Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sam's Take: Why The PS4 Pro Is A Bad Idea

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When rumours for the PS4 Pro first appeared, I was pretty sure that it wasn't true. "Surely," my younger, unwise mind of a couple of weeks ago said. "Sony wouldn't shoot themselves in the foot by attempting to divide its fanbase." But, alas, here we are, with all signs pointing to a more powerful PS4 console being released, and I'm here to tell you why I really don't think it's a good idea.
Let's start with why Sony would want to make a PS4 Pro. It's clear that it's a long way ahead of the competition sales-wise, so it would make business sense for it to make a more expensive console to capitalise on its big fanbase. Not only that, but Sony's consoles have always been flagships entertainment-wise: the PlayStation 2 could play DVDs, the PlayStation 3 started the Blu-Ray craze, and, if all goes to plan, the PS4 Pro should be able to play 4K Blu-rays, as well as stream 4K video from apps such as Netflix and Sony's new 4K service, Ultra.
However, it's very, very unlikely that the PS4 Pro will be able to play games in native 4K. Few PCs can actually handle the computational power required to play games in Ultra High-Definition at a sturdy framerate, and those that can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Upscaling aside, then, any potential boosts to performance would presumably improve upon the 1080p experience that we already expect.
But this misses the entire point of console gaming: everyone is on equal terms. People buy consoles because they want a system that's good for four or five years – one that can play the latest games and ensure that it'll always offer the exact same experience as everyone else. This new PS4 Pro, if it does boast hardware improvements, would undermine that. What's the point of building a big audience when you're just going to split them up again?
I get that Sony has room to experiment – its considerable sales lead isn't slowing down anytime soon – but I feel like this is a step too far. Many PS4 owners aren't too happy at the moment for a variety of reasons: the PS Plus lineups are getting more meagre by the month and many of the features found on the PS3 have yet to be incorporated into the newer console. It's true that the Japanese juggernaut has yet to massively slip up this generation – but this could very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
With PSVR launching this year, as well as some of the brand's biggest exclusive franchises getting new instalments, Sony needs to work on keeping the fans happy in order to get them on board for experiments to come. I definitely trust Sony as a company to make good decisions, but I feel that the firm shouldn't fracture fans just yet.
After all, PS4 should be for the players – not for the payers.

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