Those of us eagerly awaiting the PS5 might be surprised to learn that the next console to come from Sony is in fact the 4K PlayStation 4 Pro, which is now available to buy around the world. We delve into the latest PS4 Pro news, which is a mid-generation upgrade offering enhanced graphics performance and 4K output. Read next: PS4 Pro review
Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 4 Pro was real only days before it was due to take the stage at E3 2016, while also confirming that we wouldn't catch a glimpse of it at E3 2016. Sony Interactive president Andrew House told The Financial Times "It is intended to sit alongside and compliment the standard PS4" and that "we will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle."
The PS4 Pro offers a full 4K output and offer increased graphical power, and is be compatible with current PS4 games, with most upcoming PS4 games supporting the upgraded console going forward. Not all games will be 4K-enabled though, as it's down to developers to decide how to use the extra computing power. It costs more than the current machine costs, but not as much as previously speculated.
See also: Best games consoles
Check out the new Xbox One S, the PS4 Pro's main rival, unveiled during Microsoft's E3 2016 presentation. There's also Microsoft's high-end console, currently named Project Scorpio, due for release in 2017. Don't miss: Best PS4 deals.
Updated to include claims from a developer that the PS4 Pro performs similarly to a $900 PC.
PS4 Pro UK release date and pricing: When is the PlayStation 4 Pro coming out in the UK? How much will it cost?
PlayStation 4 Pro release date: 10 November 2016
While release date rumours about Sony's PlayStation Pro claimed that it'd be ready to buy before PlayStation VR launches in October, that wasn't actually the case. Confirmed by Sony at its PlayStation event on 7 September, the PlayStation 4 Pro wouldn't hit the shelves before PSVR. In fact, the upgraded PlayStation 4 wasn't due to be released until almost a month later, on 10 November 2016. It's now available to buy in the UK via a number of retailers.
But how much does it cost? While many had assumed prior to announcement that the PlayStation 4 Pro, or 'NEO' as it was referred to, would set back high-end gamers more than £500, the reality is that it's more affordable than many expected. How much exactly? The PlayStation 4 Pro will set users back £349 in the UK, and is available to order right now, although orders are backdated at the time of writing and delivery may take longer than usual.
Where can you order it? Well for those of us in the UK, we have three options (at the time of writing): excited gamers can head over to GAME or Argos right now and order the PS4 Pro for £349.99, or alternatively you can head to Amazon or Tesco and order the console for slightly cheaper at £332.
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PS4 sales up over 200 percent following PS4 Pro launch
While the 'hype train' didn't necessarily build up as much speed as some had imagined before the PS4 Pro launch, it seems it didn't matter. Why? Since the console launched in the UK on 10 November, PS4 console sales have tripled in the UK. That's according to GfK hardware data seen by MCV for the week ending Saturday November 12 2016, meaning that the console had a huge effect after being on sale for only two days. Specifically, GfK claims that overall PS4 sales went up by a whopping 204 percent.
Breaking down those figures, 65 percent of sales were for the PS4 Pro, while the standard PS4 (launch and slim) also saw a rise of 8.5 percent week-on-week. It also beat the Xbox One, with Sony taking 53 percent share of the hardware market while Microsoft's console managed 37 percent.
PS4 Pro 'equal to $900 PC' according to developer
A developer of Ark: Survival Evolved, one of the most exciting upcoming open-world games that just launched a beta version on PS4, has claimed that the performance provided by the PS4 Pro is equal to that of a $900 gaming PC. During a recent interview with WCCFTech, Lead Programmer and co-founder of Studio Wildcard Jeremy Stieglitz said:
"Very impressed with its performance, at a very reasonable price. We estimate it would cost at least $900 to build a similarly powerful PC, and that's if you were custom-building it with extreme cost control. We estimate its raw GPU performance is similar to an NVIDIA 970, and along with CPU improvements and overall more memory, it's a really high benchmark for console performance. Hats off to Sony for "crossing the Rubicon" of console hardware updates (bonus that it tends to improve performance in just about every existing title in the PlayStation 4 library)!"
With the extra power provided by the console, developers have given PS4 Pro gamers a number of graphical options, from 60fps at 720p, to 30-60fps at 1080p, depending on the "Detailed Graphics" setting.
PS4 Pro features and spec: What to expect from the PlayStation 4 Pro
The next console coming from Sony will be the 4K PlayStation 4 Pro, not the PS5 as originally thought. The PS4 Pro is more suited to graphics-heavy games and the likes of VR, with better performance and 4K support. We assume that the upgraded internals of the mid-generation upgrade will negate the need for the secondary box to power the PlayStation VR headset, a requirement for current PS4 owners, although this is yet to be confirmed.
The PS4 Pro can output not only 4K, but also HDR video, both possible thanks to the upgraded GPU featured in the high-end console. The 4K capabilities stretch beyond gameplay, as the likes of Netflix and YouTube are developing 4K-enabled apps for the Pro console, although Blu-Ray UHD discs won't be supported. The graphics provided by the PS4 Pro are fairly impressive when compared to the standard PS4, as the company showcased footage from games inlcuding Spider-Man and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided during its announcement.
However, Sony has confirmed that not all the games will support native 4K resolution. In fact, Sony boss Andrew House told Digital Spy that "I would say the majority will be upscaled – at least based on the game portfolio I have seen to date."
Microsoft has also weighed in on the lack of a Blu-ray drive with senior Xbox director, Albert Pinello, saying "I would say it's one of the more surprising decisions that they made, given their history with being on the forefront of media transitions like they have." in an interview with TechRadar.
Update (24/10/2016): Speaking at Sony's San Mateo HQ, PlayStation architect Mark Cerny explained that providing enhanced graphics and increased resolution would mean the hardware had to be doubled. Literally. According to Cerny, the PS4 Pro sports not one but two chips, and when running standard PS4 games, the Pro would only make use of a single chip. However, once a Pro-supported game is opened, the two chips will work in tangent.
“That gives us an extremely clean way to support the existing 700 titles. We just turn off half the GPU and run it at something quite close to the original GPU.” he said during the presentation. Cerny went into more detail about the PS4 Pro, which can be found in the Digital Foundry write up.
Sony has also boosted the clock rate for the new PS4 Pro, providing gamers with a much more powerful console than is currently available. It also features a larger 1TB hard drive, double the amount of stoage when compared to the standard 500GB PlayStation 4.
Those interested in buying a PlayStation 4 Pro will also benefit from an enhanced PlayStation VR experience, offering cripser scenes, higher frame rates and a generally better virual reality experience than the one provided by the standard PlayStation 4 console. Also see: NES Classic review
Weeks before the release of the PS4 Pro, Tripwire Interactive has showcased gameplay from upcoming PS4 game Killing Floor 2 running on the PS4 Pro. The game, already available for PC, is coming to the PS4 with a range of enhancements specifically for the PS4, providing users with an enhanced framerate, graphics and increased resolution. The below video gives fans an idea about the kind of improvements the PS4 Pro will offer when compared to the standard PS4 console:
Fortunately for those who don't want to upgrade to the PS4 Pro, the console will not be getting its own games or exclusive features. From October 2016, every PS4 game will come with a "base" mode and a "Pro" mode, making it compatible with either console. Players will be able to keep the games bought on PS4, and although the Pro supports 4K, the games won't have to.
The good news is that all games that feature a Pro mode will have the above logo, reminiscent of the "Only on PlayStation" badges on PlayStation-only games. The icon, either on the box art or on the PlayStation Store, indicates that the game features enhanced graphics, higher resolution or an improved frame rate. But what about existing games? Sony has confirmed that a number of existing games including Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4 will receive updates in the future enabling support for the PS4 Pro, and while some worried that these updates will be kept behind a paywall, Sony has released a statement claiming that all Pro patches will be free.
PS4 Pro supported games: Which PS4 games feature PS4 Pro support?
Speaking via the PlayStation Blog, Sony has announced that there will be 30 games that take advantage of the beefed-up PlayStation 4 Pro on launch day, with more updates coming before the end of 2016. This means that users will be able to take advantage of the upped resolution, high-definition textures and more as soon as they receive the console once it's released. You can find the list of launch games below:
- Assassins's Creed: The Ezio Collection
- Battlefield 1
- Battlezone (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3
- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
- Driveclub VR (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- EA Sports FIFA 17
- Hustle Kings
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- inFAMOUS First Light
- inFAMOUS Second Son
- Killing Floor 2
- Mafia III
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
- NBA 2K17
- PlayStation VR Worlds (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- Ratchet & Clank
- Rez Infinite (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- RIGS Mechanized Combat League (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- Rise Of The Tomb Raider
- Robinson: The Journey (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- Super Stardust Ultra (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- The Elders Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
- Skyrim Special Edition
- The Last Of Us Remastered
- The Last Of Us: Left Behind
- The Playroom VR (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- The Witness
- Titanfall 2
- Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
- Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (PlayStation VR enhancements)
- Viking Squad
- World Of Tanks
- XCOM 2