Reveals, demos and lingering concerns dot an otherwise solid event.
Sony’s PlayStation Meeting is in the books and for a company known for its bloated media conferences in the past, this year has been fairly sleek. E3 2016 cut down on the flab and with the PlayStation Meeting, Sony kept it simple with reveals for PlayStation 4 Pro (formerly rumoured as PS4 Neo), the PS4 Slim and some short demos showcasing the difference in visuals. Of course, there was a lot more that stood out during the event. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and ponder some of the concerns from Sony’s reveals.
Highlight: PS4 Slim Priced at $299
Sony could have kept the PlayStation 4 Slim at roughly the same price as the default PS4, maybe even sold it for $50 less. The console, out on September 15th, will retail for $299 instead. That’s a hugely motivating price for new users who don’t care all that much for 4K gaming and despite its looks – which are kind of “eh” at this point – the PS4 Slim is more compact and energy efficient.
Highlight: PS4 Pro Pricing
The real coup de grace for Sony is with the pricing for PS4 Pro. Again, $449 would have been generous while $499 is more realistic. But it will instead retail in November for $399. New players who want to future-proof themselves or get the best visual experience with 4K and HDR can easily pick it up. Meanwhile, current PS4 owners won’t have as high of an entry point for upgrading. It’s a great compromise overall…
Concern: PS4 Pro Appearance
…So it’s weird that Sony went for the appearance that it did for the PS4 Pro. Look at the PS4 Slim and stick another plastic-looking layer on top. Boom, there’s your PS4 Pro. This design may have kept costs down and the telltale blue streak can be seen in one of the edges. However, when we think “premium” and “pro”, this isn’t the design that immediately comes to mind. Looks are subjective though and it’s highly unlikely that potential consumers skip the PS4 Pro because it’s not pretty.
Highlight: PS4 Pro Benefits Outside of 4K Resolution
While many may ask, “Why opt for a PS4 Pro if I don’t game on a 4K TV?” And that’s a pretty good reason to skip the console even with its attractive price. The more powerful hardware is nice and all but what immediate benefits will PS4 titles receive? The answer is HDR which provides dynamic luminescence and caters to a broader spectrum for human eyes to perceive, thus providing for more realistic visuals. It should be noted that HDR will also be coming to PS4 and PS4 Slim in an update next week. However, if a 4K TV isn’t immediately in your budget, the PS4 Pro still presents a nice means of future proofing while still offering better hardware and HDR support.
Concern: Frame rate differences not showcased
Though Sony did show the differences in resolution and HDR for upcoming games like For Honor and Paragon – not to mention 4K footage of Mass Effect Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn – it didn’t really capitalize on one key point: Frame rate differences. Obviously a CPU and GPU with double the power of a base PS4 would help in that department right? Maybe Sony didn’t want to point how obviously better the PS4 Pro is with frame rates. Maybe the difference is so negligible that it didn’t warrant focus. Regardless, the key selling points are 4K and HDR above all else.
Concern: PS4 Pro VR Demos and Gameplay Benefits
Those frame rate differences would have especially come in handy for PlayStation VR demos. Farpoint looked good and all but we would have liked to have learned a lot more about the gameplay benefits that the PS4 Pro offers PlayStation VR. Also, Sony announces a powerful new console for November but doesn’t so much as hint at a bundle for PS4 Pro and PS VR? Granted, the news will come in its own time but it would have been great to hear it now, especially with PS VR releasing in a month.
Highlight: Mass Effect Andromeda Gameplay Debut
Bioware finally, finally, finally showcased gameplay footage for Mass Effect Andromeda, its eagerly anticipated action RPG in the vaunted franchise. Yes, it wasn’t all that long and yes, we didn’t get to see how the shooting worked. However, this came across as a demo for the overall in-game visuals and how they look on PS4 Pro. The in-game lighting and benefits of HDR support were readily apparent and serious kudos are to be afforded to Bioware for their environmental design.
Highlight: Updates to allow older PS4 game support on PS4 Pro
As rumoured, Sony mandated all PS4 titles to work on PS4 Pro. We already know of several games that will be receiving updates including Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Modern Warfare Remastered and Black Ops 3. What’s more, it doesn’t seem like developers will have to put in too much effort for these updates. The ability to access your PS4 downloads and features on the PS4 Pro is a reassurance that the latter is meant to complement the former.
Concern: The Last Guardian Absent
Sony did mention The Last Guardian but that’s it. The game wasn’t showcased, either on PS4 Pro or in visual comparison demos. Why is this concerning? Because the game hasn’t been scheduled for Tokyo Game Show 2016 either. In fact, with its release on October 25th, we’re yet to hear much of any information on the oft-delayed adventure title. What’s going on? Sony knows the answer but didn’t choose to reveal it at the PlayStation Meeting.
What was your highlight and key concern from the PlayStation Meeting? Let us know in the comments.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.