It was unveiled yesterday that since the launch of the PS4 Pro, it has accounted for one in five sales of PS4 hardware. Sony says it’s happy with this figure, that the console is performing ahead of expectations under severe supply constraints. I say that it’s probably not really good enough.

Back in December, Sony reported that 50 million PS4 consoles had been sold worldwide up to the 6th December. Before that, it reported that 40 million PS4 consoles had been sold worldwide up to the 22nd May. That means that on the day that the PS4 Pro was launched, the 10th of November, the sales of the regular old PS4 stood at around 48 million worldwide. VGChartz data shows that around another 10 million PS4 units have been sold since then, and if only one in five of those 10 million machines sold are PS4 Pros, that means there are 2 million PS4 Pro owners out there. That’s just 3.4% of the overall PS4 user base.

I count myself among those PS4 Pro owners. I think hardware-wise it’s a wonderful piece of kit. But I can also count on one hand the number of times I feel a game has actually made use of its extra power since launch – and I play a lot of games. Back when Sony was busy hyping the machine it said that every game going forward would have to support the PS4 Pro, and indeed they do, though perhaps not in the way that many of us had envisaged.

You see, when Sony said that every game from October 2016 onwards would have a PS4 Pro mode, it didn’t mean that every game would be better played on it, just that they’d actually work. For most owners, like myself, that means we’ve seen very little benefit. World of Final Fantasy was actually worse when played on a PS4 Pro until it was patched, and many other games have worse framerates to go alongside the prettier visuals. Most games, however, offer nothing – not even a resolution boost. To many, the best thing about the PS4 Pro is likely to be the “Boost Mode” added after launch – who doesn’t want to play Bloodborne with a little more buttery smoothness? – but it’s not really much of a consolation.

The fact of the matter is though, you can’t really blame game developers for not making the effort to support the PS4 Pro better. If you were a developer and you knew that only 3.4% of those buying your game had a more capable machine, would you go the extra mile to give it extra bells and whistles just for them? I wouldn’t. I’d make sure that the game was optimised for the 96.6% playing it on a standard console, and therein lies the issue – for a multi-tiered platform to truly succeed, each model needs to be on more of an equal footing. At the moment, the PS4 Pro is insignificant. It’s an irritating speck on a developer’s radar. A checkbox that needs to be ticked off as launch approaches. But it needs to be more than that.

Perhaps over time the install base of the PS4 Pro will grow, making it more viable for developers to care about. I daresay the launch of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will also push developers to go the extra mile, as there’ll then be two consoles that can make use of any higher quality assets and effects that they create. Until then though, it’s hard to not be underwhelmed by the PS4 Pro.

  • Hvd

    yep.

  • Richieeeee

    buying a Pro was a mistake. The improvements are minuscule.

    • Brad Marcus Kirchhoff

      The framerates are worth it alone. Ark was unplayable on vanilla ps4 even on single player. Now it looks fucking great. Lichdom was also unplayable…W Pro support its actually a great game… Many others followed suit.

  • heavenshitman1

    I think the Scorpio will do far better in the build support, as its rather new hardware, unlike the Pro which mostly had a 2nd gpu slapped on adhoc style.
    But nevertheless, as many are predicting, it won’t make a grand difference. Unless Scorpio units fly out the gate (unlikely granted expected price points), devs are gonna favour XB1 hardware specs for their engines as suggested for Pro in this article

  • TwoLiterSoda

    I use my pro daily but yeah with no games taking advantage of the bump in power it wasn’t worth buying one in addition to the ps4 I already had. I fell for the hype, fell for it again with Sony’s VR, won’t fall for Sony’s hype again, I’ll wait a bit before making any future hardware plunge.

    • Brad Marcus Kirchhoff

      The VR is fantastic. Did u not hear of the games coming? God of War devs have a game coming. Bethesda is making multiple VR titles, The Perception…Major devs are starting to make the leap. Farpoint is fucking amazing. Youd have to be an idiot to think VR isnt a a permanent staple in gaming for the future. We will always have traditional style games but PSVR is here to stay.

  • ShowanW

    Microsoft did ALL devs a favor, by making ALL games take advantage of Scorpio’s power on a system level and NOT a game by game basis…

    If a developer chooses not to waste a finger on higher textures and such, they can at least get an automatic 4K bump in within a week..

    Thats a little more incentive to at least cater to Scorpio… some devs say it takes a 2-3weeks to implement upgrades for PS4PRO

  • There have been ~60M PS4s sold today, ~2M of which are PS4 Pros as you note. If the PS4 sales climb to 100M, which would be similar to the original PlayStation, and we continue to see 20% are PS4 Pros that would be 10M total, or 10% overall. Well worth the investment by developers. But I think as time goes on we will see more pricedrops and more people buying Pros too.

    • preciousdeath

      Agreed. And the Vanilla PS4 will be phased-out eventually.

  • zero

    I’m pretty sure you’d agree that the whole reason there aren’t many PS Pro’s being sold is because of the PS4 install base. How many people that bought a PS4 are going to spend $400 AGAIN on a PRO? About as many who are going to buy a 4k TV to go along with it, so it’s even doing what it’s meant to do, play games in 4k.

    The only people buying this want the best tech with the highest resolution & a nice chunk of DISPOSABLE INCOME. Period. I see the EXACT SAME THING HAPPENING WITH SCORPIO.

    When the PRO came out I bought it on launch day along with the Sony XBR-55X700D 4k tv. Its a great entry set. It was a bundle. That tv was $900 at the time. I got the bundle for $800. You do the math. Most gamers who already own a PS4 simply will not buy a PRO when they need the 4k tv to use it to it’s full potential. It’s too steep a entry point for the 96% of PS4 owners.

  • JahFou

    Didn’t know the benefit of ps4p was that little. And its on devs’ end to make it happen.