Sony introduces a new concept for the PS4 Pro called 'forward compatibility' wherein some older games will unlock HDR and 4K capabilities on the forthcoming console.
As part of its PlayStation Meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Sony offered gamers their first look at the future of console gaming in the PlayStation family. The event started off with the unveiling of the PS4 Slim, a console that we have seen a little too much of lately, and then followed things up with the debut of the Neo console, which we now know is called the PS4 Pro.
The PS4 Pro console is meant to be the next step forward for PlayStation gaming – a slightly faster console that takes advantage of 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology to deliver “unprecedented” visual fidelity in both current and future gaming experiences. Speaking of those current gaming experiences, Sony also revealed that the PS4 Pro will be “forward compatible” with a select number of first party and third party titles.
Although gamers have heard the term 'backward compatible' plenty in recent years, the forward compatible concept is relatively new. Basically it means that older games will be upgraded to support the aforementioned higher visual fidelity.
Among the games listed as forward compatible during the PlayStation Meeting were Infamous: First Light and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, but Sony promises that the list will continue to grow as developers learn more about the PS4 Pro console. For each game there will be a compatibility update, which will then unlock 4K/HDR capabilities while playing on the PS4 Pro. That means there will be no need to buy an upgraded version of any current games just to unlock 4K visuals.
Arguably the best part of the forward compatibility announcement is that it gives upcoming PS4 Pro owners a chance to show off their new console’s capabilities right out of the box. Games like Infamous: First Light and Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor will look better, according to Sony, on the PS4 Pro.
However, as of right now it’s unclear how many titles will be forward compatible. It’s safe to assume that most Sony first party titles will at least be up for consideration, but the more interesting question is whether third party developers and publishers will be interested in going back and tweaking their games. Ultimately it will depend on how easy it is to “upgrade” a game to 4K or HDR.
It’s also worth mentioning that current PS4 owners will not be left in the dark as their PS4 Pro companions move forward. Sony announced that an upcoming firmware update will unlock HDR on current PS4 consoles. It’s unclear at this point how the HDR on PS4 will compare to that on PS4 Pro, but at the very least it’s a nice nod to current PS4 supporters.
For more on the PlayStation Meeting make sure to check out: