Sony’s new, more powerful PS4 Pro is due out on November 10th. The system is fully compatible with PlayStation VR, but what difference will the extra power of PS4 Pro have on the PSVR experience?

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Sony’s new PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR headset

While every PS4 (and PSVR) game will run on PS4 Pro, only games specially designed (or updated) to take advantage of the new console’s extra horsepower will see significant visual improvements. So far we’ve caught wind of 13 PSVR titles that are planned to specifically support PS4 Pro at launch.

One of those PlayStation VR titles, Battlezone, has already been updated (as of patch 1.02) with enhanced visuals for PS4 Pro. The developer says they’ve increased the super-sampling resolution and enhanced the cockpit lighting and reflections.

SEE ALSO
PlayStation VR Review: Console VR Has Arrived

We gave the game a shot on both PS4 Pro and PS4 and found almost no discernible difference in the PSVR experience between the two. Here’s a look at recorded gameplay on both systems.

Note: All videos and screenshots in this article were captured using the Share function which captures a cropped view from the right eye of the frame that gets sent to the PSVR display. Therefor videos are not representative of in-headset quality, but they are representative of relative quality from PS4 Pro to PS4.

Battlezone PS4 Pro vs. PS4 PlayStation VR (PSVR) Comparison

Even with a side-by-side comparison it’s difficult to see any significant differences between the two. If you look very carefully at comparative screenshots, you might be able to discern an ever so slight increase in the sharpness of the reticle and other thin interface elements, but in the midst of gameplay it’s virtually unnoticeable.

We also took Batman Arkham VR, one of PSVR’s best looking titles (our review here), for a spin on the PS4 Pro. Although the game hasn’t been specifically updated for the PS4 Pro to our knowledge, it seems it may have been built with a somewhat adaptive foundation. Inside the headset the game looks ever so slightly sharper, and you’ll spot fewer texture pops as the game seems to be able to load high-res textures faster thanks to the PS4 Pro. In fact, PSVR game loading screens appear to be noticeably faster across the board on PS4 Pro.

The most noticeable change is that Batman Arkham VR running on PS4 Pro seems to no longer use foveated rendering which, on PS4, adds significant blur to the peripheral areas of your view.

Note: Due to the cropping during Share capture, it’s harder to see the foveated rendering in screenshots; it’s more apparent through the view of the headset, but only when you look toward the edges of the lens.

Batman Arkham VR PS4 Pro PlayStation VR (PSVR) Screenshot

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Batman Arkham VR PS4 PlayStation VR Screenshot

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Notice the blurry text on the left and right periphery (due to foveated rendering)

We’ve got a video comparison of Batman Arkham VR on PS4 Pro and PS4 as well, but we doubt you’d be able to reliably tell them apart in a double-blind test:

Batman Arkham VR PS4 Pro vs. PS4 PlayStation VR (PSVR) Comparison

PSVR Tracking on PS4 Pro

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For those hoping that PlayStation VR might see improved tracking on PS4 Pro, we can confirm that it’s no different than what you’ll find on the original PS4. Unfortunately that means we’re still stuck with the sub-par tracking performance that we noted in our PSVR review. Presumably there’s still a sliver of hope that Sony could make an update to the PS4 Pro or PSVR that could devote a little extra processing power to tracking, but we’d advise against holding your breath.

Loading on PS4 Pro vs. PS4

For now, loading times are one of the most noticeable improvements seen between PS4 Pro and PS4. In several games we tested, loading screens ran notably faster. This also bleeds over into texture loading for some games, which means you’ll see fewer instances of low-res textures suddenly popping into high-res as you approach them, or it’ll happen faster if you do happen upon it.

A quick test of the initial load screen in Robinson: The Journey showed a 24% reduction in loading time on PS4 Pro (40 seconds) vs. PS4 (52 seconds).

Conclusion

PlayStation VR works just as well on PS4 Pro as it does on PS4. For now, we’re seeing minute improvements in visuals at best, while tracking performance is unchanged. Loading times on PS4 Pro seem snappier and that also translates to less noticeable texture pop-in in some cases which is a bigger deal in VR than regular games because of how closely you can inspect the world around you. There’s also an extra USB port on the back of the PS4 Pro which is really handy for hooking up the PlayStation VR breakout box without stealing one of the front ports which are best saved for connecting and charging controllers.

Keep in mind that the titles above, and pretty much every PlayStation VR title launched to date, were made with the PS4 in mind. We expect in the future to see more significant visual improvements for PSVR titles running on PS4 Pro as developers have more time to optimize their titles (and begin building new ones from scratch) for the extra horsepower. While the 1080p display and poor mura correction are the biggest bottlenecks to the headset’s visuals, increased supersampling can do wonders if applied appropriately to a well optimized VR game.


Disclosure: Sony provided Road to VR with a PS4 Pro console.

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  • hp

    A comparison for Driveclub may be interesting, I hear the game’s barly playable on the vanilla PS4

    • Corrections

      You heard wrong. Driveclub VR is perfectly playable.

    • polysix

      The patch (which isn’t out yet) they said it makes it a bit better but not using the full power of pro. Most of the launch games aren’t so take these articles with a pinch of salt. Wait for Farpoint, resident evil 7 and future VR games to see the real impact of PRO. Sony will probably also be limiting devs right now, till after XMAS on really showing what Pro can do for VR so as not to put off 40 million potential PSVR buyers still on OG PS4!

      Why the article writers can’t grasp that I don’t know.

      Also no videos are going to ably demonstrate the improvements (or lack of) inside the HMD itself.

  • Phil Smith

    I play Driveclub VR just about everyday .. perfectly playable (normal Driveclub for me now is unplayable ;) … 2D, Flat , No Immersion

    • Keith Neal

      me too, cant play 2D flat anymore , big disappointment to find out Grand turismo sport inst VR , lets hope project cars or dirt rally get an update to VR

      • Alex

        GT Sport is having VR

        • John Torr

          Only one part of the game will have vr support.. most of the game will not.. which probably means one or two tracks and cars max.

  • VR Toast

    Small typo – I think you meant to say November 10th not October 10th. Otherwise awesome article, thanks for covering, it’s something we’ve been wondering about!

    • benz145

      You’re right, thanks! Fixed.

  • Keith.

    Does PS4 Pro bring any improvements to watching YouTube or any of the other video apps on PSVR?

  • silvaring

    I was guessing the improved antialiasing was going to be the most beneficial thing. You really notice it in VR games like Until Dawn & its a real immersion killer.

    • Alex

      This. I’m expecting the more realism type of games like Until Dawn, RIGS, and RE7 to have big benefits.

    • Iown You

      I seriously never notice it while I’m playing.

  • polysix

    The patch for Driveclub (which isn’t out yet) they said it makes it a bit better but not using the full power of pro

    Most of the launch games aren’t. Wait for Farpoint, resident evil 7 and future VR games to see the real impact of PRO. Sony will probably also be limiting devs right now, till after XMAS on really showing what Pro can do for VR so as not to put off 40 million potential PSVR buyers still on OG PS4!

    Also no videos are going to ably demonstrate the improvements (or lack of) inside the HMD itself.

    • I’d have to respectively disagree. I’m personally trying to decide whether or not it’s worth the upgrade, and Christmas would actually be a good time to sell me on it, as my existing PS4 could be sold or gifted out. I’m certain many other people are in the same boat.

      I have serious doubts they are holding out to protect old hardware sales. It’s always about selling the NEW hardware, not the old. This would be an excellent way to convince people to buy the Pro over the OG.

      • John Torr

        It’s not about protecting old hardware sales, it’s about protecting playstation vr sales.. if ps4 owners are made to feel that their consoles are not up to the task of powering the ps vr, they simply won’t buy it.. Sony have a delicate balancing act on right now – they wanted to give people the option of upgrading to the ps4 pro to really experience vr at its best, but they also don’t want to alienate the existing ps4 base from buying ps vr.. that’s also why they have forbidden all developers from ever bringing out ps4 pro exclusives..

        • NoneOfYourBusiness

          Bingo! Finally someone who GETS IT! They won’t come out and say it but the PS4 Pro was primarily made for PSVR which is why I bought mine. The 4K and extra power for non-PSVR games is just welcomed gravy.

          • John Torr

            Precisely.. actually so far there’s not a huge difference in performance on ps vr between the two.. my Driveclub is clearly running at a higher frame rate and is very slight more crisp visually.. but I think there’ll be more noticeable differences in future game developed specifically with the pro in mind from the start.

        • olebrun

          The PSVR isn’t VR at it’s best anyway, it’s a good start yes. Give it a few years, we need 4k at 120hz.

          • John Torr

            Yeah I can’t wait for 4k vr, but it’s definitely good enough for now..

        • Olav Alexander Mjelde

          PS4PRO is not a MUST, but for early adopters it’s a nice candy!
          Also if you dont have a PS yet and you want to buy one, it’s a smart model to buy…

          However if you have 1080p set and own a regular PS4, and you are not an early adopter, just keep what you have.

      • NoneOfYourBusiness

        Do you like more power? Do you have a PSVR or plan on getting one? Do you have a 4K TV? Get it.

        • Lala Mojo

          What in the flying fudge does a 4k tv have to do with using VR? You aren’t looking at your TV dumbA**

          • George

            PSVR and 4K TV are two independent reasons to get a Pro.

    • Till Eulenspiegel

      There are close to 50 million PS4 sold, it will take a while before PS4 Pro hits 1 million. Who are developers going to sell their games to? The 50 million or that 1 million? They won’t make exclusive games for the Pro because they will be ignoring the 50 million potential buyer.

      Aggressive optimising for the Pro will make the games look dull on the regular PS4 by comparison, how are they going to sell to the majority users?

      It’s economics that drives the business, not just technology. This is the same scenario as the New 3DS from Nintendo. It’s twice as powerful as the old one but few developers optimised their games for the New 3DS for the same reason stated above.

      • They wont be making exclusive games on the Pro at all in fact games will work both on PS4 and PS4 pro unlike the 3DS where they’re allowed to make exclusive titles for the New 3DS. So user base isn’t a factor on the Pro like it is on the 3DS.

      • NoneOfYourBusiness

        Stop pretending you know how to program for the PS4 by making negative assumptions. You couldn’t even program for a Commodore 64 I’m sure.

        • Sebastien Mathieu

          hummmmm a trump avatar… like you know about what you are talking…

    • boston macro

      Im in love with the psvr!

  • popo123

    Very little info and comparisons here. Did you check all the other games available? Robinson? Rigs? Until Dawn? Eagle Flight? Bound? And more?

    • benz145

      At the time of testing the only game that we could confirm had been updated specifically for PS4 Pro was Battlezone. We’re waiting for further patches to roll out and continuing to test as they do.

      The key here is in the conclusion, which is that we’re likely to see bigger gains in visuals on PS4 Pro over time, as devs design from the ground up to take advantage of its power, rather than just tweaking a few nobs after all the production time was spent aiming for the PS4 hardware.

      • popo123

        I see, thank you for the reply. Robinson: The Journey, however has already been patched for The Ps4 Pro. Did you check it out?

        • C.P. Garcia

          It’s not out yet … How can a game be patched that hasn’t been released. It released tomorrow. As Does Eagle Flight.. which you mentioned..

          • popo123

            The game has been released since last week in many areas and the patch is included in the disc itself so it’s already there when you play it on the Pro.

          • Kris Coffin

            Jsut becuase a game got into peoples hands early from shipments that broke street, does not mean it was released last week. Official date is Today, Nov 8th for both games. And even so, they will likely have a day one patch, so if they did slip out before hand, it would not be patched until today at best.

          • popo123

            I never said it was officialy released last week. I said it was released in many areas last week which it did. Also if a patch or update is on the disc itself then you don’t need to wait for launch day for the patch to be accessible. Put in the disc and the update/patch will automatically install without any need of internet or the like. The game does have a 1gb day one patch however but its content i do not know.

        • benz145

          Do you have an info source saying that it’s been patched specifically for Pro?

          We have our hands on the game and are testing it as well.

      • Alex

        Battlezone is abstract like Rez and Thumber, I believe titles like Until Dawn and RIGS will have much more noticable improvements since they are games that go for realism and the better aliasing would help them a lot. Currently those kind of games have a lot of jaggies, blurry resolution, etc. that the Pro can really improve the experience on.

        • Mike G

          Also there will be better optimisation for first party VR games over third party. I’m expecting games like Rigs, and Rush of Blood to demonstrate the Pro hardware better than games like Battlezone or Batman.

      • Iown You

        RIGS update for Pro is out. We really need a scoop on what it looks like.

  • Simon Wood

    Having been hacking around getting PSVR working on PC (PSVRFramework), we can use a PC to directly drive the PSVR’s screen.
    I’d be interested to know (needs someone smarter than me) how the PSVRs hexagonal pixel arrangement (according to i-fix-it tear down) compares to the other HDM offerings. And if someone has knowledge/equipment to measure the characteristic of the lenses for computing the correct distortion, that would be totally awesome…

    • OgreTactics

      Did you find a way to use an external tracker or the PS Camera for head tracking?

    • benz145

      Hey Simon, can you reach out to info@roadtovr.com about the PSVRFramework? I’m interested to know how the project is coming along.

  • OgreTactics

    The PS4 Pro is twice as powerful as the PS4. Don’t think in term of PS4 vs PS4 Pro but in terms of PS4 lifetime optimisation (when games get better and better year over year by pushing the boundaries) vs PS4 Pro lifetime optimisation.

    I am myself disappointed by the Pro because it was badly conceived and marketed (damn what are Apple, Samsung, Sony etc…on lately? It seems like they’re completely hysterical and off-road, maybe they know about an upcoming economic situation…) but the way to approach it and make comparison is on the long-term, not now.

    • Mr. New Vegas

      I love the idea of Pro, the only complaint is that I wish it was available from day and that for PS5 they will do it properly, offer us both PS5 and PS5Pro on same day, one for 300$ and pro for 500$.

      I see a lot of misinformation online but mostly lack of information, people assume (even people high on Sony Chain, like Colin Moriarty from the Kinda Funny Games and before that Editor for many many years in IGN) that PS4Pro is just for 4K TVs and people with FHD have no reason to get one, when in reality its the otehr way around!
      People with 4K will get a nice PS4 quality game but in 4K and THATS IT, oh HDR too.

      people with FHD going to get tons of enhancements not available to 4K gamers.

      Lets take RoftTR as sample of what will come in future:

      4K Mode: Basic PS4 Game just in 4K/30FPS

      FHD Mode 1: Basic PS4 Game but in 60FPS (thats what lots of people asked from PS4Pro)
      FHD Mode 2: Ultra Mode in 30FPS, in their trailer they announced 8-9 new graphical enhancements not available to otehr modes, im sure there are more:
      Physics based hair that previously was only available during in-game cinematic, Tesselation, better LODs, better AA, Anisotropic filtering, more dynamic foliage, better shadows, and much more.

      And it was made with a patch, so games that made for PS4Pro will have more and better enhancements for FHD players

      • Lamanuwa

        I don’t think releasing the PS5 and PS5Pro at the same time would be a good idea.
        Sony is merely taking the opportunity presented by the new manufacturing process for semiconductors.

        Back when PS4 released, the Pro would have costed nearly double the price it’s now at. It would have also marginalized the sales of the PS4 and presented itself as the better console.

        3 years later and coming at the same price point as the original is much better.

    • Lamanuwa

      I find it refreshing, the way they implemented the GPU on the Pro. It’s design being a double up of the current GPU along with Polaris and Vega roadmap features.

      It means, when you optimize a game for PS4, it’s automatically better optimized for Pro and it’s easy to use the extra horse power to further improve the game’s graphics and graphics alone.

      It also ensures ongoing optimization for the OG PS4.

      • Nein

        Unfortunately porting a game is not that easy. It isn’t about the hardware being similar. But rather about the differences that lie between them. And the PS4Pro is no exception. Every single console game engine that has been designed to fit only 1 set of hardware now has to be modified to match the 2nd set. This is not an easy feat.

        • Lamanuwa

          Not saying it’s easy, but it’s easier than having to deal with another architecture. It’s also not entirely necessary to add support at all, since the OG PS4 GPU is still part of the PS4Pro.

          • elnino

            I don’t know why people complain about Pro’s marketing. Sony cannot go on a full blown campaign, boast about its power and risk upsetting millions of PS4 owners. It’s a mid-gen optional upgrade, not a new generation so the marketing was low-key.

  • Nein

    Good luck having that imported without triggering the hair-colored beasts.

  • cwsluke

    Why has no one talked about why the port on the rear of the pro is usb 3.1 and not 3.0? That’s double the bandwidth. Could this affect the psvr? Or is it only for future proofing…?

    • Alex

      I’m curious about this too, and if it makes data transfers like backing up go faster.

    • Lamanuwa

      The Pro maybe running with a majority of apps and features that are still optimized for the PS4. If the hardware is there, there’s no reason for them to hold it back, other than the features are still being developed.

      I’m really looking forward for all the PS4 Apps to be updated with Pro support.

  • MrLonghair

    At this stage I say if your fave PSVR game has a Pro patch that takes it to 90 or 120 native and you can see the difference, and you have the money to spend (including selling off your old PS4), go for it. I love Battlezone but it’s not difficult to see the 60-120 reprojection at work, it’s an imperfection. VR on the original PS4 is a thing that “just works”, it has to be understood. But the Pro will make far fancier smoother experiences, provided games keep getting patches.

    If Ace Combat 7, maybe even War Thunder’s in development PSVR patch, Gran Turismos get 90 or 120 native with Pro, I’ll have to get a Pro.

  • MrLonghair

    Casual reminder it’s getting an early 2017 English language subtitled release in Asia territories such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, both with English language stores, easy to make an account and get cash-card codes for.

  • Mr. New Vegas

    Robinson the journey, PS4Pro version enhancements, copy paste:

    For PS4 Pro players, the technical enhancements Sony has outlined will
    be in evidence – these include higher rendering resolution, enhanced
    SSDO/SSAO lighting effects, longer view distances, higher quality
    texture filtering, and more seamless LOD (level of detail) generation.
    From our side, the scalability of CRYENGINE and the high level of visual
    fidelity it allows for has made the process of supporting both
    platforms very smooth and something that we’re well equipped for.

    http://wccftech.com/crytek-details-robinson-journey-ps4-pro-enhancements-impressed-sonys-ps-vr/

  • Peter Hansen

    Videos in 720p showing the improvement of graphics by a 4k ready console?!

    • Sebastien Mathieu

      upscaled 4K unfortunately..

  • toliviez

    What about Driveclub VR, inside the headset (using PS4), it’s a real mush of pixels, did you get a chance to test it with PS4 Pro, or will you??

  • Fox-One-1

    I played couple of hours of Robinson yesterday and even though I liked the game, I found an fundamental problem from it: When you lean or bend over to look at things, your view collides with the landscape.

    The game is designed so that the whole character moves in the game world when you move your head. This makes the players big collision shape bang on things and whole scenery wobbles and I bet many players will blame it on PSVR tracking.

    Also, it does not help that many things inside Robin’s house for example have very generous collision padding, so you don’t get to look thing close by as you’re used to in many VR games.

  • Torreth

    Heres the thing. Months ago a rogue developer said that VR was going to be awful on the launch model PS4’s, but a week later most developers jumped in and refuted those claims, but since Sony was so eager to get the Pro on the shelf near the launch of the PSVR, it looked like Sony was in a panic, and the power issue in the launch day PS4’s really was accurate. So, months before I had paid off the PSVR headset, I pre-purchased the Pro early, and planned to be blown away after the pro launched. I was absolutely shocked at how well the vanilla PS4 performed, and it even raised my anticipation for the results from the Pro. I got my pro on the 10th, and after all the setup, and deactivation of my previous ps4 model, guess what I found was the result of twice the power. Nothing. Well, nothing that I could tell. I was pretty upset. I went back and forth believing I must have not received the patch to enhance my headset, so I went back online and decided to search for proof that I had the patches. Oh yes. I indeed had the patches, but not the evidence my purchase was validated. All I can think of, is that PC gamers were right when they said that consoles are limiting the graphical fidelity on PC in an effort by the developers to show parity with other gaming devices, but this time, Sony is holding itself back by simultaneously trying to sell its VR system, to its established tens of millions of PS4 users, without angering them about the fact that the Pro could make their Ps4’s VR graphics obsolete, and now Pro owners like myself have to deal with a far more watered down experience then the Pro could provide. The 4K audience is virtually non-existant at this time for most gamers, so I dont see why they brought out the system unless VR was its main concern. I suspect Sony will eventually give free range to the developers who want to display their games in higher graphical fidelity than the PS4 is able to provide, but consumers are going to punish Sony by not upgrading to the Pro until Sony “SHOWS” that there is a compelling reason for the device to exist by graphical upgrades on VR games (If thats what gamers are interested in who bought theirs for that reason), but for me, Im highly disappointed by the lack of improvement on VR games, and I’ll tell you something. Right now, Im not the only PSVR owner that is fuming today. I suspect im one in a growing army, that are about to hit the internet with waves of disbelief over the lack of improvement that Sony is pushing out to consumers. I will be completely fine with how things are, as long as Sony can give some indication that what I’m seeing right now isnt what I should come to expect for the future.

  • Michael Cullen-Benson

    I have a 4K and personally would have not even remotely debated buying the pro if it had a Ultra HD disk player. But For now, I don’t see any value.

  • NoneOfYourBusiness

    Stop the myth that tracking is bad. How is it that so many using the same hardware do not have ANY tracking issues? Have you done all of the PSVR calibrations from the settings menu? Have you personalized your eye distance? Have you calibrated the head set lighting with your headset? Lastly, the games that are patched look significantly better.

  • Alan Hokanson

    Big difference with Robinson’s Journey