There is a difference between native 4K, and upscaled 4K…
The PS4 Pro is currently the world’s most powerful console. But in spite of Sony marketing it as a 4K machine, it really is not one- for most games, it is incapable of rendering the image in 4K natively, and instead resorts to a technique known as checkerboard rendering, which is a pretty clever upscaling technique.
However, that lack of native 4K rendering is going to be the biggest ‘bottleneck’ on the PS4 Pro, according to Reinhard Pollice, Product Development Director at THQ Nordic, who is currently working on Battle Chasers: Nightwar. In an exclusive interview with GamingBolt, Reinhard was asked what the biggest bottleneck on the PS4 Pro might be. He said, “It’s still both, the CPU and the GPU. With the PS4 Pro’s GPU, we can’t offer native 4K rendering, which is easy to achieve on good desktop GPUs nowadays.”
This lack of native 4K rendering is something that, according to Pollice, will be noticeable even to the casual observer. “The difference is that the 4K rendered output will look very crisp and smooth while the checkerboard technique will not look as sharp when directly compared. This depends also on the quality and size of the screen/TV, however. From a development perspective the checkerboard technique is a bit harder to implement as it is a custom implementation, while a native 4k resolution is just a higher frame output resolution. In our situation Unity takes care about it anyways.”
I can imagine not being able to hit true, native 4K is a problem for a lot of developers who may want to do just that- however, on the other hand, from Sony’s perspective, it would also have been unfeasible and cost prohibitive to bring a true 4K machine to the market at a consumer friendly price, I imagine. The PS4 Pro was presumably the best compromise between these two contradicting necessities, and here we are.