So the PlayStation 4 Pro was officially announced today alongside the PlayStation 4 Slim. The Pro is going to launch for $399 (so really $400) in November. Now before today, I was hardcore in favor of what was then known by the codename PS4 Neo (or PS4K since 4K resolution was supposed to be its big purpose). What changed? The announced features, or rather, what WASN'T announced.
First off, let's hit the hardware specs. I'm no tech expert, so I might be mistaken with some of my conclusions, but from looking at the specs, it doesn't look like nearly as much of an upgrade as many of us were initially led to believe (which, admittedly, was based on rumors rather than confirmed sources). Certainly the GPU has received a huge upgrade; while it's still the same base graphics chip, it's a much more powerful version, allowing for somewhere around 4.2 teraflops as opposed to the PS4's current 1.8 teraflops. That's certainly a huge boost. From what I've seen (correct me if I'm wrong about this), however, the CPU and RAM are staying the same. If there are upgrades to those two, they're not reflected in the specs lists I've seen. That's my big disappointment; a stronger GPU is great, but since some of the guys in Sony working on it have said it was made in part to allow for better performance from the PlayStation VR headset (which I am ALL kinds of hyped about), I had hoped for a boost to memory and processing power as well as graphical prowess. No doubt it will still help PS VR, but how much? Since I don't have a 4K TV yet, the upscaling is a bit of a moot point, especially since I highly doubt those specs are capable of pulling off native 4K, especially not at any great framerate. It should give us solid 1080p60, which is great, but I don't think an extra 30 frames per second is worth $400.
Now here's my BIG gripe and honestly the biggest reason that I'm holding off for a while instead of pre-ordering - storage space. Yes, it has a 1 TB HDD. Whatever, that's nothing when every other game takes 50 damn gigabytes to install. I have 2 TB of data on my PS4 right now, and I've got a NUMBER of games pre-ordered. This could all be fixed, however, with one very simple solution - let me use a damn external hard drive. The Xbox One allows it. Hell, the Wii U allows it, and it took me almost two years to fill up just 32 GB on that thing. The only thing the PS4 can do with an external HDD right now is back-up data and store images and videos; you can't play games from an external. I have a 5 TB HDD in my PS4 right now because I'm using Nyko's data bank to allow for cheaper (and higher capacity) 3.5" desktop HDDs instead of the 2.5" laptop HDDs the PS4 (and PS3 for that matter) are designed to use. Since they're using a new case for the PS4 Pro, I'm willing to bet my left kidney that my data bank won't work. If Nyko releases a data bank for the PS4 Pro, then yeah, I'll probably pick up a Pro for the extra horsepower with 1080p display and PlayStation VR, but if I'm starting off with twice as much data as the stock HDD can hold, no thanks. It's not worth that extra expense and headache for me.
Now it's puzzling enough why Sony won't just allow full external HDD support - I can see literally no advantage to the omission of that feature - but what really puzzles me (despite being of literally zero importance to me personally) is the decision not to put a UHD Blu-ray drive in the PS4K. It can upscale to 4K, sure, and it can stream 4K videos, but it can't read 4K UHD Blu-ray movies. Wasn't 4K the entire point of this new hardware revision? I mean, the only reason people bought a PS3 when it launched was because it was a cheap Blu-ray player. There are a lot of people who, I'm sure, would are on the fence and would be pushed over to buy one if it included that, but for people for whom gaming is a secondary consideration after multimedia use, Sony has just given those potential customers a great reason to buy an Xbox One S instead of a PlayStation 4 Pro - the Xbox One S, despite being quite a bit weaker than the PS4 Pro, can play 4K Blu-rays. What the hell, Sony?
So yeah, I'm going to be holding off for at LEAST couple months on jumping to the PS4 Pro. I'll definitely make the move eventually (since I plan to get a 4K TV at some point in the not-too-distant future), but unless the standard PS4's performance with PS VR is just painfully craptastic, it won't be anytime soon.
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.