The era of 4K gaming
Itcertainly felt like it was only yesterday when Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) was considered as the standard for gaming. If you took upon the task to build your own gaming rig, you would’ve made sure that it would be powerful enough to run the most graphically-intensive games in Full HD at a smooth 60 fps. The same can be said if you were contemplating on purchasing a pre-built gaming system from brands like Acer, ASUS, or MSI – you really wouldn’t bring yourself to accept anything that isn’t capable of running games in Full HD. Period.
But these days, it would be considered a cardinal sin if gaming rigs and consoles aren’t able to run games in Full HD, as we are now already in the midst of welcoming the next frontier: 4K gaming. We’ll be taking a closer look at what 4K brings to the table in this feature, alongside how console makers Sony and Microsoft are attempting to leverage on it with their respective midgeneration gaming console refresh.
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro
Earlier last month, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 Pro, a more powerful version of the original PlayStation 4, which has been around since February 2013.
According to Sony, the GPU of the PS4 Pro has more than double the graphical power of the GPU within the standard PS4. It’s a bold claim, but it isn’t unfounded – the PS4 Pro sports an improved AMD Radeon Polaris’-based GPU that o ers a whopping 4.2 TFLOPS of processing power. As a comparison, the 800MHz AMD GPU of the original PS4 only had 1.84 TFLOPS of performance.
This signi cant increase in GPU performance – along with a slightly boosted CPU clock speed – allows the PS4 Pro to deliver 4K quality images, and support HDR technology. HDR is an acronym that stands for High Dynamic Range, which, in the context of displays, allows for a wider and more dynamic range of colors to be reproduced, resulting in visuals that appear more realistic and vivid to the human eye.
But this is where it gets tricky. Despite all the wonderful imaging technologies that the PS4 Pro brings, you won’t be able to take advantage of them unless you have a 4K TV that supports HDR10 technology, and HDR-supported content. Furthermore, not all titles will run on native 4K resolution, and will instead render at a higher base resolution (more than 1080p), then upscaled to 4K using the checkerboard rendering technique.
Don’t get us wrong, the PS4 Pro will work perfectly ne when hooked up to a Full HD TV. In fact, you should be able to experience an increase in frame rates and better visual delity from your games, provided that developers are willing to issue a downloadable update that will optimize them for the enhanced performance of the PS4 Pro.
At the time of publishing, there are already a couple of existing PS4 games that are scheduled to receive compatibility updates for the PS4 Pro, including Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
There are also quite a substantial number of upcoming games that will be receiving PS4 Pro enhancements as well, including Battle eld , Call of Duty: n nite Warfare, Final Fantasy XV, Watch Dogs 2, and Mass E ect: Andro eda.
In future, you will be able to quickly identify whether a particular game will bene t from the additional power of the PS4 Pro just by looking at its packaging, which should bear a sticker that reads ‘PS4 Pro Enhanced’.
The one thing that the PS4 Pro lacks, however, is Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray playback. Why so? Because “there is not enough consumer interest in 4K UHD discs to support the format on the new PlayStation 4 Pro,” said Andrew House, Chief Executive O cer of Sony Interactive Entertainment in an interview with The Guardian.
“Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming,” he added.
“The one thing that the PS4 Pro lacks, however, is Ultra HD 4K Bluray playback. Why so? Because “there is not enough consumer interest in 4K UHD discs to support the format on the new PlayStation 4 Pro.”