Sony had a ‘public meeting’ this week and invited everyone to join in to watch them talk about news surrounding the PlayStation 4 and beyond. Andrew House and Mark Cerney from Sony did most of the talking during the PlayStation Press Conference which mostly confirmed things we already knew about the PlayStation 4 Slim and revealed some things but not all about the upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro (formally the PS4 NEO).
First up – the PlayStation 4 Slim will release September 15, 2016 for $299 and includes the majority of bells and whistles from the previously released PS4. We’ve already seen the unit unboxed from leaked images and even someone getting their hands on one early – so no surprises here outside of the release date and price.
Second – the PlayStation 4 NEO is now called the PlayStation 4 Pro which is a difficult thing to roll off the tongue – something even internal Sony developers had trouble saying during post conference interviews. The PlayStation 4 Pro will arrive in stores on November 10, 2016 retailing for $399. No mention of a VR bundle or game bundle but that seems like a thing Sony representatives are currently trying to figure out.
Most of the discussion on stage was about 4K gaming and HDR – something most people won’t be able to take advantage of right away on their current TV sets. Sony showed off fancy 4K gameplay for upcoming games like Spider-Man, For Honor, Watch Dogs 2, Days Gone, Horizon Zero Dawn, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and previously released games that will feature 4K resolution like Deus Ex Mankind Divided and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
It was difficult to see during the livestream how the 4K gaming experience will enhance gamers so for now we’ll have to accept Sony’s promises at face value. Not shown was the actual PlayStation 4 Pro system in a clear and 360 degree perspective, not shown was the new PS4 controller which apparently will have a thin light bar on the top and no discussion of the size of the PlayStation 4 Pro hard-drive. According to reports on GameSpot and other gaming websites the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro won’t include a 4K Blu-ray player which has given Xbox One S supporters a chance to cheer on social media and others a reason to face-palm.
Probably the biggest shock of the Sony Press Conference was the extensive gameplay demo for EA’s upcoming video game Mass Effect Andromeda. Thus far we’ve seen so little of Mass Effect Andromeda that to have it dropped in the middle of this Press Conference seemed very out of place and what they showed was mostly dark on an alien planet – not quite a showcase for visual fidelity 4K images. We’re hoping things are coming along smoothly for the highly anticipated next game in the Mass Effect franchise even if this demonstration didn’t ‘wow’ us.
Finally in other news – Netflix will be supporting 4K and HDR viewing with an update to their App coming to PlayStation 4 Pro and also YouTube‘s App will soon support 4K viewing. All PlayStation 4 units will be getting a firmware update soon to support HDR playback. Strangely absent from this week’s Sony Press Conference was any discussion on PlayStation VR and the PS4 Pro’s integration into that system – in fact the entire Press Conference was rather dull all around leaving us with more questions than answers.