Earlier this evening, Sony’s press conference in New York officially revealed the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro (previously the PS4 Neo).
I’m sure you’re wondering: “Why is an Xbox-centric site covering PlayStation news?”
That’s because we believe Xbox news is only valuable when it’s in the context of the entire industry.
We intend to put today’s PlayStation announcements in perspective and explore how this might affect Microsoft and the Xbox One.
First up, the PS4 Slim. Rumours have been circulating for weeks on the form and function of this hardware revision for the PS4, and it seems many of the rumour were true.
The PS4 Slim is a sleeker version of the current PS4. It’s more power efficient but otherwise provides no performance improvements over the current model. This puts the Xbox One S in a strong position against it thanks to it’s 4K video playback functionality and its HDR display output. However, the PS4 Pro is looking to fight back against this perceived advantage.
The PS4 Pro once again matches many of the rumours that have been circulating of late. The hardware will be twice as powerful as the current PS4, output 4K video and games, support HDR, and remain fully compatible with all current PS4 titles.
The PS4 Pro will also help upscale the image quality of games even if you’re running them on a non-4K TV. Essentially rendering games at 4K then outputting that in 1080p. It’s trick Nvidia graphics cards have been using for a few years on PC that aids in providing a smoother and more detailed HD images.
However, as powerful as the PS4 Pro is, Project Scorpio’s specs suggest the new Xbox console coming in 2017 will be significantly more powerful. A win for Microsoft, so it may seem. But that’s not the end of the story. The power discrepancy between the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio systems will only be relevant when both machines are released and competing against each other, and the PS4 Pro will hitting store shelves as early as November 10th this year.
The PS4 has been riding high on it’s power advantage since it and the Xbox One released in late 2013, and despite Microsoft quelling that advantage on paper with Project Scorpio’s specs, Sony have rallied and will maintain their advantage due to the PS4 Pro releasing imminently. Moreover, a firmware update will also be released that will allow all current PS4s to support HDR.
This means the Xbox One S’s advantages are being stripped away. HDR will soon be supported across the PlayStation 4 family of devices and the release of the PS4 Pro in November will match the 4K video playback – with the added benefit of 4K gamming to boot. Moreover, the PS4 Pro will cost £349, the same as the PS4’s original price point.
And so the Xbox One S is a cheaper way to gain access to 4K video playback but it’s HDR support is no longer special. Meanwhile, Project Scorpio’s release date of late 2017 means the PS4 Pro will have exclusive 4K console gaming for 12 months. This puts Microsoft on the back foot again. If they are able to speed up the development of Project Scorpio then that will help significantly when combatting Sony’s PS4 Pro. Additionally, if a firmware update could also be implemented to all Xbox One consoles then that too will aid in their fight. Whatever happens next, we’ll be here to cover the news.