Last week saw the announcement of the PS4 Pro. After months of speculation of a powerful console releasing later this year going by the codename Neo, Andrew House and Mark Cerny spearheaded Sony’s unveiling of the new tech.
Capable of outputting an upscaled 4K image and using HDR technology, the PS4 Pro footage looks great when watching on a 4K display. However, comparisons were quickly drawn between the Pro and Microsoft’s upcoming Project Scoprio – a powerhouse console capable of true 4K gaming and VR. It was soon revealed that the Scorpio already has the edge on the Pro in terms of sheer power, leading many to question how Sony intends to compete with a more powerful competitor.
Toward the tail-end of last week, President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Andrew House, stated that the PS4 Pro isn’t competing with the Xbox Scorpio, but with the PC market instead. “I saw some data that really influenced me. It suggested that there’s a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that’s obviously where it’s to be had. We wanted to keep those people within our eco-system by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality],” House told The Guardian. While this certainly makes sense as the reasoning behind the mid-generation iteration, it also seems a little confusing. If Sony is, in fact, trying to keep players who are looking for the very best and very highest, why did it let its main competitor in the console market outdo them with a very similar product?
Following the Xbox Scorpio reveal on the Monday of E3 week, Sony followed up with its own conference. While it showcased some truly excellent games coming to the PS4 in the next couple of years, one seemingly innocuous title made multiple appearances. Days Gone was officially unveiled during the show with a trailer, and at the very same conference crescendo moment that led to Microsoft’s Scorpio announcement, Sony anticlimactically brought Days Gone on stage again for a gameplay demo. Despite Sony claiming prior to E3 that the Neo would not be shown, its absence was palpable.
Fast forward a couple of months and we instead see an individual PS4 Pro reveal event strategically placed away from the buzz of the Scorpio, where Sony communicated their focus on extending the life of the PS4, rather than competing externally. The Pro was not meant to provide the quantum leap in performance and become “the most powerful console ever,” a feat the Xbox’s Scorpio boasted at E3.
Despite this deja-vu-like moment at E3, Sony may have been granted a bit of a mulligan. Rather than having to compete directly with the Scorpio during 2017’s holiday season, the Pro could get a head start on sales releasing this year. Getting to the market this year not only gives the Pro this head start in terms of sales, but also offers developers some time to get their games out to players and getting a feel for the tech. Not to mention, getting as much support from developers for the Pro as possible.