Wednesday afternoon, Sony finally pulled back to curtain on the long rumored PlayStation 4 Neo. The results were well…mixed at best.Rebranded the PlayStation 4 Pro, the new skew of the console features an upgraded GPU, from 1.84 TFLOPS to 4.20 TFLOPS, a boosted CPU, a 1TB hard drive, and the ability to display 4K and HDR video resolutions. You can purchase one November 10th for $399.99.Sony’s action’s today were not about establishing a new generation of gaming. They were about future proofing the current generation for years to come. It’s clear that the development cycles for consoles are changing in the industry. Instead of making a billion dollar high risk investment every 5-7 years, companies are working to transform their products to ones that mimic the cellphone market. This means routine incremental steps forward that allow software developers to ease into new technological advances, while slowly phasing out older hardware. It’s a smart bet for the industry, and one that should provide stability not only for Sony and Microsoft, but also for third party game developers.The critically praised AMC show Mad Men once talked about how in advertising, the most important idea is being new, as it creates an itch. I suspect there are many fans of Sony’s work with the PS4 that are naturally drawn to the allure of the PS4 Pro. Before you make that purchase though, I implore you to take a step back and ask yourself if this a console you really need right now.While it’s definitely an improvement from the original console, it’s hardly the noticeable leap that many fans were hoping for. There is no new superior integration with PlayStation VR, no mention of a solid state hard drive, and its GPU is noticeably weaker than the skew announced by Microsoft for its upcoming Project Scorpio. Probably the biggest surprise is the lack of a 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive for the device, something that’s included in the new $299.99 version of the Xbox One Slim.The hardware being offered in the PS4 Pro is not something that should make gamers rush to rid themselves of their current iteration of the PS4 that they already own. Most gamers do not own a 4K TV yet, as prices are finally just now beginning to reach a level of affordability for average consumers. Additionally, features such as HDR are still in their infancy and are often only offered on newer skews of televisions. Meaning the $500 65 inch 4K televisions you see this holiday season will likely lack the feature.Even bigger is the fact that most games releasing in the immediate future were likely developed with the older skew in mind. Watch Dogs 2, The Last Guardian, and others coming this fall that may feature improved graphics, have been in development for years. It will likely be next fall, as developers may wait to see the full power of Project Scorpio, before we see these developers begin to truly take advantage of the new power being offered by PS4 Pro.So who should buy a PS4 Pro on day one? Obviously if you are someone living well beyond your means, the PS4 Pro should be appealing to you. Additionally, I would implore anyone who is purchasing a PS4 this holiday season for the first time to choose this model, especially if you already own a 4K TV.Everyone else though should wait. The time for the PS4 Pro will come, but for the majority of the 40 million faithful PS4 owners, that time should be later, not sooner. 4K will be the future of gaming, and most likely so will HDR. But if you don’t own a 4K HDR television yet, you are doing yourself a disservice by forking over $399.99 for a machine that plays the same games your current machine plays. Additionally, considering that we have yet to see what Microsoft’s Project Scorpio will offer, or the upcoming reveal of Nintendo’s NX console, gamers would be wise to keep their wallets steadfast and instead invest their cash in the quality titles being offered this fall. I get that the natural reaction for many will be to upgrade, but much like those that rush out to buy the newest version of iPhone, early adopters may find the upgrades to be limited at best. Sony has built a solid console that was designed to last for a number of years. The new version is definitely designed to last many more, but you should wait to purchase it when it becomes a necessity, not when it is a luxury.Christopher Lockard is a co-host of Weekly Games Chat. Subscribe to us in your favorite podcast app. New episodes are posted every Wednesday. If you have any comments, concerns or questions, you can reach Christopher and the rest of the Weekly Games Chat crew at email@example.com.
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