Sony's decision to omit 4K Blu-ray support for its upcoming PS4 Pro console comes as a surprise to many in the gaming world, including competitor Microsoft.
When Sony revealed its PS4 Pro does not support 4K Blu-ray playback, following an announcement months earlier that Microsoft's Project Scorpio and Xbox One S would, it was a curveball no one was expecting — not even Microsoft.
Microsoft and Sony are the Nintendo and Sega of this generation, to put it in simple terms, which means both companies are always looking to one-up each other, or at the very least stay competitive. And outside of exclusive releases, both Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox are relatively the same in terms of what they can do. They're similar enough to boil down to popularity when deciding which console to choose. Until this one decision by Sony that may have tilted the scales in their rival's favor, and Microsoft is just as surprised as everyone else. It even prompted them to throw a bit of shade, in fact.
Lead Xbox planner Albert Penello weighed in on Sony's decision to exclude 4K Blu-ray support for PlayStation 4 Pro, saying:
I don’t want to bait any sort of console war, I have a lot of respect for what Sony does, but analytically, I think they made some interesting decisions in their product that surprised me.
The lack of a 4K disc player, given Sony’s media background, was a surprise. Looking at what they’ve done historically, I don’t think many people would have predicted that.
He's right in noting Sony's media background as a basis for his bewilderment. When the PS3 and Xbox 360 were at the front of the console wars a decade ago, the PS3 was the first to adopt the Blu-ray format, which was in its infancy at the time, battling it out against Microsoft's chosen HD DVD format for dominance. Blu-ray won and the next generation of consoles, both PS4 and Xbox One, adopted the format. Now it seems Microsoft is taking the reins and leading the charge in what it believes is the next big thing, even saying its console "aspired" higher than Sony's.
VG 24/7 notes the gaming industry's move toward streaming as a legitimate reason for dropping 4K Blu-ray support, as it may be cost-effective in the long-term. But Microsoft doesn't seem to be thinking that way, instead jumping into the 4K market with optimism, even though it has uncertain future at this time. Penello shares that optimism, stating blatantly, "Naturally, technology is going to migrate to 4K."
This is not a flash in the pan – it’s not like 3D TV, it’s not like Smart TVs, I think that 4K is going to be, over the next few years, the predominant screen resolution that people are going to buy when they upgrade their sets. There are groups of data that have varying market share stats, but they pretty much agree that 4K will eventually take over.
Personally, I think the shift from SD to HD was very meaningful – and I think the same about the move from 1080p to 4K. I do believe that, once the content starts to show up, people will be like, wow, this is worth the upgrade. When you look at a UHD Blu-ray, when you look at a 4K HDR streams from Netflix or Amazon, I believe you can really see the difference.
Microsoft has been gaining traction lately, with the Xbox One beating PS4 in sales for the second month in a row. The company believes it was the launch of the Xbox One S as the predominant reason Xbox One was the best selling console in August. The Xbox One S just so happens to include 4K Blu-ray support. Perhaps Microsoft is onto something.
What do you believe, Ranters? Did Sony make a mistake by not including 4K Blu-ray support? Will this have an impact on your decision of what console to purchase? Let us know.
PS4 Pro has a release date of November 10, 2016, while the Xbox's Project Scorpio is eyeing a holiday release next year in 2017.