Yesterday’s long-awaited Sony conference in New York finally put to rest months of speculation surrounding the so-called PlayStation 4 Neo – an updated version of the base PS4 console that offers improved performance and support for 4K gaming.
Officially called PS4 Pro, the mid-generation hardware upgrade launches this November for the suggested price of $399.99 and, in addition to offering improved visuals and performance for existing PS4 games, will take full advantage of its new 4K capabilities, an example of which was shown by way of debut gameplay for BioWare’s Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Despite the obvious power advantage offered by the PS4 Pro over the base model though, the console won’t be offering improved frame rates for any multiplayer games, as Sony doesn’t want to offer owners of the former an advantage over the latter, potentially creating a schism.
Naughty Dogs’ lead programmer Christian Gyrling said as much following Sony’s main presentation last night, stating that (via VideoGamer):
If you’re playing multiplayer games, it will be the same playing field. Base PS4 users, PS4 Pro users, you’re still running the same frame rate. Yes, you’re running at a higher resolution, you might be seeing it in HDR, but overall it’s a level playing field. We’re not benefiting the PS4 Pro users and skewing the community.
We imagine the decision to restrict potential frame rate improvements for multiplayer games running on the PS4 Pro was a tough one for Sony to make. Multiplayer is a big selling point for some, and the lack of frame rate improvements for online play will surely turn some off.
With that said, maintaining consistency between the two consoles is ultimately the most important – Sony doesn’t want to risk alienating its current user base by making the standard PlayStation 4 obsolete.