While I’m still in the middle of my PlayStation 4 Pro review, I’ve been reading a lot of misinformation regarding the console and figured It was my duty to help provide some information if you may. The biggest misconception is that the system is unable to render games at a native 4K resolution, which isn’t entirely correct. So where is the misconception at?
Let’s explore what’s exactly is happening here, let’s start with what’s called as “Checkerboard Rendering”. Think of it as a shortcut to better visuals with less of a performance hit. I go a bit more of this in my upcoming PlayStation 4 Pro review as well, but I touch base on it here. What is happening here is Sony was aware that the PS4 Pro may not be powerful enough to run all games at a native 4k resolution, so instead will use the Checkerboard Rendering. What happens with this is that a game is rendered at a pixel count of 2160p, but the pixels will then basically borrow from each other. So while you do have a true 4K resolution, pixels will pull basically a 1/4 of a 4K pixel and use it for a new pixel. This is where the name of the technique comes from. Looking at an actual checkerboard, you have half the board in black squares and the other half of the square being white or red, depending on the board.
In the process, say every black square is a 4K pixel and each white square is a portion of it. This allows a game to run at a higher graphical fidelity while not having the system cost as much as a 4K capable gaming computer would. We’re talking about a $399 dollar gaming console compared to a $700 plus gaming PC, so, of course, we’re looking at a difference here.
Now, keep in mind that there are some games that do in fact run at a native 4k resolution on the PlayStation 4 Pro, but there is a compromise in the form of frame rate per second loss. Meaning that if you were to take a native 4K game and play it, as opposed to a game that uses the checkerboard rendering, it would have a much lower frame rate. Sure it would be more pronounced but the performance hit isn’t something that many would appreciate, nor tolerate.
So which games currently are rendered at a native 4K resolution? Surprisingly more than I figured would. While many aren’t something I’d get excited about, with the exception of The Last of Us, it’s definitely a start.
- The Last Of Us Remastered (Native 4K@30FPS with the best shadows)
- Smite (Native 4K@60FPS)
- The Elder Scroll Online (Native 4K@30FPS with enhanced details over PS4 version)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Edition (Native 4K@30FPS)
- Mantis Burn Racing (Native 4K@60FPS / Native 4K@30FPS for 4 player split-screen)
- Wheels of Aurelia (Native 4K@60FPS)
- Futuridium EP Deluxe (Native 4K@60FPS)
- forma.8 (Native 4K@60FPS + 8xMSAA )
- Rez Infinite (Native 4K@60FPS)
- Hustle Kings (Native 4K@60FPS)
- Thumper (Native 4K@60FPS)
- NBA 2K17 (Native 4K@60FPS + HDR)
- Neon Chrome (Native 4K@60FPS)
- The Witness (Native 4K@30FPS + HDR)
- Viking Squad (Native 4K@60FPS)
So in the end, it is indeed positive to render native 4K with the PlayStation 4 Pro and hopefully more developers are able to tap into that and accomplish feats that won’t impact performance as much as it does now. Obviously, that’s why they have the Checkerboard method, but that isn’t true 4K and gives people the ammunition to disregard the system as such. I hope that this sheds a bit of information of what we’re seeing now and what can we expect on the PlayStation 4 Pro.