In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Mark Cerny, head architect of the PS4, answered some burning questions about the PS4 Pro.
Cerny was very quick to point out that the PS4 Pro does not mark the start of a new console generation, “And that is a very good thing” he said. He says that the beginning of a console generation is defined by chaos and uncertainty as developers learn to create with a new set of tools and discover the limitations of new hardware.
Instead, PS4 Pro is the same Playstation 4 architecture developers are familiar with, but with several new additions. “PS4 Pro’s targets are support of high-res displays, 4K displays, higher framerates, and 4K streaming, for those people who use PS4 for video, which is actually very big for us”, said Cerny. This will let the Playstation 4 continue to raise the bar with its graphics while not leaving behind existing users.
But the consumers aren’t the only ones being affected. The introduction of the PS4 Pro means developers need to learn their way around new tech. And Sony has thought ahead of this problem. Cerny commented on the issue saying, “As a mid-generation release, we knew that whatever we did needed to require minimal effort by the developers,” he said. “ In general, our target was to keep the work needed for PS4 Pro support to a fraction of a percent of the overall effort of creating a game. I believe we have achieved that target.”
He went on to discuss the added power that the upgrade provides. 4.2 teraflops of power make it 2.28 times more powerful than the original machine; more than capable enough to pump out beautiful 4K visuals. This additional boost in performance can also be used to achieve better rendering in PS VR, increasing the functionality of PlayStation’s brand new virtual reality machine.
The PS4 Pro also has an extra bit of memory to help things run faster and give players a bit more storage than the original 500 GB, which is not much in a world where game installs come in at 5o GB minimum sometimes. Cerny elaborated saying: “We felt games needed a little more memory, about ten percent more. So we added about a gigabyte of slow, conventional DRAM to the console.”
The last major point in the interview touched upon the emerging trend of iterations on existing consoles releasing every 2-3 years. “PS4 Pro is, in this case, is more motivated by us looking at the rapid evolution of display devices,” Cerny said. “We’re very excited by 4K and HDR. And also looking at the innovation cadence in the rest of the world, in smartphones and tablets, where fun new things come out every two or three years.”
It looks like a lot of what we have heard about the new, 4K enabled console is true. Sony is trying something new, giving players who want a bit more power out of their console something to pick-up this holiday season.
The PS4 Pro will release on November 10, 2016, for $399.