In a recent interview with The Guardian, the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Andrew House, admitted that the company didn’t even consider the Xbox as a competitor when it was developing the upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro console. Instead, the company set its sights on the PC gaming market after discovering what happens midway through a console’s lifecycle.
“It suggested that there’s a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that’s obviously where it’s to be had,” House admitted. “We wanted to keep those people within our eco-system by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality]. So the net result of those thoughts was PlayStation 4 Pro — and, by and large, a graphical approach to game improvement.”
The PlayStation 4 Pro console was revealed last week, the next step in the PlayStation console evolution despite retaining a “4” in the title. Although the device won’t pack a 4K UHD Blu-ray player, the console will be capable of supporting 4K resolutions in games as well as HDR-capable displays. However, given that the console supports 4K resolutions, one would assume it would support 4K discs as well, but House indicated that there just wasn’t enough interest on the consumer front to implement that kind of feature.
“Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming,” he said. “Certainly with our user base, it’s the second-biggest use case for people’s time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area.”
During last week’s press conference, Sony revealed that it worked with Netflix and YouTube to bring streaming 4K content to the new PlayStation 4 Pro. Sony also just launched its streaming 4K movie service called Ultra five months ago, enabling customers to purchase and stream their favorite movies across the Internet. So far there’s no indication that the PlayStation 4 Pro will support this service, but if Sony is making video streaming a top priority on the new console, Ultra support will likely arrive in the near future.
The arrival of the PlayStation 4 Pro seems to mark a new era for consoles. The original PlayStation 4 launched in 2013, and is followed by the PlayStation 4 Slim (September 2016) and the PlayStation 4 Pro (November 2016), seemingly ending the five- to seven-year generational gap. On that same note, the Xbox One launched in 2013 as well, and is followed by the Xbox One S in 2016 and Project Scorpio in 2017. That all said, should we expect the PlayStation 5 in the next few years?
“I think that since this is our first foray into this kind of mid-cycle innovation, it’s far too early to call that,” he said. “We think that for a really substantial period of time this is the PlayStation 4 lineup. We’re very comfortable with that.”
The PlayStation 4 Pro arrives on November 10, 2016, for $400. Microsoft’s next Xbox console, dubbed Project Scorpio for now, won’t be available until the 2017 holiday season.