I’ll shortly be heading to New York, New York (start spreading the news, etc, etc) – and in one of those (if my girlfriend should ask) *totes* accidental twists of fate, my time there will coincide exactly with the release of Sony’s PS4 Pro. Honestly, the timing couldn’t be better (almost like I’d planned it, making up some bullshit reason like ‘I’ve heard Central Park looks spectacular in the Fall….but only if you’re there in whatever week includes the 10th of November!’) and – availability permitting – I’d be overjoyed to get my stubby mits on Sony’s upgraded PlayStation. That said however, I’m currently wrestling with one of them internal dilemma whatsits that people (with generally more self-control than I) have when they’re deciding whether they really need to spend a chunk of cash on something-or-other.
Obviously, the genuine answer to that is a big fat “NO”; I don’t need a PS4 Pro, just as I don’t actually need a PS4, but, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate Dear Reader, whilst Gaming’s a luxury, it’s a luxury that makes life a shit-ton better, all other things being equal – so let’s stick with ‘need’, but in a strictly ‘is it worth it?’ kind of way. Essentially, will upgrading my PS4 provide enough of an improvement to my Gaming life as to justify the (not insignificant) outlay, and will it be worth the week-or-so I’ll inevitably spend sleeping on the sofa if and when my whole scheme gets rumbled??
See, my heart is definitely on the #shutupandtakemymoney side of the fence, but my head is….well, it’s on that side of the fence too, but there’s a tiny fraction of it that’s making a token effort to be all like ‘Now, hang on a minute……are you sure about this!?’. I’m rarely an early-adopter, but on the few occasions I have been, it hasn’t worked out spectacularly. Indeed, one of those few occasions was my 4K TV, which has pretty much spent the last couple of years failing to live up to its potential, looking at me funny like I’m deliberately holding it back or some shit. Even worse, now that the PS4 Pro might offer it a chance to spread its wings, precisely because I was an early adopter, my fucking TV doesn’t have High Dynamic Range, which is one of the improved features of the Pro. In other words, things are already complicated, and my 4K TV is both an incentive, and a cautionary tale – and that’s just the beginning of my dilemma.
I’m simultaneously being pulled in two different directions with regards to the principle of the Pro too, with half of me thinking it’s pretty cool that I’ve got the option to improve my Gaming Experience Mid-Generation, but the other half screaming ‘Fuck you Sony, I only just paid out for the PS4 (and twice, ’cause the first one got nicked) so you’re taking the piss with this shit, innit!?‘. In their defence, they have made efforts to keep the Pro on the “Optional, but with benefits” side of the equation (rather than, say, “forced, because we’re moving on whether you’re with us or not” one) but still, it is a bit cheeky, right!? On one (admittedly irrational) level, I kind of feel that if I don’t get the Pro it’ll just be like Primary school all over again, with the kids sporting proper Nike Air Maxes on one half of the playground, pointing and laughing at those of us trying to rock our Mike Pair Axes on the other! Honestly, that’s some shit I thought I’d gotten away from, and on some level, I feel like I’d rather be on the Pair Axes side – to, like, make a point and whatnot. But then….Solidarity’s great in principle, obviously, but it doesn’t have High End Graphics and increased frame-rates either, so, like….bollocks to that, right!?
Which brings me to the numbers! Numbers aren’t exactly my strong suit, but even my limited processing power allows me to see that the PS4 Pro’s processing power (see what I did there?) is a significant improvement over the PS4’s. Sure, whether that’s always going to translate into noticeable improvements is a different question, but numbers is numbers. Even without HDR, and even if Developers don’t necessarily utilise everything the Pro is capable of (at least consistently), there’s enough reason to think that powering up Uncharted 4, or CoD on it will offer a better experience in any number of ways. And that, right there, is a pretty big incentive on its own, but it’s even more of an incentive because I’d also like to get PlayStation VR at some point too, and if improved horsepower reduces the chances of me vomming everywhere because of stuttering frame-rates, I’d consider that something of a bonus, to be honest. Of course, quite how Developers deal with the new “dual architecture” thing is mostly unknown at this point, and one can only hope that Pro “extras” don’t end up in Dancemat territory, with a few token bits and bobs thrown in for the sake of ticking a few boxes and shit.
Early indications are good that at least some of them are embracing it – and quite impressively – but then, at one point, the PS Vita looked like it had a bright future, and we all know how that turned out. This isn’t quite the same, admittedly, and as we move forward, improved power, graphics and the size and scope of games will all follow an upward trend, but there’s still the chance that the Pro might end up being an isolated island in that evolution – a laserdisc on the road to Blu-ray, if you will. We’ve all been there! For me it was the minidisc, which I was convinced represented the absolute pinnacle of portable music (quote: you can get four whole albums on one disc, and look how small it is!), and no amount of me still using it to make a point changes the fact that I backed the wrong fucking horse – a horse that fell at the first hurdle, got unceremoniously shot behind the stables, and all whilst the iPod was busy strutting around the winner’s enclosure like a dick. Not that I’m bitter or anything….
Anyways, on paper at least, the PS4 Pro is a better machine, and it will offer some improvements both initially, and as we march ever onwards into Gaming’s future – in other words, a degree of future proofing, and that’s something at least. But, again, how long is that future going to be? How long before the PS5 hits the shelves? And if it’s sooner rather than later (let’s say another 2 ish years), am I going to feel like a chump again? Hell, if it’s less than two years, am I going to be able to resist the urge to grab a torch and pitchfork and storm Sony HQ?? If it’s longer than two years, am I going to regret not getting the Pro, and risk getting into a weird ‘well, there’s no point getting it now, the PS5 must be coming out soon…’ state of paralysis!?
Finally on that note, I’m sure many people would – really rather sensibly – adopt a wait and see attitude, and they certainly wouldn’t rush out and buy the damn thing in the first week. Ordinarily, even I’d have the self-control to wait a bit, but given I’m in New York, New York (I’m leaving
today on Wednesday) for just one week, that kind of puts the kibosh on the whole sensible, give it a bit of time approach. See, here in Brazil, there’s every chance the PS4 Pro will be released at around the same time as the PS 7 hits shelves elsewhere, and there’s a fairly big chance it’ll be ‘sell a kidney to buy it’ levels of expensive when it finally does finish its glacial journey across the equator. Early speculation is that it’ll be in the ballpark of around two and a half thousand fucking bastard dollars, so, obviously, that pretty much rules that right the fuck out – hence me having to somewhat abandon the cautious approach if I want it anytime soon.
On the flip side, it’ll also make my decision for me if I can’t find one in old New York……Neeeeeeew York (ok, I’m done with the Sinatra stuff now, promise!), so, like, there’s that too. Although, human nature being what it is, if I can’t get it, there’s every chance that’ll make me want it even more – with whatever rational decision making I’d done taking a Swandive from the top of the Empire State Building. I’ve got form here – my original PS4 was bought once they’d already become rarer than rocking horse shit – and I paid accordingly (And yes, also a week on the sofa). I’m not proud of that, but it is kind of who I am as a person though.
So yeah, as I suggested, that was me Thinking Aloud – and as you can probably tell, I’m all over the place (God Damn you, Sony. God damn you all to Hell!). Even worse, I’ma likely flip-flop on this for some time yet, right up to the point that the panic takes over, and I kind of lose my shit and spend my week in the Big Apple rocking backwards and forwards in the corner of my room. Which isn’t the best way to spend a vacation, all things considered!?
Anyways, if you’ve read this far, a) thank you, and b) apologies for wasting your time. If you are still here, though, what are your thoughts on the PS Pro? Am I am idiot to get it? Am I am idiot not to get it… You know, given the whole two and a half thousand fucking bastard dollars thing!? As you may’ve guessed, any advice, information, opinions you might have to offer, would – at this point – be gratefully, hungrily received.