Oh, how we hardly knew you...

The following rant contains incessant rambling and vulgarity, you have been warned!

July, 2016 - As the smartly attired Sony executives sit around the table all captivated by the large screen before them, aghast at the scenario unfurling, as Microsoft throw in the towel on this generation, declaring a successor console to their Xbox One failure. Many mutter and shake their head in disbelief, one though speaks above the rest ďwe can go even dumberÖĒ he exclaims - the rest of the group nod their head in approval.

Andrew House at PlayStation Meeting 2016

Itís hard to imagine as I was watching this latest conference - if you could call it that - the so-called PlayStation Meeting. Was this really the same team who launched the PlayStation 4? The same minds who observed the gaming environment so perfectly - and delivered upon it - bringing Sony out of a year after year slump, and turning the company around into a profitable business. Maybe it really was all luck.

For well over a decade now, the fundamental gaming experience has seen little to no change, with increases of power merely expanding upon - making prettier and faster - what is already established within our hands. With manufacturers, developers and publishers alike consistently advocating to gamers the necessity of even greater power, as they produce games that - with lessened visual fidelity and performance - could all still work on 10 year old hardware. The zeniths of black and white to colour, of arcade machines to home consoles, of sprites to polygons, of 2D platformers into rich 3D open-worlds, each of them expanding the medium, pushing the envelope of what is possible within this interactive medium, and now sorely forgotten.

PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 4 Pro visual difference

Today, looking at the gaming landscape they seem like a mere fairy tale, where is our next zenith I ask? 4K resolution? Higher frames per second? All merely touting what has come before, not pushing the envelope, not truly expanding the gaming medium. Modern gaming is seemingly chasing the ethereal dragon into a void, like a carrot on a stick with money at the wheel, as it barrels towards a cliff edge. What is the end goal of a never ending power race if it doesnít improve the gaming experience in any meaningful way? This isnít drag-racing, where the more powerful vehicle is the measurably better vehicle. Visuals are merely the vessel in which a game encapsulates its interactivity onto the player, like the sign above a shop, they arenít the point of the shop, we shouldnít be in a quest to keep improving and making ever increasingly elaborate shop signs, we should be delving and improving upon what the shop is actually doing.

So here we sit, as disinterested Sony execs looking they are one step away from the noose, mutter their way through a presentation on stage about a product - the PlayStation 4 Pro - that even they are clearly are not sold on, but they know you should buy it. What does it do? Pretty much exactly the same thing as the one you already own. Why are they bringing this thing out? Well I could say a niche consumer base consisting of 4K TV owners has demonstrated an eagerness for a games console to compliment their purchases, but we all know that's a load of bollocks, the real reason is money. Itís always money.

The PlayStation 4 Pro

The sad part and loser in all of this is the upcoming PlayStation VR, whilst unlikely, it's the one thing on the horizon with the potential to actually add to the medium, a reason to invest in so-called Ďnext-gení, with the potential to become one of those aforementioned zeniths, it is now assumedly dead on arrival - we hardly knew you buddy.

All releasing within roughly a month of one another, the PlayStation VR is sandwiched between the release of the PlayStation 4 Slim - a smaller version of the thing you already own - and the PlayStation 4 Pro - a bigger version of the thing you own, that also warrants a 4K (HDR enabled) television purchase - each of them costing upwards of £300.

Itís readily apparent that Sony skipped out on marketing class, cannibalising themselves and giving people multiple reasons not to buy their untested, unproven, experimental productís in favour of the stalwart, the thing they are known for, a console that the consumer base surely know what they are getting into - and itís clear which consumers are going to use their money on.

But honestly am I surprised? Not in the slightest. This is Sony weíre talking about after all, when the PlayStation 4 originally launched back in 2013, it was flying off of store shelves, quickly amassing sales even surpassing the PlayStation 2 at its equivalent time and clearly the gamers primary choice of console. When Sony executives weíre asked, why they think this was, what smart strategy had they implemented or learnt from to cause their latest console to be so sought after by consumers. They were puzzled, they didnít know, they had no idea.

So if thereís one thing that's clear from this latest PlayStation Meeting, itís that Sony didnít have a fucking clue then, and they donít have a fucking clue now.

What do you think of the PlayStation 4 Pro? Let me know in the comments below.


The PlayStation 4 has currently sold over 40 million units since its release in November 2013.

Sony announced that HDR (High Dynamic Range) will be coming within a firmware update for all PlayStation 4 owners.

Notably absent from the PlayStation 4 Pro is a UHD Blu-ray drive.

Opinion of: David Robinson
Twitter: @5ypher

Posted on 9th September 2016