When Sony launched the new PlayStation 4 Pro last year for $400, it came with the promise of better-looking games.
You spend $400 — a $100 jump over the standard $300 price tag of the PS4 — and you get games that run faster, smoother, and better than ever before. That was the promise of the PS4 Pro.
Some PS4 Pro games are even playable in 4K — the next graphical step-up after HD!
And that’s sort of been the case. On a game-by-game basis, there are better-looking games.
More specifically, games only look better if the game’s developer makes a point of updating the game so that it takes advantage of the PS4 Pro’s increased power. Even more specifically, unless a game company spends the time and money to update an older game for the PS4 Pro, it looks/runs the same as it does on the standard PS4.
Worst of all: It’s not clear which older PS4 games have been updated and which haven’t. There’s no easy list, no easy way of quickly knowing whether or not a game has been updated (other than to Google around in the hopes that someone’s written about it).
Any game that launched after the PS4 Pro is all set (like “Uncharted 4” here). But there are dozens of great games that launched before September 7, 2016. And if you’re shelling out $400 for a console that you could just as easily spend $300 on, don’t you want all the games to look better?
The answer is “Yes, of course yes.” And Sony’s finally making that happen, almost six months after the PS4 Pro launched.
In an upcoming system update for all PlayStation 4 consoles, update 4.50, Sony’s adding a “Boost Mode” to the PS4 Pro. And the new mode does something really basic that the PS4 Pro should have done since launch: It “lets PS4 Pro run at a higher GPU and CPU clock speed in order to improve gameplay on some PS4 games that were released before the launch of PS4 Pro.”
In English, that means that boost mode makes games look prettier, run smoother, and launch faster. “Games that have a variable frame rate may benefit from a higher frame rate, and load times may be shorter in some games too,” a Sony rep told The Verge.
Of course, the problem remains that not all older games will run better with this feature turned on. Sony ambiguously says that “some” games released before the Pro launched will be improved by boost mode — we’ve asked what’s excluded and have yet to hear back.
All that said, it’s nice that Sony’s fulfilling the promise of the Pro — to make all PS4 games look and run better — even though it’s what the console should have done out of the box.