It used to be that when console makers updated their mid-generation products, the only thing they never did was improve game performance. They would make consoles cheaper, quieter, and smaller, but they would all have the same gameplay.
However, there have been some exceptions over the years. For example, Nintendo’s “New” 3DS has more processing power than the original model. Not only do games run more smoothly, there are a handful of games that only work with the new 3DS, not the original!
Many thought this was an odd move on the part of Nintendo, but now the big console names have done the same. Not with a handheld device, but with the fully functional living room arcade machines that we all love. Call them “Pro” consoles or “Elite” anyway. They cost more and promise a long list, but are these modernized home game consoles right for you?
What is for sale?
First of all, let’s talk about the actual products on offer. At the time of writing, there are two main consoles with updated versions. The Playstation 4 and Xbox One have significantly updated versions known as the Playstation 4 Pro and Xbox One X respectively.
There are also thinner models of these consoles – PS4 Slim and Xbox One S. These thin consoles are smaller and quieter, but have exactly the same performance as the first PS4 and Xbox One to roll off the assembly line.
What defines Pro Consoles?
The first thing you’ll notice about the updated consoles is the price. They cost significantly more than standard models. So where did this money go? Mainly in the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) components. These consoles have significantly better graphics power and moderate additional overall processing power.
Why? Officially, this is due to the growing popularity of 4K TVs. That is, TVs with a resolution of 3840 Ã— 2160 pixels versus HDTVs of 1920 Ã— 1080. These high-end consoles were sold specifically as a complement to 4K TVs, claiming that they could display games at the level of detail of these new screens. intended for.
So can they?
The Truth About 4K Games
The short answer: it depends on the circumstances, but in general they just can’t. There are a small number of graphically simple games that render in native 4K resolution. For the most part, however, modern titles are rendered at a lower resolution and then “upscaled” to 4K using a high quality method.
Is the image quality better than the base console? Absolutely! Is it 4K? Never. Have you noticed an additional detail? It depends a lot on how big the TV is and how far away you sit while playing. Most people won’t notice the difference between HD and 4K while gaming, at normal TV distance.
Of course, you can just go to your local dealer and see if it matters to you personally on a demo device.
Are they worth it for Full HD games?
So what if you don’t have a 4K TV or are happy with normal HD resolution? Are there any other benefits? There are many advantages to this point of view. These consoles make pretty mediocre 4K gaming machines, but very high quality HDs. For games specifically written to take advantage of the higher specs, you often have a choice of how to use this extra power.
For example, the Nioh game for PS4 allows users to choose a higher detail mode running at 30fps, or less detailed settings running at 60fps. This gives the user a choice between pleasing to the eye and smooth.
For games that haven’t patched to use higher power, you’ll still see better performance. While most games target 30fps on basic devices, they tend to skip that mark when something starts to load. The elite console versions have enough extra effort to iron out those rough spots and improve the overall gameplay.
Consoles such as the PS4 Pro even offer the type of downsampling used across all games. This basically renders the game at a higher resolution than normal HD and then downscales it. Get a crisp image without the jagged edges that often occur in modern 3D graphics.
How much a given game outperforms at HD resolution on these consoles will differ from one game to the next. So it’s worth checking if the games you really want to play work better or not.
Final Purchase Advice
Everyone is different, which means that there can never be one-size-fits-all advice for consumers. However, there are some obvious cases where “professional” consoles don’t make sense to buy.
If for some reason you need to buy a new console and don’t need a quiet, small and energy efficient machine, then it’s better to buy consoles with higher specs. They provide an objectively better gaming experience. So for a new customer who values ??quality, the difference is definitely worth it.
If you currently have a working base model console and are looking at these devices as upgrades, then this argument is much less compelling. To be honest, modern AAA games are very well optimized for the base console hardware. Yes, the pro versions provide an objectively better experience, but that doesn’t mean the base model’s experience is bad.
You should ask yourself if you are unhappy with the way the games look and how they are played in your current setup. If the answer is yes, they may be right for you.
It’s also worth considering that both the Playstation 5 and the next Xbox are likely to be backward compatible with the current generation of games, while offering much more performance than the â€œproâ€ consoles you can buy now. For base model owners, this is an even more compelling reason to keep their existing cars.