Three years after the release of the original PlayStation 4, Sony has unveiled two new models of the console for those who are interested in upgrading – or those who have been holding off on buying a PS4 until now. The first is simply a slimmed-down version of the original console, but the big focus right now is on the PS4 Pro: a more powerful version of the PS4 that supports 4K and HDR gameplay.
Following months of speculation and leaked details, Sony officially announced the PS4 Pro at a press event this week. There wasn’t as much positive buzz about the reveal as the company was probably hoping for, in part because much of the information had been known or guessed at for some time, and today brought an alarming report about a potential catch for playing PS4 Pro games in 4K or HDR.
Speaking with Japanese website Game Watch, Sony Interactive Entertainment executive Masayasu Ito indicated that the individual patches required for PS4 games to support 4K and HDR displays may cost extra, depending on the title. This naturally caused some consternation, since patches for games (featuring bug fixes and updates) are usually free, and the 4K/HDR support is one of the big selling points of the PS4 Pro, which will retail at $399. Given that many AAA games already feature paid DLC and microtransactions, gamers were concerned that publishers might have found another way to wring extra money out of them.
Fortunately it seems as though this might have been a false alarm. It’s unclear whether Ito’s original meaning was simply lost in translation, but Sony has issued a statement to Kotaku saying that, “We will not charge consumers for patches.” As Polygon points out, this could simply mean that games published by Sony won’t charge extra for 4K and HDR patches, but other publishers still might. We will update if there is any further clarification on that front.
Hopefully publishers will see the negative reaction to the news of this possibility and decide once and for all to keep upgrade patches free – though they may not even have the option. Absinthe Games founder Jack Sipich said on NeoGAF that, “We are not allowed to charge you for patches or pro feature updates… The internet can calm down. There is nothing we can do to leverage pro features or patches with price,” which is reassuring. There’s no doubt that a lot of people would pay a little more for better graphics in their games but, in this case, they really shouldn’t have to.
The PS4 Pro will be available to buy from November 10th, 2016.