Hardware is where Sony put a lot of its focus in 2016. Leading up to this year, the company made its intentions on entering the VR market quite clear. It was given all the support and marketing that the PS4 itself received just a couple of years prior, and they finally released their headset, the PSVR, back in October. It’s the most affordable device for those looking for a more high-end experience since the PC requirements for VR are still relatively costly and you have to deal with more expensive headsets. There were also some decent games released alongside the device to show that Sony meant business.
But it wasn’t only about VR this year. There had been rumors swirling around about both Sony and Microsoft developing mid-generation consoles that would be beefed up versions of what consumers already had access to. The reported “PS4 NEO” was revealed in September to be the PS4 Pro, and released shortly after in November. A console capable of 4K gaming, HDR, and with upgrades that allow developers to decrease load times, update visuals, or even adjust framerates. Not to mention, this more powerful console also complements the PSVR, putting Sony in a great position to market their newest platform.
The new hardware isn’t without its issues, though. PSVR is a solid entry point for technophiles to jump in for a relatively low cost when compared to other high-end devices. For $800, you can get a PS4 and a headset and not have to worry about any drivers or upgrading any hardware. It’s just that the library leaves a bit to be desired. The PS4 Pro faces a larger hurdle, as it’s reliant on what kind of display you have. 4K televisions are growing in popularity, but they aren’t the norm just yet even though Sony is confident that they soon will be. On top of that, there is no consistency between software offered. Developers can use the extra power as they see fit, and they aren’t all using it the same way. Hopefully, in time, we see a bit more uniformity across games optimized for Sony’s newest hardware. Solid framerates, higher resolutions, fast load times, and more that weren’t possible on the standard hardware.
Not much time has passed since the newest members of the PlayStation family released, but neither is looking like a failure thus far. Both have been well-received by critics and fans, though there are still a few kinks to iron out in each, but it has laid a nice foundation for the coming months.