Huge news out of Sony at an event held in New York tonight: the company’s bringing out a new version of the PlayStation 4 called the PS4 Pro that’s designed to take advantage of relatively new technologies 4K and HDR – essentially sharper graphics and improved lighting – thanks to somewhat more powerful hardware and clever rendering techniques. And cost? Just $399. That’s the same price as the current PS4.

Sony’s Andrew House said that the combination of the two technologies will produce better visuals in games, and thus more immersion. By the looks of what was shown at the event, players can expect sharper textures, better hair effects and more realistic lighting in a wide range of new – and even some older – PlayStation 4 games.

Not only that, but House said Sony won’t be leaving current PS4 owners behind: a firmware update is coming later this year that will bring support for HDR to all PlayStation 4s sold thus far – all 40 million of them.

The main take-away here is that owners of 4K TVs will finally get to see real benefits to owning them, as the PS4 Pro will take full advantage of the increased sharpness and High Dynamic Range lighting they’re capable of.

Slimmer PS4

Before dropping that particular bombshell, Sony’s Andrew House also unveiled what we’ve known for a while now – that a slimmer, lighter and more power-efficient PlayStation 4 will soon be available at retail.

It was the price and timing, though, that were the surprise: House said the new slim PS4 will be available in “most territories” by September 15 – that’s next week! – and will retail for a surprisingly low $299. Of course he didn’t mention which territories are considered “most” so we have no way of knowing if SA is included there, but at the very least it’s fantastic news that we could possibly be looking at an estimated price tag of less than R6k for one of these slim PlayStations when they get here. Assuming our currency remains stable at its present R14/$ level, that is.

The PS4 Pro won’t be much more expensive – Sony announced its US dollar price of $399 – which we think could put it at a similar (if not the same) retail price here in South Africa as the current PS4. Here’s hoping!

People from EA and Activision also took to the stage to talk up their games; this year’s COD will support the PS4 Pro and its 4K and HDR capabilities out the box, BLOPS 3 will get it via an update at Infinite Warfare’s launch while EA’s big games will follow suit. Yay.

Forward Compatibility

Much more exciting was the announcement that some existing games will get patched to support the new tech at some point as well; Sony listed Shadow of Mordor, Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider specifically, but there will likely be many more.

So yes, Sony’s cats are finally out of the bag: a more powerful PS4 is coming, the existing hardware has been slimmed down, prices are impressively low and console gamers will finally be able to take advantage of newer display technologies. In all, a very good evening’s news indeed.

Your move, Microsoft.

 

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.