The PS4 Pro and Scorpio have changed the traditional console cycle for the first time since the NES made video game consoles successful again. Sure we’ve seen constant ‘slim’ models and redesigns, but the visual processing power has always remained the same. The Pro and Scorpio are changing the game by adding 4K resolutions, HDR, and a few more luxury features to entice an upgrade from gamers searching for the cutting edge.
I currently own a PS4 Slim after trading my PS4 and $100 to Eb Games as part of a promotion they had. I did it purely for protection as I bought my first PS4 used and wanted to re-up the warranty. The Slim is fine, but doesn’t look as sleek with the pure matte finish and I find the new power button either inconsistent or confusing. However, I’m only interested in how long it will last, and historically, newer versions of consoles have fared well.
I have zero interest in the Pro however, and am fascinated at who is making the upgrade and how this will shape the console landscape moving forward. Here are my reasons.
1 – I don’t plan on getting a 4K tv
I love technology, but also love a great deal. For me, that usually means staying outside of the cutting edge, sometimes by quite a bit. I’d much rather put my money into a larger screen (or games/consoles) than gimmicks like 3D, clunky netflix interfaces, or 4K resolutions that are still lacking in content. In a few years 4K might be the norm, but the state of media right now feels more about accessibility than quality. We stream through content so quickly the business model is becoming more about quantity than quality.
I’ll always watch visually powerful pieces (Star Wars, Mad Max etc) in as good quality as I can, but for now at least, 4K is not beckoning to me.
I’d much rather put the extra cash into a new console or games instead of improving what is already great.
2 – Inconsistent performance
The first batch of Pro-enabled games were unsurprisingly not impressive. Reports of Pro games running worse than vanilla was the worst kind of marketing. These were games already late in development that had Pro-features tacked on and it’s understandable they weren’t fully optimized. Games designed from the ground up with Pro in mind will obviously fare better, but the initial output has me extra cautious.
My biggest fear is a loss of over quality across all versions due to splitting precious development resources for multiple SKUs.
3 – Why not get an Xbox instead?
Like I already mentioned, I’d rather spend extra money on a new experience instead of a slightly upgraded one. Selling an old PS4 for a Pro is probably pretty close to just buying a new Xbox (or snagging a used one from someone getting a Scorpio!). I’d love to have access to a new roster of exclusives (Tacoma!), not to mention play online with A90sKids Lachlan and Matthew O that are currently on Team Green.
I made a satirical video awhile back as a PS4 super fan criticizing the Xbox controller, but after using it for a few months with my PC, I was shocked by how foreign the PS4 controller started to feel.
4 – Missing features
I view the Pro as a luxury model that made a few awkward compromises.
If I was creating the ultimate 4K media experience, I’m pretty sure I’d want a UHD Blu-Ray player at the center. Online is the future but great internet isn’t everywhere yet, and many gamers love collecting physical copies of their media. It looks great on a shelf and it always works.
The PS2 dominated because it was the first affordable DVD player. The PS3’s blu-ray player lost Sony hundreds of dollars per console sold but helped in the battle against HD-DVD.
5 – Wait-and-see
I’m trepidatious to see how this half-step will affect console generations moving forward. The PC market has dealt with incremental upgrades for decades but I find the reliable simplicity of consoles appealing. We’ve seen terribly optimized console ports already (PS3 Skyrim) but it’s been pretty smooth sailing for the most part. The day I read “basically unplayable on a non-Pro PS4 will be a angry day indeed”.