So today, Sony announced two new models of the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation 4 Slim which is a smaller console that does everything the original PlayStation 4 can do and uses 30% less energy. The PlayStation 4 Pro is the other model they announced and has left many gaming consumers scratching their head asking why?
The PlayStation 4 Pro plays all the PlayStation 4 games and for some makes them look better on 4K TVs. 4K is still relatively new to the consumer market, and hasn’t seem to caught fire the way HDTVs did when they were introduced to the market. Personally from talking to people I know, most people don’t see that big of difference between 1080p and 4K. So that might explain why 4K isn’t catching on as well as HDTVs did years ago.
Sony also announced that all PlayStation 4s will get a system update to take advantage of HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range which refers to the imaging and for gaming allows for more textures. Now if 4K was relatively new to the market, HDR just came out of the technology womb. HDR is fancy words for prettier looking picture. Brighter bright colors and better dark and low light colors. Which is great for the 40+ million who already own a PlayStation 4, but I would guess of those 40+ million consumers, less than 2 million have a TV or monitor capable of HDR.
Sony claims these updates to the console’s ecosystem is for future proofing. But what it creates is confusion for the average consumer. This holiday season, retailers will have PlayStation 4 Slim, PlayStation 4 Pro, and if retailers still have back stock of original PlayStation 4s. Now pending retailers do sell out of original PlayStation 4s and only sells Slims and Pros, it still creates a confusing scenario for the average consumer who wants to buy a PlayStation 4 for themselves or a loved one. The Slim is going to retail for $299 and the Pro will retail for $399. People who don’t read the tech blogs and don’t care for 4K gaming will go for the cheaper Slim model. The specs aren’t high enough to warrant those who have had a PlayStation 4 for years to upgrade. On top of the fact Sony is releasing a VR headset for $399 as well which fans of the console have been saving for all year to buy. So who is the PlayStation 4 Pro really for?
Sony’s audience who bought the PlayStation 4 on launch or close to launch probably won’t be wanting to upgrade yet, if anything they’ll want to get a PlayStation VR headset to experience virtual reality which is being touted as a new chapter in gaming. People who bought a PlayStation 4 in the last year probably won’t be able to justify purchasing another PlayStation 4 as their current one is still under warranty. The HDR update will be great for those who already own a PlayStation 4 and have a TV or monitor capable of HDR, giving consumers who were considering the PlayStation even less reason to upgrade to the Pro.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months. The PlayStation Pro seems against everything Sony has established this console generation to convincingly defeat Microsoft in sales and dominance in the market. My guess is PlayStation Pros won’t sell well at all this generation as most people buying a PlayStation 4 will opt for the Slim model.