Sony finally unveiled the PlayStation 4 Pro yesterday, and it has since come to light that the company has opted not to include a 4K Blu-ray player in the device. Instead, if you’re a movie buff who has to watch at the highest quality and hoping to use the device for 4K movie playback, then you will instead have to rely on the 4K streaming options it will offer (more on that later). It’s perhaps particularly disappointing when considering that Microsoft’s cheaper (and already released) Xbox One S includes the capability – which Sony would have likely been aware of when developing the specs for the Pro.
It’s also particularly perplexing when considering that Sony was one of the companies which created, and then helped that format to succeed over HD DVD in the first place, by including a Blu-ray player in every PS3 that was sold. Of course, that strategy didn’t really work out all that well for the PlayStation itself – by not only delaying its release, but by inflating the cost of the device; which was what allowed Microsoft to gain a firm foothold in the console market with the Xbox 360 in the first place. So price might well be a consideration here – the PlayStation 4 Pro retailing for a reasonable $399 in North America and £349 in the UK when it releases on November 10. Price and their continued commitment to putting the gamer first with PlayStation.
It’s true that disc-based media sales have also been diminishing in recent years. Streaming has become the more convenient and popular way for audiences to access entertainment. But that argument doesn’t quite stack up with regards to 4K – the huge file sizes make streaming this type of content near impossible for the vast majority of users, and even then, it’s debatable as to whether you will be getting the full quality – bitrates having an impact. So if anything, surely this might have been a way for Sony to sure up the future of the format further. The Pro would have certainly been an attractive option for those looking for a all-in-one 4K media solution.
There is always the possibility that the functionality could be added via a firmware update, depending on what type of optical drive is inside the console. If that isn’t possible, then there is also the chance that they will just swap out the drive for a 4K capable one in future. We just hope that Sony does see sense and adds in support for 4K playback at some point down the line.