CPU. Alongside the graphical advances, the PS4 Pro will come with a 1TB hard disk drive.
It’s all exciting stuff, but what does this all mean?
You might’ve heard of 4K previously, it’s been a bit of a buzz word in TV for a few years now. YouTube already supports 4K and most high-end smart phones nowadays offer 4K support. In resolution terms, it’s double the quality of HD, packing 2160 vertical pixels into the space that HD uses for 1080 pixels.
HDR? High Dynamic Range is a term that your photographer mate will probably use from time-to-time: it basically allows lighting to look a lot more natural and closer to how the human eye has evolved to see colour and light. The best part of that, Sony says HDR support is coming to existing PS4 consoles via a firmware update just next week.
The advancements of PS4 Pro aren’t exclusive to that console, older PS4’s will benefit from HDR, as we’ve just mentioned. What if you don’t have a 4K-ready TV? Sony has thought about that. Your PS4 Pro will offer enhanced detail to a standard HD TV, so nobody is getting left behind. In addition, existing PS4 games will run on the PS4 Pro and new games will continue to work on the original console.
The PS4 Pro isn’t all about gaming either. Sony has announced that Netflix has an app ready for day one which will allow users to watch content in 4K. By the end of 2016, there will be around 600 hours of 4K content on the platform through its new app. YouTube are also developing an app for PS4 Pro which will allow users to stream 4K content on the new console. So in terms of the 4K TV revolution, Sony is definitely keeping itself relevant as we move into 2017.
And the games?
You can't have a games console without any games, can you?
Sony showed off some footage of Mass Effect Andromeda, Horizon Zero Dawn, Spiderman and Rise of the Tomb Raider running with the full benefit of 4K and HDR on the PS4 Pro. I’ve got to say, everything they chose to show did looking particularly gorgeous on the new hardware.
We'll be at EGX later this month for the first hands-on play of Horizon: Zero Dawn, but for now, here's a sneak peek of it in all its 4K beauty.
What do you think of the new PS4 Pro? What are you most looking forward to about the new console? Let us know in the comments section below.