The era of 4K gam­ing

GAX (Malaysia) - - GAX - by Peter Chu

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.”

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