During their New York event, Sony finally gave their users a glimpse of their newly upgraded gaming console, the PlayStation 4 Pro. Unfortunately for Sony, the console seemed to be greeted with more ‘eh‘s and ‘meh‘s then ‘ooh‘s and ‘awe‘s. Reactions have shown that consumers don’t value 4k capabilities and the improved GPU at the $399 price tag like Sony does. Additionally, many console gamers feel cheated due to the fact that in order to access the 4k visuals that are native to the PlayStation 4 Pro, they will have to own a 4k television. My opinion on this topic is simple: if you can’t justify purchasing/owning a 4k TV alongside purchasing/owning a PlayStation 4 Pro, then the console simply wasn’t designed with you in mind. #SorryNotSorry
Lets first talk about the word ‘Pro’ in PlayStation 4 Pro. ‘Pro’, of course, being short for professional. The word ‘professional’ is defined as ‘a person who is an expert at his or her work’. To make this more relevant to the hardware, I will interpret the word ‘Pro’ in the console name as ‘a system designed to be as advanced as current technological standards will allow’. You can, and I encourage you to, form your own interpretation of what Sony meant by the inclusion ‘Pro’ in PlayStation 4 Pro. What should be unanimously agreed upon (and more importantly: be understood) is that the use of the word ‘Pro’ qualifies this as a console requiring higher standards of ownership. What seems to bothered most people is that these higher standards of ownership require more monetary commitment than they can find value for in the product.
To fully take advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s 4k capabilities, and other graphical improvements, you are going to have to own a 4k television. I’ve seen people throw around cost figures of between $1,000 and $2,500 for what they will need to spend on a new television to be used with a new PlayStation 4 Pro. While a lot of the big name companies have television options in the thousands of dollars, there are plenty of other companies who sell great 4k televisions for those of us on a more frugal budget. Vizio‘s D-series and M-Series 4k televisions are great entry level sets that cost less than the PlayStation 4 Pro. At the time this article is being written, Best Buy has a 40-inch 4k Vizio Smart TV for around $380. If you’re a die-hard consumer of big name manufacturers, LG sells 4k televisions for around $700 and $800. 4k televisions come in a range of prices to accommodate the budget you want to set for one. You are even able to use a non-4k television with the PlayStation 4 Pro. The Pro has no requirements to be run solely on 4k televisions. If you would like to purchase a PlayStation 4 Pro, and then save up for a 4k TV later down the road, you can do that. If you want to own the Pro without ever owning a 4k TV, you can do that as well.
I see the dynamic of needing to buy a new TV due to an upgrade in other hardware being similar to the situation of maintaining a PC gaming system. If you own a PC and upgrade your graphical hardware to 4k capabilities, then the obvious next step will be to purchase a monitor that can take advantage of the graphical upgrades (if you don’t already own one at the time). For PC owners this process is widely accepted as commonplace, and very rarely do you hear it complained about as much as is currently happening with the PlayStation 4 Pro. The price-range of buying a new entry level 4k PC monitor is in the same ballpark as 4k televisions. ASUS makes a cost-efficient monitor that’s capable of 4k for around $625. If that’s a little bit above your budget, you can grab an Acer monitor for a little shy of $450. The determining factor for how good your game looks is decided by how you appropriate your money.
If you think that you’ll never want to own a Sony console capable of 4k resolution, the new PlayStation 4 Slim would make a great substitute. Sony has given you two options for a PlayStation 4 console, and if you (as a consumer) want their best performing console, but don’t want to fork over the money for it, I don’t see Sony as the one at-fault in that situation. If you think Microsoft’s Xbox One S is the better system, or you would like to hold out until Project Scorpio surfaces, that is your right as a consumer.
My honest thoughts: The PlayStation 4 Pro looks like a great console. While I can definitely understand why gamers are distraught by having to spend extra money on a new 4k TV, there are a lot of people who already own them. It wouldn’t make sense for Sony to isolate their 4k TV owning audience because another group of gamers don’t own them, or are unwilling to buy one. For the people that are unwilling to buy a new TV, the inclusion of the PlayStation 4 Slim is a pretty fair compromise. But if you’re willing to pay top-dollar for the best visual experience, you should be able to have access to a system that’s better than what’s standard (PS Slim). The fact that there are consumers who don’t want to pay extra shouldn’t demerit Sony in any way.
What are your thoughts? Does a better GPU warrant a $400 price tag? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!