Sony's 4K PlayStation 4 upgrade has been something of an open secret since before E3, but today the company officially unveiled its high end game console. It's called PlayStation 4 Pro -- and it'll be available on November 10th for $399/£349. It boasts an upgraded, x86-64 "Jaguar" AMD CPU with 8 cores, a 4.2 teraflop AMD Radeon GPU, three USB ports, 5GHz WiFi support and a 1TB HDD. Sony say's it's twice as fast as the regular PS4, and, of course, it's designed specifically for UHD TVs and PlayStation VR.
PlayStation's Andrew House says the refresh has been a long time coming. "Display technology offers so much potential if there is content to leverage what's now possible," he said. "With PlayStation 4, we're pretty much maxing out what 1080p TVs can do with most games." Hence, the creation of the PS4 Pro. This is a console designed for the kind of 4K resolutions and HDR that so-called "conventional TVs" simply can't display. So, what does a 4K PlayStation 4 game look like? Sony brought examples.
PlayStation lead system architect Mark Cerny used footage from Rise of the Tomb Raider, Insomniac's upcoming Spider-Man game and Watch Dogs 2 to show how the upgraded console can give exiting games a huge visual shot in the arm. One demo showed mountain top view of a city blown out on a typical TV, but lush with color on an HDR display powered by the PlayStation Pro. A quick look at Day's Gone with and without HDR features revealed a scene with a much wider color range and more realistic shadows.
"But you don't need a 4K TV or HDR TV to experience the benefit of PS4 pro," Cerny explained. Even on a standard HD TV, games will look better on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Super-sampling and advanced anti-aliasing will take the jagged edge off of games that are pushing the standard hardware to its limits. Even at 1080p, games will feature better reflections and brighter colors. Older titles like Paragon, Infamous First Light and Shadow of Mordor are all scheduled to receive high-fidelity graphics patches too, in what Cerny calls "forward compatibility."
Naturally, the PlayStation Pro will be a boon for consumers who buy into PSVR this October: Sony says virtual reality games played on the new hardware could potentially look crisper, have more detailed special effects and, best of all, run at higher framerates. Specifically, Cerny said FarPoint, Sony's upcoming VR shooter, will feature about twice as much detail on the PS4 Pro vs the standard hardware.
Finally, Sony announced that 4K and HDR video content will be available on the upgraded console as well, specifically calling out a partnership with Netflix to develop a 4K streaming app for the PlayStation 4 Pro.
As the event wrapped up, House returned to reveal the new PlayStation line up: a slimmer PS4 for a cool $299, or a thicker, more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro for $399. That slimmer PS4 will hit stores next week -- but folks with 4K televisions at home will have to wait until November 10th for the Pro. Still, that's a lot sooner than Microsoft's Project Scorpio is set to debut. And no, Microsoft, the Xbox One S isn't the same thing.
Find all the news from Sony's big PlayStation event right here.