Entertainment

New high-resolution Sony PlayStation 4 Pro console announced

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House announced the PlayStation 4 Pro, a more powerful version of its current gaming console at a media event Wednesday.

PS4 Pro to support 4K resolution and high-dynamic range (HDR) colours

The Sony PlayStation 4 Pro is a more powerful, slightly larger version of the current PlayStation 4 console. (Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.)

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House announced the PlayStation 4 Pro, a more powerful version of its current gaming console at a media event Wednesday.

The PS4 Pro, looking like a slightly wider and taller version of the current PS4, is aimed at the hardcore gamer audience, House said. It will support games at a higher resolution known as 4K, which uses a greater number of pixels to deliver a sharper image.

It will launch in North America Nov. 10 starting at $499, and come with a 1TB hard drive standard — double the 500 GB entry level options for the current PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

The new console will also feature high-dynamic range colour, or HDR, gaming. HDR televisions can display more vibrant colours with a higher contrast than traditional screens. 

Gamers will need a TV that supports both 4K and HDR colour options to get the most out of the PS4 Pro's improvements.

Games to work on both PS4 models

House also announced a slimmer redesign of the current PlayStation 4 console, which will start at $379. The slimmer model, images of which leaked online weeks earlier, will be "the standard PS4 moving forward," according to House.

All PS4 games will work on both the standard and pro versions of the console.

The PS4 Pro stands alongside the redesigned, slimmer model of the standard PS4. (Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.)

Sony will also add HDR functionality to all existing PlayStation 4 consoles via an upcoming firmwave software update.

The PS4 Pro will support 4K video streaming, boosted by partnerships with Netflix and YouTube to bring 4K content to the platform. It will not play native 4K Blu-ray discs, but can upscale standard 1080p Blu-rays to 4K.

Short demos of several upcoming PS4 games were shown running on the PS4 Pro to journalists present at the press conference. Highlights included new footage from Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Mass Effect: Andromeda, the sci-fi epic by Edmonton-based developer studio Bioware.

PlayStation lead architect Mark Cerny added that gamers will see some added graphical 'oomph' when playing games on the PS4, even if users don't have a 4K TV. He played the multiplayer game Paragon on the standard PS4 and the PS4 Pro on a standard 1080p-display. The side-by-side comparison showed some subtle visual improvements on the Pro.

PS4 Pro follows similar Xbox announcements

The announcements closely mirrored Microsoft's refresh of its Xbox One product line earlier this year. In June Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One S, a slimmer version of the Xbox One console with HDR and 4K video streaming, which went on sale in August.

The Xbox One S has one major advantage over the PS4 Pro — it can play 4K Blu-ray discs, making it the cheapest 4K Blu-ray player currently on the market.

Microsoft also announced Project Scorpio, the code name for the upcoming higher-end version of the Xbox One. The PS4 Pro will make it to stores nearly a year earlier, though: Project Scorpio is currently slated for a holiday 2017 release.

PS4 currently leads console race

Since the 2013 launch, Sony has sold more than 40 million units of the PS4, far outpacing Microsoft's Xbox One and Nintendo's Wii U.

Sony has said the games business is set to be its biggest growth driver, helped by strong PS4 console sales, a rise in subscribers to its PlayStation Network and the upcoming launch of its virtual reality headset.

In the financial year through March 2017, Sony expects the gaming unit to account for 45 per cent of its overall operating profit. Sony forecasts PS4 sales at 20 million units for this financial year, up from the previous year's 17.7 million units.

with files from Reuters

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