Should You Buy A PlayStation 4 Pro? I Guess...

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In video game land the response to the PlayStation 4 Pro exists on a spectrum. It's a short spectrum. Extreme enthusiasm and extreme hate does not exist on this spectrum.

On one end: "meh, it looks alright."

On the other: "meh, it looks a bit pointless."

But outside of our little bubble things look a little different. I have a surprising amount of friends asking me this question: "hey Mark, hey Mark, hey Mark... should I buy a PlayStation 4?"

They're asking this question because the answer just got a little bit more complicated. In the beginning mainstream players had a binary choice. Should they buy a PlayStation 4? The answer was forever Yes/No. Now the question has two parts.

1. Should I buy a PlayStation 4? 2. Should I buy the old one or the new one?

Outside of a few rare examples, this might be the first time we've had to answer two questions. Consoles are supposed to be simple. You're only supposed to be answering the one question.

Video game consoles aren't supposed to be this complicated, but this is the new reality. This means that folks like you and I — who regularly function as sounding boards for friends — we're gonna have to get used to a new set of questions.

The Xbox vs PlayStation question. Last generation I flat out told people to buy an Xbox 360 instead of a PS3. This time round I usually recommend the PlayStation 4. Simpler UI, games tend to run better, Xbox One is too big and clunky, etc.

I have my reasons.

Now the landscape is about to change. It's a subtle change, but it exists. Will I still recommend the PlayStation 4 over the Xbox One? Probably, but the gap is closing. The Xbox UI is less terrible, the Xbox One S is a super cheap 4K Blu-ray player. Neither PS4 console has that ability. That could be important to some people. If someone asks me which console they should buy, I might ask them: do you have a 4k TV? That might affect my answer.

But it might be a little too late. Before people used to ask me which console they should buy? That question usually meant a decision between Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Already I'm noticing people are asking me a different question: which PlayStation should I buy? That's bad for Microsoft, but also a tough one for Sony. Sony has some teaching to do here, they have a consumer base in need of education.

Me? I already have an answer to the question, and I've learned it by rote.

Basically this is my plan for every single conversation I'm going to have about the PlayStation 4 Pro in the next month or so.

My reasoning is pretty simple. If you already have a PS4, the Pro isn't really worth the hassle. If you don't have a PS4 there's no reason to not spend an extra hundred bucks future proofing yourself. There's a good chance you'll pick up a 4k TV before the next generation of consoles, might as well cater to that.

Or wait for the Xbox One Scorpio, when this question becomes even more complicated.


    And here I am wondering why these discussions always ignore the Nintendo option.

    I mean, I know. But still :D

      I wish Nintendo would make itself relevant again. Gone are the days of the SNES where all the 3rd parties would be making games for the system...

        I heard the NX will have nearly 1 times the power of the WiiU so maybe this time it will get more 3rd party support.

        Last edited 09/09/16 1:18 pm

      What Nintendo option? They have a portable, a last-gen system with awful support released really late in the cycle, and an unannounced system that they won't let anyone see.

    My question is, Should i trade my 500gb ps4 in for a 1tb slim? is it worth it to do that just for the extra usb? or should i just upgrade the hard drive

      Pretty sure the slim only has 2 USB ports. The Pro has 3 USB ports.

      EB is offering a trade-in where you get about $200 off a new Pro if you trade in an old PS4 and a game. If they are still offering that around PS4 Pro launch time I think that's what I'll do.

        My mistake I'd mistaken the aux port on the back for a third USB

        I'm thinking of doing this, I have a heap of old games I could trade also...out of interest does anyone know what a EB Black member gets on a trade? mate I work with reckons he gets allot more for being Black member.

          Black members get an extra 20% per item. Definitely worth using it if trading in a heap.

          I traded in my old Xbox one and about 20 games when they had an extra 15% (I was a base member so no other bonus) and received an extra $100 on trade in credit for the games.

            I ended up trading both consoles and about 5 games in the weekend, paid $60 for the xbox S and $120 for the ps4 pro pretty happy with that.

      I threw a 2TB drive into my launch PS4. They're about $150. It's a 5 minute job to swap the drives plus time to backup/restore - just make sure you've got an external drive. I deleted all the games to save time as I'm on unlimited broadband - figured all the patches could redownload over the next couple of days I was at work.. If you're otherwise happy with yours, just do that.

        I've been wanting to do that for a while now, but... download limits. Plus, it means buying *two* hard drives to be able to perform the transfer, and I'll end up with two 500GB hard drives I won't use...

        I'll probably just upgrade to a Pro via trade-in - I figure $150 for the HDD, +$50-75 for an extra 500GB HDD to backup to, plus the hassle... vs what, $349 to trade in PS4 + Knack for a Pro? So, net diff is about $125-150... Yep, I'll pay $150 for increased performance, an extra USB port, and someone removing Knack from my games shelf :3

          Nope. Sony announced you can transfer from one ps4 to another just using an ethernet cable. Plus even just upgrading the hdd, i dont understand why you say you need a second 500gb drive? I went from the stock to 2tb, put the os on a flash drive, installed it and the 2tb then transferred everything using a usb cable. It was way easier than i was expecting (plus you tube helps too). Hope that helps your decision a bit :)

            Because redownloading everything would require nearly double my monthly download quota. (EDIT: And I'm talking specifically about swapping the hard drive in one PS4, without access to another PS4, so the ethernet method is irrelevant for my situation)

            Last I checked, upgrading the HDD required you to back up games/apps/etc before you swap the hdd unless you are able to redownload everything. This backup drive can't be the new drive you're upgrading to (as installing the OS will just wipe anything already on the drive), and the current drive obviously can't backup to itself, so you need an external drive to back up to.

            Last edited 09/09/16 1:35 pm

              There is a Seagate portable drive that houses a compatible drive inside, at JB for $119 on sale. Backup to that, and then transfer the backup to your computer. Then carefully remove the drive from the enclosure and you can install it into the PS4. the leftover drive can be put back into the enclosure and you can transfer the backup to that, and then to the PS4. Bit of mucking about, but rock solid for $119 and no re-downloading.

          Don't have an old 500GB external usb? I'd lend you one but geography. :(

          I actually used one of these:

          With an old 500GB 3.5 drive I had lying around.

          Last edited 09/09/16 2:42 pm

            I've got far too many HDDs lying about, but they're all either long dead, or too small, or both. I've got an 1.8" HDD I converted to a pocket-USB drive for uni (before the days of cheap flash memory) that probably still works, but I think it's only 250GB... will double-check.

        TBH, I don't even need the 1TB HDD on the PS4 Pro. I was thinking of plugging in a 1TB SSD in there. Already got the 4K TV, I'm ready :)

      Upgrade the drive to 2tb. Unless you have a 4k tv and super shiny graphics mean a lot to you. But if that is the case, and you have money to burn, get a gaming pc. I picked the 1st option as im poor, kinda lazy and travel a bit (a ps4 is way easier to transport in a back pack or on a plane)

      That is a question I am also asking myself and anyone who wants to offer an opinion.

      No. You absolutely should not. You'd pay more than you would just upgrading the HDD yourself. Unless space in your place is at a huge, huge premium, you're throwing away money. Slim PS4 is for people that don't already have a system and want a cheaper one.

      Trading it in toward a pro? Maybe.

      The USB on the PS4 is only used for charging, you can't download games onto USB devices like you can on the XBOX1 :( Cmon Sony please let us do this!

    Pretty much agree. If you already have a PS4, there's no need to get a Pro, unless you're absolutely obsessed with getting the best framerate, resolution, and/or highest graphical fidelity.

    One caveat; if you are intending to get into the PSVR scene, the Pro will be worth the upgrade, for one reason. Supersampling. It'll help make text more readable in VR, and make the picture seem sharper than it actually is. Also, VR games should be a little prettier with the Pro.

    Oh, and I guess if you want to have a third USB port on your PS4, get the Pro ;). Hey, there are worse reasons to upgrade. Though I can't think of one off the top of my head.

      Yes this is the question I need answered, does it help PSVR users and by how much?

        We won't truly find out until they're both released, so take everything with a grain of salt.

        From the Kotaku liveblog of the meeting:
        "PSVR now gets mentioned. Cerny notes that you can have higher pixel counts or higher frame rates with the PS4 Pro as opposed to the standard PS4 model."

        Which is somewhat bullshit, as the PSVR headset has a fixed pixel count and fixed set of frame rates. Though, to achieve the minimum 60fps (reprojected to 120fps), developers may render their PSVR games at a lower than 1080p resolution. The Pro will certainly help in that regard, very likely ensuring that VR games are rendered at the full 1080p.

        On top of that, like I mentioned, supersampling the graphical output will lead to a sharper looking display. I fully expect PSVR devs to take advantage of that with the Pro. With lower resolution displays, supersampling makes a _world_ of difference. It's perfect for any VR headset, not just the PSVR, if you have the graphical power to support it.

        Logical reasoning says the Pro and PSVR will be on another level, compared to the PS4. Not to say that the PS4 will be bad. It'll certainly be fine for VR. But it'll be like the difference between DVD and Bluray.

          PSVR can do full 120fps too, can't it? I almost want to say it could do 90 but can't remember any more. Not sure how feasible it'd be to get any games running at a smooth 120fps but it'd be neat if they could.

            Yep, PSVR has the following modes.
            * 60fps (reprojected to 120fps)
            * 90fps (reprojected)
            *120fps (reprojected)

            Note, all modes now have reprojection as mandatory. That wasn't the case initially.

            I very much doubt that devs are going to change the display mode in the Pro version of their game, as the leap between the three is quite large. They can make better use of the GPU. Hence giving that as a reason for using the Pro for VR seems to me to be a bit disingenuous.

      You see there's the issue right there! I wonder what percentage of gamers would be absolutely obsessed with getting the best framerate, resolution, and/or highest graphical fidelity? I'm certainly interested.

      Then there's the Scorpio...

      Last edited 09/09/16 1:03 pm

        I think the Scorpio already has this one in the bag: 'highest quality pixels' confirmed day one

          6 teraflops! I'll be getting one I just don't want to wait a year.

        If it wasn't for the PSVR, I wouldn't be getting a Pro. I'm content with how well the PS4 plays games.

        Scorpio will be a little rich for my blood, though it could tempt me if it was less than $500. With exclusives, only interested in Forza Horizon 3 and Ori and the Blind Forest. In the end, it's all about the games.

      My reason is the fact that I absolutely flog my PS4. It's my go to system for games and Netflix. So, I've decided to trade in my PS4 and one game for the $349.00 PS4 Pro offer.

      Since I use it often, an upgrade would be welcome.

      My XBO is collecting dust. Halo 5 is the only game I used it for. I will buy a Scorpio when it's more than a spec list and becomes an actual product, but the issue is still content.

      Yeah, and let's be honest, if you're worried about framerate, resolution and graphics that much you're probably playing most of your games on pc anyway :P

    I feel like the they are positioning the pro ahead of a wave of 4k Tv/monitor purchases. I'm pretty sure I can wait it out, probably a late next year type of purchase.

    pretty easy, do you want a 4k Blu-ray player that plays games or do you want the most powerful console currently on the market by 3 fold?

      It doesnt play 4K blu rays

        That's what he's saying. Do you want the lower powered 4K Blu-Ray player (Xbox One S) or the more powerful console (PS4 Pro)? So basically, do you care about media functions or gaming?

          I have an original PS4 and just bought a Xbox One S purely for 4k blu-rays.

          Had the PS4 Pro had a 4k blu-ray player, I would have waited for that.

    Goddamn @markserrels breaking out the flow charts for this one =P

      Now that he's management, his life is naught but flow charts and powerpoint presentations.

    I'll buy the Pro regardless. That and the Scorpio too.

    I have a launch PS4. I'll be upgrading to Pro.

    - I live in the USA, where it's cheaper relative to my income than it would be in Australia
    - I have PSVR ordered and don't own any other VR headsets yet
    - I own a 4k TV with HDR

    I want a PSVR (got one on order) so whether I upgrade will depend entirely on how beneficial it is for that. I have no intention of buying a 4k TV just yet.

    I have a 4K TV so I'm tempted, but I barely play my PS4 as it is as all my friends are on xbox but I'm interested depending on trade ins etc.

    Not really any interest on my part since I already own a PS4 and don't own a 4K TV. I'm thinking I'll just wait another 2-3 years for the proper PS5 then upgrade my console and my TV at the same time. If I didn't already have one, though, I guess I'd get the pro since it'll give a bit of a performance boost and really isn't a huge extra financial outlay on top of the cost of the base model PS4 anyway.

    I don't understand all the issues with it not having a 4K Blu Ray player. I never watch anything on physical media anymore. Everything is streamed. Surely Sony knows this and has made the decision that it's simply not worth it for the price.

    As for the unit itself, I'll be getting one, don't have a 4k Tv but am getting a PSVR. Even without the PSVR I'd be interested in it just to allow everything to run properly at 1080p, cos lets be honest the base console has issues there with some games.

    Last edited 09/09/16 2:50 pm

      Compare a 4K stream and a 4K blu-ray and come back to me. The difference is very apparent. Maybe one day streaming can match physical media, but not presently.......not even close. This is before talking about things like internet speed, movie choice etc etc.

      Me? I was looking at the PS4 Pro, but today bought a Xbox One S purely as a 4k Blu-ray player. The fact it gets me some interesting M$ exclusives is a big bonus. I've got an original PS4 so couldn't see why I'd upgrade.

      I'd love to stream everything and forget physical media. Like I did with 1080p, but recently I watched a 1080p movie via blu-ray and realised what I was missing. 4K is even more profound.

      Last edited 09/09/16 5:24 pm

    yeah get it if your going PSVR ... otherwise meh

    Hadn't got around to buying a PS4 yet, own a 4k Tv and have been putting aside some cash for a new console around Christmas.

    Kind of wish it had everything everyone was hoping for, but honestly I just want something for PS4 exclusives. Been regretting my choice of an Xbone for a while.

    Im a pc guy but if a red dead sequel comes out il buy the best system it releases on.

    For any Remote Players out there, I believe that one of the features of the PS4 Pro is that it will now be 1080p on your PS Vita.

    I just have this feeling that the upgraded ps4pro will still struggle to run 4K games. Some of the toughest pcs I have seen barely get 60fps at 4K running dual gpus (consistently I am talking, peaks in fps do not count it has to be smooth). So with the ps4 pro I just have to wonder how the hell 4K games are going to look. Considering that not all games even output at 1080p on current consoles and run at 24fps (cinematic my ass). Will some minor improvements make it to 4K at 30fps... I highly doubt it. I have this sneaking suspicion that it will be 1080p upscaled or some horse shit like that.

    My faith in consoles is just not there when it comes to 4K.

    Will the thing make existing and new games run with enhanced performance ? That's what I want to know. Otherwise the thing is useless to me. I don't have a 4k tv and I don't care about blu-ray films. Movies are not about resolution but their style, direction, acting and themes.

      Quality hugely impacts the ability to appreciate those things. Yes, a great movie is a great movie on VHS, DVD, Laserdisc, whatever. But assuming you have access to the better quality at a reasonable price why would you not?

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