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PS4: The Pro dream and how “Boost Mode” will get us there

Going Pro.

I’ve always been careful about jumping into new console generations. I was still playing my trusty old PS2 with a carefully maintained GTA: San Andreas CD inside years after everyone had moved on to the PS3 and was enjoying shiny HD gaming.

As is the case with most progressive products, early iterations can be flawed, perfected and enhanced. The PS4 is no different and when it launched I knew that console would potentially come to be something entirely different than what hit stores at the time. So I waited, kept my [by then, second] PS3 nice and tidy and watched from the side-lines as the PS4’s frankly shamefully diminutive library slowly but steadily grew much more interesting.

Care to consider an upgrade?

Now, a few years later, I’ve got a nice custom PS4 sitting in my bedroom gazing at me with an ever-so-slightly sensual look. But not a regular PS4, mind – it’s a Pro.

The whole Pro vs base PS4 debate would inevitably spark tension amongst Playstation’s fan base in a completely understandable fashion, which is mostly up to Sony’s questionable marketing surrounding the new console. After all, who in the world was ready for a mid-generation upgrade in the console ecosystem? This sudden (and probably mostly unnecessary) strategy shook console gamers’ worlds in the middle of the night and had them searching for their specs in the morning – and a great deal of them didn’t like the feeling.

(…) who in the world was ready for a mid-generation upgrade (…) ?

The Pro just got Pro…er?

Sony’s marketing direction surrounding the Pro may have left PS4 early adopters feeling left out. Launching a new, flashier iteration of a product with more bells and whistles than the last is all well and good in the smartphone and even PC context, where people are actually used to it and expect that cycle to go on indefinitely. However, the console space has always been defined by longevity, security and stability, at the cost of adaptability.

Having said that, Sony still managed to make good on the promise of not letting go of neither early adopters nor the base console itself. If anything, the revised Slim PS4’s been getting a lot more bundles and good deals than the Pro console has, meaning it is still the people’s console – at least for now. So what’s the deal then, Sony? Where does our money go?

How does a locked 30 sound here?

Well, smart as they (mostly) are – with the gigantic idiotic exception of the Vita’s support – Sony seems to be starting to make sense with the Pro, as Update 4.50 was announced and is now in beta for certain lucky users, introducing a number of game-changing (literally) features.

Sony seems to be starting to make sense with the Pro

The soon-to-be-released update will be bringing a whole new way to play games on the Pro console, allowing the machine to make use of its extra brawn and push unpatched games a lot further – mostly in terms of FPS performance. As a late-comer to the PS4 but an early Pro adopter, this has me jumping with joy due to the simple fact that this was my ideal for the console, even if it was a long shot. Patched improvements are one thing but indiscriminate upgrades that quite simply open up the Pro’s power and let games run better? Now that sounds a whole lot sweeter.

As a late-comer to the PS4 but an early Pro adopter, this has me jumping with joy (…)

The Witcher 3 has already been shown running at a steady 30fps

What’s more, this may have been one of the first key steps for the Pro’s more general acceptance. After all, 4.50 makes it harder to not see an upside in the mid-gen console. There is starting to be a considerable enough capability gap for base PS4 owners to consider upgrading, whilst Pro owners like myself can already rejoice with the idea of essentially playing our whole libraries in a smoother fashion.

4.50 makes it harder to not see an upside in the mid-gen console

Yes, this will also inevitably bring about new issues, as we’re already hearing reports of with the likes of SOMA – apparently the game runs worse in Boost Mode . But it is all pointing towards the probability of there being one botched case for every multiple success stories. And hey, who knows if unpatched issues won’t push developers to actually patch their titles? I know I’d like to play SOMA at a locked 30fps.

Sadly, there will always be negatives

Any way you slice it, Playstation does seem to be evolving. Even with Nintendo’s Switch shuffling things up again right around the corner, I can’t help but feel consumers everywhere are being allowed to identify more and more with their preferred platforms. I’ve been more than happy with my Pro and update 4.50 will only strengthen our bond. The future is looking exciting for gamers all around the world – let’s hope the wait is worth it.

What about you? Will you be picking up a Pro after 4.50 launches? If you have one already, does Boost Mode make you excited? Share your thoughts down below.

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