PS4 Pro Is Getting A ‘Boost Mode’ But Don’t Expect Frame Rates To Double Magically

It’s not what it sounds like.

Posted By | On 03rd, Feb. 2017 Under Article, Graphics Analysis | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


Update: A Youtube user has uploaded a video showcasing the differences between The Evil Within running with boost mode on PS4 Pro and the base PS4. The opening scene clearly shows improvements in performance. You can check out this video here.

Original Story:

As of right now, the PS4 Pro’s extra power is reserved for those games that specifically have PS4 Pro enhancements built right into them. Of course, a lot of developers of existing games have gone back and patched some PS4 Pro compatibility into their older titles, but some of the best, most popular PS4 games, including From Software’s Bloodborne, do not get any enhancements from running on a PS4 Pro system.

This is because, unless a game has specifically received PS4 Pro specific compatibility, PS4 Pro systems just run them like the usual PS4. For many, who have, say, wanted to play Bloodborne at 60fps, this rankles, especially since From Software won’t go back to patch in a 60fps mode into the game for Pro.

According to a post made on NeoGAF, it appears as though the PS4 Pro will be getting a Boost Mode soon. The translation provided by a Twitter user  states that some games may benefit from higher frame rates while playing un-patched PS4 games on the PS4 Pro.

"We can assume that games like Hitman which allow for higher and variable frame rates (greater than 30) can take advantage of this mode. Games like Nioh too can possibly take advantage of this since it has a variable fps mode. But the results, as Sony warns in the notes, could vary."

However there is more to this than meets the eye. Console games are usually developed within the boundaries of console limitations. Let us consider the case of Bloodborne a game that has a frame rate cap of 30 fps on the base PlayStation 4. Due to the way the game was programmed to target 30 fps on the base PS4, it won’t magically run at higher frame rates on the PS4 Pro in boost mode. 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, yet another title that ran at 30 fps cap on the PS4 won’t be able to reach higher than 30 frame rates in this mode.

So what is this mode all about? Well, it seems that playing games in this mode will help them to reach their target frame rate in a consistent manner. So a game like Assassin’s Creed Unity which had several frame rate issues on the PS4 may be able to run at a more consistent frame rate in boost mode. But it won’t exceed the frame rate cap unless and until the engine is designed for variable frame rate support.

We can assume that games like Hitman which allow for higher and variable frame rates (greater than 30) can take advantage of this mode. Games like Nioh too can possibly take advantage of this since it has a variable fps mode. But the results, as Sony warns in the notes, could vary. So, yes, don’t expect all your games which have 30 fps cap to magically run at 60fps when boost mode is activated.

"Another area, where we think the boost mode could possibly help games is dynamic resolution. A lot of games including Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, DOOM, Titanfall 2 and others employ a dynamic buffer for resolution."

Another area, where we think the boost mode could possibly help games is dynamic resolution. A lot of games including Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, DOOM, Titanfall 2 and others employ a dynamic buffer for resolution. This helps games to focus on frame rate so the engine can hit the frame rate cap more frequently, but in this case image quality is compromised. The boost mode can help these PS4 games to achieve a more consistent resolution. But again, this will depend from game to game as there are lot of variables and differentiators in the way various game engines are coded.

Furthermore, the solution is a software based workaround, which may lead to unintended consequences in a lot of games- which is why there is that warning there. Plus, there are also multiplayer modes where developers can’t give advantages to PS4 Pro owners via higher frame rates. If PS4 Pro’s boost mode were to magically double the frame rate cap, it will be against the standards set by Sony for game developers developing on the Pro.

"Furthermore, the solution is a software based workaround, which may lead to unintended consequences in a lot of games- which is why there is that warning there."

All in all, this options sounds like it will benefit games that have had a hard time reaching 30 fps or 60 fps or a consistent resolution. Unfortunately, the dream of a 60 fps version of Bloodborne will still be a dream unless Sony and From Software release a patch that will make the engine scale accordingly on the PS4 Pro.

GamingBolt’s Bill Smith also contributed to this article.

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