Video game consoles, just like many other things in life, do have a life cycle. However, there are times when a mid-life update is required, not so much as to usher in a new generation console that will cause game developers to go scurrying to learn how to program for that new platform, but rather, to offer more bang for upcoming titles as well as let you play released titles in a better manner. Both Sony and Microsoft have been at it for some time now, and the first mid-life console update in the industry ever for the two would come in the form of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio. Notice that Nintendo is out of the equation and have been ever since their console offering diverged from the traditional sense.
Sony and Microsoft are going to duke it out rather differently this time around, but this does not mean that the PS4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio do not have any kind of similarities. For starters, both of them will be able to showcase not only games, but also movies at 4K resolutions. Perhaps it is time to check out the latest ad listings in the market in order to pick up a 4K TV for your living room?
Most PS4 Pro games will be rendered at less-than-4K resolutions before being upsized so that they can fit 4K TVs, and Microsoft goes one up in this department, citing that its first-party games will render at 4K natively. First blood goes to Microsoft, then. While the vanilla PS4 does support 4K output, it is only for photos and videos, and not games.
What is the difference between the two, you ask? It is somewhat akin to using a smaller image for your background and having it stretch to fit, compared to using an image that sports a similar number of pixels as with your display. Both will end up with a similarly sized picture, but native 4K rendering results in showcasing better definition and smaller details. One might wonder whether this is simply splitting hairs on paper, since existing high-end gaming PCs do have issues running high-end games at 4K resolutions, so it really boils down to Microsoft’s definition of native 4K rendering.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) support will be offered by the PS4 Pro, although Microsoft has remained mum on the situation concerning the Xbox One Scorpio. Still, the existing Xbox One S does support HDR displays, so it would not be too far off the mark to suggest that the Xbox One Scorpio will, too.
The PS4 Pro will come with a Blu-ray drive in keeping with tradition, but that might be pointless since Blu-ray drive are unable to support discs large enough to carry 4K movies on its own. All of your 4K entertainment will have to be streamed, and we believe that the Xbox One Scorpio will bring with it the UHD Blu-ray drive that is also found on the Xbox One S.
In terms of raw power, however, the Xbox One Scorpio would have the slight edge. The PS4 Pro will bring 4.2 teraflops of graphics processing power to the table, while the Xbox One Scorpio has 6 teraflops. With the Xbox One Scorpio having a targeted release date of one year after the PS4 Pro, time should see Microsoft gain leverage from cheaper and yet better components.
Backwards compatibility would be a big issue here, and thankfully both Sony and Microsoft are adamant that this is just a mid-life facelift for the consoles, as opposed to ushering gamers to a new generation. Sony even went so far as to promise that there will be no PS4 Pro exclusive titles, although Microsoft has not come up with anything that brash.
For those who have invested a respectable amount of dough in gaming accessories for their PS4, the PS4 Pro will also play nice, although it will come with a new DualShock 4 controller that has a mini-Light Bar located in front. Microsoft will also take a similar route with the Xbox One Scorpio, but so far they have remained tight lipped in most situations.
Expect the PS4 Pro to cost $399/£349, while Xbox One Scorpio might probably retail in the region of $399/£349, without closing the door on the possibility of it costing up to $499/£429 a pop.
We do hope to see Sony keep to its word of launching the PS4 Pro internationally this November 10, 2016, while Microsoft has set the 2017 holiday season as the release window for the Xbox One Scorpio.