‘I don’t think many people would have predicted that.’
Sony have traditionally pushed their consoles on the back of new multimedia formats- the original PlayStation was sold on the back of the CD, which also netted it some neat audio CD capability. The PlayStation 2’s early success was in large part due to its status as a (cheap) DVD player. And the PS3 was, in spite of its legendarily high price, the cheapest Blu Ray player on the market at the time.
So one would have assumed that Sony would continue that tradition, and include UHD Blu Ray play-back in the PS4 Pro too- after all, Microsoft certainly did that with the Xbox One S, and that inclusion seems to have gone down well for them. However, Sony did not do that, catching a lot of people by surprise, no doubt, and also leading to a swell of backlash against them.
Among the people who did not anticipate a UHD Blu Ray drive omission from the PS4 Pro were Microsoft. Speaking to The Guardian, Microsoft executive Albert Penello expressed surprise at Sony’s move. “The lack of a 4K disc player, given Sony’s media background, was a surprise. Looking at what they’ve done historically, I don’t think many people would have predicted that,” he said.
I have to say, I agree with him- I would not have expected Sony to not be pushing the new disc format, especially given their history versus Microsoft’s (Microsoft did not include out of the box DVD capability with the original Xbox, and did not jump on the Blu Ray train until the Xbox One), and given that Sony have invested significant resources into the UHD Blu Ray format. Whether or not this decision has any impact on both the consoles’ actual market performance, though, remains to be seen.