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PS4 Pro: "This could be the final nail in the coffin for Xbox One" - analyst

Analysts weigh in on Sony's newly unveiled console

Sony's two new hardware announcements didn't come as a surprise to anyone, but the launch date and price of the PS4 Pro did feel like an aggressive move by the company, if you ask analysts. "The pricing gives Sony a big advantage. PS4 Slim is competitive with Xbox One S, but PS4 Pro is a bargain [at $399]. For the same price as the 2TB Xbox One S, you get 1TB and future proof for 4K. I think this sells very well at holiday, and was surprised it was coming out this year," Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter told GamesIndustry.biz.

DFC Intelligence's David Cole agreed, commenting, "The only big issue was when Pro would launch and they have a firm date this year and a solid price. Really this could be a final nail in the coffin for Xbox One now that Microsoft has told consumers to wait until 2017 [for Scorpio]. Sony will have the powerful system with VR now and a well-executed plan that leaves consumers no reason to wait. It is just an all-around compelling proposition."

SuperData's Joost van Dreunen added, "The relatively low price point for all available devices and the publisher support promises to supercharge the holiday season."

IDC games research director Lewis Ward acknowledged that the PS4 Pro launch date and price is "a shot across the bow," but he also told us, "I don't think there's much of an impact on Scorpio at this point."

"The main course in the Pro upgrade is the roughly 2.2x boost in GPU power. That's enough to drive one hell of a sexy picture. Unfortunately, both 4K TVs and HDR TVs, let alone sets that do both, are barely off the drawing board. So while Sony has staked out new territory as far as home consoles go on the rendering front, I question whether the Pro will be a big seller this holiday season since there doesn't appear to be a large installed base of 4K/HDR TVs out there to take advantage of the sexy (AMD) silicon," Ward continued.

"This is more about getting out there early and future-proofing the PS4 as gamers and videophiles eventually shell out for high-end TVs over the next several years. Having said that, the fact that Pro has a 1TB HDD may be more of a near-term selling point for those who like to download lots of content. For an extra $100 that's a decent deal by itself when you realize that today's PS4 with 1TB can cost $400-$500 depending on what's in the bundle."

Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at IHS, agrees with Ward that PS4 Pro sales will be limited to "a minority of PS4 buyers." IHS has provided a forecast of 1.5 million PS4 Pro units sold worldwide in 2016, and the firm expects the overall PS4 installed base to reach 53.5 million by the end of the year. Interestingly, unlike the other analysts, Harding-Rolls also believes that Xbox One S could have the upper hand. "Microsoft's cheaper Xbox One S also steals some of Sony's Pro thunder, with a significant overlap in 4K features between the two consoles," he said.

Furthermore, as Mike Goodman, Strategy Analytics' director of digital media strategies, noted, Microsoft still has time to adjust its own strategy with Scorpio. "Microsoft is in an unusual position in that it can sit back and see how the market reacts to Sony and adjust plans accordingly," he said. It's also hard to know at this point whether console owners "are willing [to] buy into the cell phone model and purchase a new console every couple of years."

Ultimately, while it's exciting for the industry to see new hardware, the PS4 Pro and Scorpio are only targeting a sliver of the consumer market. According to Strategy Analytics, the global installed base of 4k UHD TV sets will be 83.8 million at the end of this year, and perhaps more importantly, the global installed base of HDR compatible televisions will be between 3 and 3.5 million.

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Latest comments (10)

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A year ago
The PS4 Pro is not a nail in anybody's coffin.

Microsoft has the same supplier Sony does, AMD. They make chips for anybody willing to pay money. Sony was slightly ahead before when it came to GPU power, now they try and make it vogue to iterate on the hardware. Which gives Microsoft the chance to do the same and catch up, even if Sony stole Christmas 2016.

The real winner is the PC, Windows to be precise and therefore Microsoft by extension. Why would you have consoles as your target platform now? Target high end PC cards instead, no PS4pro is likely to hold its ground against a 1070 or 1080. Eventually, consoles will catch up and some publishers will have higher quality content ready to go, instead of 4k patches six months later.

Scorpio seems to have forced Sony's hand, which was a win for the consumer. If now Microsoft's hand is forced, consumers will win once more.
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Jordan Lund Columnist A year ago
How on earth is the PS4 Pro competitive with the Xbox One S? It's $100 more and doesn't have a UHD BluRay drive. Also, "Unfortunately, both 4K TVs and HDR TVs, let alone sets that do both, are barely off the drawing board."

Really? Has this guy been to a "store" lately? 4K HDR televisions can be had for as little as $600. This isn't pie in the sky tech, this is "on sale at Walmart right now" tech.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/LG-50UH5500-50-4K-Ultra-HD-2160p-60Hz-LED-Smart-HDTV-with-webOS-3.0-4K-x-2K/51500783

As a PS4 and 4K TV owner here's my takeaway on the Pro:

1) It offers HDR which is good, but Sony is sending out a firmware patch to the PS4 I already own that covers this.
2) It upconverts games from 1080p to 4k. Which is nice, but my TV already does this.
3) It streams 4K content from Netflix and Youtube. Again, great, but my TV came with apps to do the same thing. Jessica Jones was great in 4K.

So for people with a PS4 and a 4K television, there's literally no reason to buy this. I would have considered it if it came with a UHD BluRay Player the way the Xbox One S does - for $100 less. But instead it's another wait until the Scorpio announcement.
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer A year ago
I am no hardware manufacturing specialist, but I'm pretty sure Sony planned the Pro before Scorpio was announced and able to force its hand in any way.

Also, from what I hear, havi g your tv upscale to 4K adds a lot of latency. Last but not least, yeah, the 4K bluray drive omission is weird and the xbox one s is cheaper, but let's not forget that on the other hand, PS4 Pro is a lot more powerful than the S. Who will get a One S now, unless they really want a 4K bluray drive?
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Show all comments (10)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A year ago
Both Sony and Microsoft are customers of AMD and built the two consoles from AMD's 28nm tech. It has never been a secret that AMD was working on getting fabrication down to 14nm, everybody knew it was coming. This shrink by AMD is what allows the slimmer models to exist. Similarly, AMD does have a roadmap for its future GPU and CPU technologies, making it easy to predict when Sony and Microsoft have the next chance to iterate in a meaningful way, i.e. when AMD can manufacture a CPU/GPU as complex as the ones found in consoles in 10nm. Which is at the very least two years out.

You could always interpret UWP as the attempt to be less dependent on AMD though. If push comes to shove, Microsoft could switch their supplier more readily.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, AzoomeeA year ago
I'm not surprised by the PS4 Pro's semi-4k abilities, or by the price seeing as 2013 was some time ago.. I am surprised about the lack of 4K Blu Ray and I wonder what the wider implications of that omission could be for both the format and the customers who have been looking for it.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
I'm extremely skeptical of the ability to offer HDR on the vanilla PS4

It does not have an HDR capable HDMI chipset

Most likely there will be some kind of kludge involving Sony TV sets where they push a patch to them to somehow bypass some of the checks upon identifying the PS4 as the connected device. They made a custom proprietary 4K video player that didn't have all the necessary stuff as well

Either way, feels more likely to be a propaganda move than something actually be available to the majority of end users.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Kleist on 10th September 2016 6:13pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! A year ago
@Jeff Kleist: It's Blast Processing, man! Haven't you been reading the game mags lately? :D
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
@Adam Campbell: Sony is no longer the unified company it was ten years ago. The virtually confirmed reason that 4K Blu is left out is because Sony Consumer Electronics doesn't want their player sales sabotaged again, and Sony knows the lack of this feature isn't a true deal breaker for the vast majority of their customers. People will do their "4K" streaming which in reality is only slightly better than a well mastered Blu-ray and they'll be happy with it.

The real question is whether the PSPro has a capable pickup to read triple layer discs. If it does I'd expect a player app down the line. If it doesn't, it's not something that will be added until the SuperPro. If they do have the ability to add it late, I'd expect at least a $5 fee to help cover licensing.
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Paul Acevedo Games Editor, Windows CentralA year ago
I'm surprised that this article makes no mention of the PS4 Pro's lack of UHD Blu-ray player. Since that issue appears in literally every comments section about the Pro, it seems like a deliberate omission on the author's part.

@Jordan Lund: I believe you misunderstand the hardware power advantage that the PS4 Pro provides. Pro-enhanced games will look significantly better than PS4 games would look when upscaled by a 4K TV.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Acevedo on 11th September 2016 5:33am

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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, AzoomeeA year ago
Sony is no longer the unified company it was ten years ago. The virtually confirmed reason that 4K Blu is left out is because Sony Consumer Electronics doesn't want their player sales sabotaged again,
If Sony is no longer a 'joined up company' then why would the electronics department care so much what SIE does? Leaving the Xbox One S as the cheapest UHD blu-ray player on the market doesn't benefit any part of Sony, they probably couldn't get it in the spec and at the right scale, but that's equally speculation.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 19th September 2016 6:48pm

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