Now that the PS4 Pro is a tangible, buyable product as of November 10th, it’s time to once again look at the state of the console industry. First came the Xbox One Slim, and soon to follow will be the Xbox Scorpio. All of these consoles are iterations upon the standard PS4 and XBO, and both companies have made it clear that this is NOT the start of a new console generation.
But what exactly IS it then? A new market standard? Are consoles going the way of the iPhone with yearly upgrades, forcing buyers to spend even more money just to stay up to date?
Or is this closer to a PC model without the flexibility? After all PC users have been upgrading their machines forever; but that’s not a feature that has made it to consoles, which are sold as complete, proprietary pieces of tech not to be tampered with.
With a PC you’re able to upgrade and switch out one piece of hardware at a time. Need a new processor? Swap away, without replacing the whole rig for a new one. In this way, PC gamers are potentially able to spread the cost of their upgrades whilst maintaining the parts that work for them and staying at the cutting edge of technological advancements.
On the other hand, consoles don’t have this customization choice; and this is why, for many people, the prospect of picking up a single machine that is guaranteed to play any game released for it over the next 5-7 years of the console’s cycle without any further faffing is actually an extremely attractive prospect.
However with the ever-shortening windows between new console releases and the inevitable drop-off of developer support for the older ‘standard’ PS4 and XBO in the face of higher quality versions, this reduces that level of certainty and could push more people towards PC gaming.
At the same time, consoles don’t often last a whole generation anyway. I went through three Xbox 360s across the last generation, facing a Red Ring of Death and a separate broken fan. Even last generation we saw multiple iterations, from the PS3 Slim to the Xbox 360 Elite. These ‘upgrades’ sorted issues such as overheating and storage capacities, but didn’t really boast improved graphics or hardware beyond this – and full console price was still charged.
When we remember this, it seems that the PS4 Pro and the Scorpio may actually be a better model for consumers, replacing some of the ‘fluff’ console upgrades that have been around for years anyway with more meaningful, tangibly visible ones that better warrant the price point.
Will you be picking up a PS4 Pro? Worried about the way the console industry’s going? Let us know in the comments!