Gaming Weekly (9/4-9/15): Sony Announces PS4 Slim, Pro, Fallout 4 PS4 Mods on Hold but Maybe Not
This week in gaming, Sony finally announced their own upgraded consoles, Bethesda turned up the heat in an effort to get PS4 mods published for Fallout 4, and Lionhead Studios founder Peter Molyneux released a brand new mobile game.
Let’s dig into everything gaming-related we’ve been able to enjoy over the last seven days!
Sony Reveals the Future Versions of the PlayStation 4, Controller Upgrades, and More
Finally, Sony has pleased gamers all around the world by detailing their plans for an upgraded PlayStation 4 console, sub-named Pro. The splash created by this reveal has been predictably large—so large, in fact, that many other awesome bits of information delivered by the PlayStation-producing company have gone mainly unnoticed. We’ll take a look at those as well, but first, let’s highlight the evolved PS4 consoles you ‘ll be able to buy in the near future, when they’ll be available, what they’ll cost, and what they’ll be capable of.
First, the PS4 Slim—equivalent to the Xbox One S in that it is smaller, more efficient, and lighter, but doesn’t offer technical benefits—will be available on September 15, for a retail price of $299.99. Direct from Sony’s website, they’ve reduced the new system’s “volume by 30 percent, weight by 16 percent, and power consumption by 28 percent”, compared to the “old” PS4.
I was an outspoken critic of the Xbox One S, and in the interest of sticking to my guns and being consistent, I’ll come right out and say it: I think releasing a smaller PS4 ahead of an upgraded console is stupid. I also predicted that the commercial reception to the Xbox One S would be poor, and I was wrong. Sales improved, and it seems that, for whatever reason, many individuals are interested in paying more money for a smaller system when the perfectly functional original model is available for next to nothing, and more pressingly, an entirely upgraded console is on the way yet!
I could go on about the subject all day, but for now, let’s continue on with the PS4 information.
The PlayStation 4 Pro, previously codenamed Neo and the rival to Microsoft’s Xbox One Scorpio, will release on November 10, 2016, and will cost $399.99 (it should be noted that all listed prices are for the models with the smallest hard drive size). The system includes noticeably more powerful internal components and capabilities than the traditional PS4, which results in some 4K support, as well as smoother framerates, more detailed graphics, and if the culmination of these points works as intended, a greater overall gaming experience.
The appeal here is pretty straightforward: although many are critical and doubtful of the system’s legitimate 4K capabilities (it also doesn’t feature the ability to play 4K movies through disc), it’s obvious that it will enhance the graphics and overall performance of some games thanks to the technical power at its disposal. So, anyone interested with new graphics should probably consider the console.
As for the PS4’s hardware, some notable adjustments have been made as well. First, the controller now comes in red and blue, in addition to the traditional black color. Additionally, it features support for a number of voice options, including Bluetooth and several USB-powered headsets. Finally, the controller’s light now comes up through the front touchpad, apparently.
While not “game-changing”, these are some welcome additions to the controller, I suppose. Perhaps some of these enhancements have been desired by many other gamers for a while now.
The next “hardware upgrade” is hardly worthy of the title. The PlayStation Camera has seen minor cosmetic enhancements made, but will still do essentially the same things its previous model.
Both items will launch on September 15, the same day as the PS4 Slim.
Truthfully, as is the case with the upgraded Xbox One Scorpio, we’ll need to wait and see how the PS4 Pro plays before judging it. In addition to depending upon technical capabilities, obviously, we’re overlooking that its performance depends upon the will of game creators. In the fast-paced and costly development world of today, who knows what features will get cut as a release date rapidly approaches. Perhaps similar versions of titles will be released on upgraded consoles as they are on traditional models.
Frankly speaking, it makes more sense to provide a smaller amount of gamers—upgraded system owners—with a similar or even lacking experience than it does to limit the quality of the experience enjoyed by many gamers, or the owners of previously released systems. When push comes to shove, this may be a decision companies are faced with.
PS4 Slim – Just how good does it look and what can it do?
While the PS4 Slim looks noticeably better than the original PS4 console, the makeover hasn’t exactly been extreme – not that it needed to be, mind you.
It’s like the original PS4 has cut down on the junk food, had a shave and been kitted out with some nice new clothes.
Lying down flat, the PS4 Slim is more than a centimeter shorter than the original PS4, measuring in at around 3.9cm, compared to the heftier 5.3cm of its predecessor.
It’s also sporting a much squarer and more even 26.5cm x 26.5cm frame, compared to the original’s 27.5cm x 30cm rectangular base.
The PS4 Slim’s matte black finish is easier on the eye, while the physical buttons eliminate any power and disc blunders you might have experienced with the original.
Then there are the little touches like the PlayStation symbols on the underside of the console, the quieter fan and the slightly modified DualShock 4 controller with front-facing lightbar for clearer in-game notifications.
Assuming the controller’s thumbsticks can take a little more punishment than the original – it’s hard to tell how durable they are at this early stage – then Sony has seemingly ironed out most of the complaints we had about the original console.
PS4 Slim vs. Xbox One S – which console is best?
Choosing your console really comes down to the kind of exclusive games you want to play. Sony has the likes of The Last of Us, Uncharted, Bloodborne and No Man’s Sky, while Microsoft can count Gears of War, Halo, Forza and Quantum Break among its ranks.
However, if you were basing your choice of console purely on aesthetics, then it’s the Xbox One S that makes a bigger splash.
iUnlike the PS4 Slim, the Xbox One WAS in desperate need of a new look and has gone down the 10 Years Younger path of plastic surgery and expensive new threads.
The power brick is no more, the robot white color scheme is stunning, and the matching controller handles like a dream.
One of the Xbox One’s big selling points is HDR support, which thanks to a recent update, comes with all PS4 consoles as standard, even the old one. Kudos to Sony for that.
The Xbox One S does have Ultra-HD Blu-ray support, but unless you’ve got a 4K TV with HDR, then you’re not really going to get the benefits of all this fancy new tech.
So it’s Microsoft that gets the upper-hand in this particular battle, but with virtual reality about to come to PS4, not to mention the strength of those platform exclusives, it’s hard to recommend anything other than the PlayStation at this point.
Should I buy a PS4 Slim or wait for the PS4 Pro?
The other big decision you’ll need to make is whether to go for a PS4 Slim or wait for the PS4 Pro to launch.
It’s actually an easy choice because the price difference isn’t that drastic – the 1TB PS4 Slim costs $300 compared to $400 for the 1TB PS4 Pro – and the PS4 Pro is out on November 10, so there’s only a couple of months to wait. Check out the best prices here though as they’ll keep changing through the holiday season.
The PS4 Pro supports 4K gaming, runs games at a higher frame-rate and boasts a more powerful CPU and GPU. It will be particularly useful if you’re planning on buying a power-sapping PlayStation VR headset in October.
If you crave more power, flashier visuals and have got your PlayStation VR headset on pre-order, then hold off on the PS4 Slim and grab a PS4 Pro instead.
But if you are in the market for an entry-level PS4 that will sit under your TV with room to spare, then the PS4 Slim is definitely the way to go.
Fallout 4 PS4 Mods Delayed Indefinitely; Bethesda Blames Sony
The ongoing saga of Fallout 4’s PS4 version receiving mod support has taken a semi-dramatic turn: Bethesda has released a public statement blaming Sony for the delay, citing an overbearing and unworkable style of management from the company.
While highlighting Sony as the aggressor and trouble maker in the situation may not illuminate the entire story or truth of the larger issue, it’s probably a pretty solid move in terms of expediting the already slow process. Xbox One players have had access to mods for a while now, and undoubtedly, the PS4 gamers are eager to jump in as well.
Now, these same angry gamers will apply additional pressure to both sides of the situation. If I had to bet, I’d say we don’t have much longer before some Fallout 4 mods are available on the PS4.
However, Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines has given PlayStation fans a glimmer of hope, revealing that the company was still trying to get mod support of some kind on the PS4.
Responding to a fan on Twitter, Hines said: “We can’t get into specifics. We still want to get mod support of some kind out on PS4.”
Asked what he meant by some kind of mod support, Hines replied: “i’m not going to guess at what it might look like.”
Hines also ruled out future DLC for Fallout 4, which just received the Nuka-World expansion.
Here’s what Bethesda said about PS4 mod support last week: “After months of discussion with Sony, we regret to say that while we have long been ready to offer mod support on PlayStation 4.
“Sony has informed us they will not approve user mods the way they should work: where users can do anything they want for either Fallout 4 or Skyrim Special Edition.
“Like you, we are disappointed by Sony’s decision given the considerable time and effort we have put into this project, and the amount of time our fans have waited for mod support to arrive.
“We consider this an important initiative, and we hope to find other ways user mods can be available for our PlayStation audience.”
The other big new addition is mod support on Xbox One. Similar to the Fallout 4 mods, players will be able to download them to consoles once they’re published online.
Peter Molyneux’s Company Releases The Trail for Mobile Platforms
Peter Molyneux, the outspoken founder of Lionhead Studios and creator of the Fable series, has released a new game through his current company, 22Cans. The Trail is available for iOS users and seems to be an interesting exploration-heavy title.
I know he’s a controversial and even frustrating guy to follow, at times, but given his creation of the Fable series, I figured Molyneux’s newest release was worth mentioning, at the very least.
We learned about new systems this week—that’s not exactly a regular occurrence! What next week will present to the gaming community is unknown, but rumors are brewing that Nintendo is finally ready to shed some light on their mysterious NX system.
Whatever next week brings, you can be sure that all the information will be highlighted here!