After 6 Months on the Market, Can We Call the PS4 Pro a Flop Yet?
Imagine walking into a store. You pass the computers and phones until you see the gaming section. There lies the PlayStation section. You see the PS4 Pros sitting on the shelves. Next to that shelf is a 4K TV where you see a boy playing as Ezio with eyes wide and mouth open.
Sony released the PS4 Pro on November 15, 2016, and for about six months, the console continues to be on the market. So what makes the PS4 Pro different from the PS4 and PS4 Slim (which is now the standard PS4 model)?
Sid Shuman, the Director of SIEA Social Media, wrote a FAQ post on the Sony blog, stating that the console “is an evolution of the PS4 generation platform,” which means that the Pro is compatible with the original PS4 games. The PS4 Pro features 4K graphics and video streaming, giving players the best gaming experience (HDR support is also there, but the base model PS4 has a firmware update to support it also). It is also compatible to both HDTVs and 4K TVs, but with the HDTV, the console can only display at a 1080p resolution. At the same time, the definition from the games will still have the graphics upgrades and quality even with just a HDTV.
ElAnalistaDeBits uploaded this video to show the visual differences between the Pro and PS4.
The console costs $399.99 in the US, and as for the other PS4 consoles, the PS4 costs about $349 while the PS4 Slim costs about $299.
The Pro on the Market
On December 2016, Digital Spy interviewed Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, asking about the PS4 sales. Yoshida explained,
“We need more time to analyse the situation, but it seems that more people who are buying PS4 for the first time are choosing PS4 Pro. I think that's driving a larger demand than we had anticipated. In many markets it's sold out and hard to find.”
A month later, the NPD Group shared that 238,000 PS4 Pros were sold in December, but they also shared that 1.33 million regular PS4s were sold in the same month. But that wasn’t the first time for the PS4 to have a high sales figure. Sony announced that more than 6.2 million PS4s were sold between November 20, 2016 and January 1, 2017, meaning it has sold 53.4 million units worldwide since the initial release.
Since then, Sony remains silent about the PS4 Pro, focusing on other departments, like music and film, and other products, like the PlayStation VR.
Who gets the most out of the PS4 Pro?
As a consumer, the cost differs about $100 between both the Slim and Pro, making it a good deal for an upgrade. But the console lacks some features as well as its main function without the right gear. Although HDTVs are compatible with the Pro and receive the a slightly better graphics, the console loses its potential.
The purpose of the Pro is to give out the best gaming experience at a 4K resolution, and gamers cannot experience that without the right TV, making them spend more money. When looking at Sony’s X750D / X700D 4K Ultra TV, the range goes about $700 to $1,200, depending on the size. The cost increases even further with a 4K Blu-ray player since the Pro does not support 4K Blu-Ray disks, which costs about $200 to $500 at Best Buy. These costs add more and more, leaving people not wanting to buy the PS4 Pro.
On the other hand, Sony will be earning more profit whether the PS4 Pro is successful or not. Based on the numbers from last December, the PS4 still remains popular to customers -- but it all depends on what they want and already have.
If customers own a 4K TV with HDR support, they would buy the Pro, especially since there is a $100 difference from the original. But if customers do not want an upgrade and do not own a PS4, they will would want the regular PS4, saving them money while giving Sony more profit. If customers are willing to spend their money for the best entertainment possible, they will get the PS4 Pro and, possibly, other Sony products. All in all, the PlayStation still stays successful.
So is the PS4 Pro actually worth it?
Well, it definitely is in an economical perspective. Microsoft is going to try to top Sony with their Xbox Scorpio, thus creating a heavier competition. With the heavier competition, both companies can brainstorm new products and features for us customers, so we all win in the end (hopefully).
As for the PS4 Pro, it all depends if there are people willing to spend the money for it. It could bring higher sales, like the PS4 in the holidays, or it could fade with none really caring about it -- who knows Sony might drop it soon, like they did with the Vita. We just gotta wait and see!