Remember when console refreshes happened somewhere around the 5 to 7 year range? During that span, console owners relished the fact that games got better because developers exploited the power of systems by learning new techniques that push the existing hardware to their full potential. That’s probably why consoles had longer life spans, meaning that there was ample time for savings before a new consoles were expected to replace their predecessors.
In a strange irony, consoles are increasingly following the dynamics we’re seeing over on the PC side, wherein existing consoles are technically being “upgraded” to accommodate the ever demanding requirements for new games. Take virtual reality for instance, where its performance over on the PC is mainly dictated by the hardware it’s running on – so newer, more powerful components equates to smoother performances.
Sony is the latest entrant to the VR space, and given its wealth of developers and partners, is expected to really help popularize VR to the mainstream. Even though its existing console is capable of handling its new PlayStation VR system, the announcement and release of the PlayStation 4 Pro console will force those interested in diving into the world of VR a decision to make – whether or not the PlayStation 4 Pro is a necessary upgrade.
First and foremost, the thing we’re face after unboxing the new console is its design. Most people would imagine a new console to be somewhat more refined, in terms of its overall size, but the PlayStation 4 Pro is in reality just a smidgen beefier. However, we can’t neglect to remember that there’s the PlayStation 4 Slim, which as its name implies, is more apt to be space saving than either consoles. Still, it’s nice to see that Sony has kept to a uniform styling here, as the PlayStation 4 Pro features the same angular, hard-lines of the lineup.
When it comes to ports, we do appreciate that they’ve added an additional USB port to the console, which comes in handy when you connect the headset’s required processing unit. At the same time, though, we really wished that the designers were mindful about this add-on attachmenti, seeing that the processing unit is still somewhat of an eyesore – with all of those wires just bunching out, making it seem like a jungle of wires just going everywhere.
Now, in our short time just checking out the PlayStation 4 Pro’s performance in terms of the PlayStation VR, it’s really tough to notice the difference unless you try out the same game on both consoles. Obviously, there’s going to be no change to the resolution, so the only meaningful improvement is going to be seen with the frame rate. In a way, that’s going to help, mainly because a smoother frame rate performance will definitely help to make for a more agreeable VR experience.
Frame rate, of course, has an important role when it comes to the overall experience. Motion sickness prone individuals such as myself, had issues in games that involved heavy movement, which caused me to have extreme nausea after a few minutes of play – like RIGS Mechanized Combat League. While that game seemed to perform smoothly on a standard PlayStation 4, it’s really tough to say right now if it’s any better playing it on the PlayStation 4 Pro. I’ve played several PSVR games on the PS4 Pro, but it’ll be interesting to see what changes we get after I compare it to the PS4.
Virtual reality aside, the matter of pricing will undoubtedly have the biggest impact on a buying decision. Currently, it’s questionable whether the $400 premium for the PS4 Pro is warranted over the sub-$250 bundles we’ve been seeing this holiday season for the standard PS4. We’ll be putting the new PS4 Pro through the paces, to uncover exactly if it’s worth making the jump – or whether in general it’s a suitable buying decision for virtual reality.