Sony chooses not to include Ultra HD Blu-ray playback in its new "4K" PS4 upgrade
Image/Photo Credit: Sony
Sony's souped up PS4, now officially known as the PS4 Pro, will not be able to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs when it launches a year earlier than Microsoft's similar effort, Project Scorpio.
The PS4 Pro (previously known as the PS4 Neo) will feature 4K gaming, HDR support, and 4K streaming support, will not incorporate an updated disc drive to read Ultra HD Blu-ray discs - the only piece of hardware update required to enable the playback of these new 4K movie discs.
The decision to leave out the latest-gen disc playback is ironic considering Sony's enthusiastic backing of the original Blu-ray format - a decision that, in hindsight, might have cost the PS3 the success that Sony felt it should have had. The company may now feel the current decision is about learning from past mistakes, to focus more on gaming and not burden the upgraded PS4 with a higher price tag due to the inclusion of an updated disc drive.
But critics have argued that Microsoft has already found money in their hardware budget to include Ultra HD Blu-ray playback in their new, fairly reasonably priced Xbox One S, and has made it one of the cheaper Ultra HD Blu-ray players on the market.
The PS4 Pro will launch in November, well ahead of Project Scorpio's vague launch date of "Late 2017". Given the late release date, Microsoft has been able to promise that Scorpio will become the most powerful console on the market at launch, possibly 40% faster than the PS4 Pro. Both consoles will still struggle to do real 4K gaming without some trickery and graphic shortcuts, but Microsoft's effort will get closer to the goal. Both will allow 1080p gaming at 60fps without frame drops.
Sony also launched a slimmer version of the existing PS4, which hits stores this week. The PS4 Slim will launch with HDR graphics enabled out of the box, but older PS4s will have a firmware upgrade to enable HDR.
For retail pricing, the 500GB PS4 Slim will retail for $300 when it launches September 15th, with the 1TB PS4 Pro available for $399 on November 10th. The XBox One S is already available with the 500GB version (with Ultra HD Blu-ray playback) costing $300. Project Scorpio releases in "late 2017" and currently does not have an indicated pricing.