You won't be able to tell the difference between PS4 Pro games and 'proper' 4K

A deep-dive into the genius of the Pro with Mark Cerny, the genius who made it.


Admin note: Changed this to an opinion piece. The author is the only one claiming to not see a difference and his "interview" with Cerny takes a massive back seat to his opinion throughout.

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madmonkey011388d ago

most people know this already, and when the scorpio has titles doing the same thing eve more people will come to realise the power required for native 4k over chekerboard rendered 4k is better used elsewhere.

affrogamer1388d ago

I second that from first hand experience seeing a native 4K PC and an upscaled PS4 Pro game side by side!

GtR35olution1388d ago

It will be very hard to tell the difference in ps4 pro 4k games and native 4k games but i know a lot of fanat-X will say they see the difference clearly. Horizon zero dawn in 4k on ps4 pro looks so amazing and i cant wait to play that game

Eonjay1388d ago

Well, most of us wont even get that far until we decide to upgrade to 4K anyway... Does it make sense that I am more interested in the Pro than a 4K TV with all the benefits of games on PRO. Plus I had a PS4 since day one, So I think I have used it enough to warrant an upgrade... My tv? Not so much. Upgrading a console after 3-4 years isn't that bad. Upgrading a TV should be like once every 10 years in my opinion But back on topic here, What people aren't saying is that Checkerboard looks like 4K because it is 4K. Like in reality. But because its not native, there can be artificts that so far seem really hard to detect without looking super close.

starrman19851388d ago

However on a 45"+ screen, side by side, you will definitely notice the difference! You can notice the difference between 900p up-scaled to 1080p and 1080p.

However, when are you really going to play games side-by-side.. 4K up-scaled will still look really impressive and in all honestly HDR is a far more breathtaking difference.

These articles annoy me though, to the untrained eye you probably wont notice the difference but if you went and actually looked for it you would. Noway a £350 console can pump out the same graphical fidelity as a £1500 desktop. I am not bashing Sony though, because I would much rather invest in a PS4 pro, but the differences are definitely there.

freshslicepizza1388d ago

So when the PS5 comes out will he change him mind once again like he did with throttling the Pro in the first place?

TruM06071388d ago

But I remember a time not too long ago that the difference between 1080p and 900p was ASTRONOMICAL. Ohhh how the times change.

yeahokwhatever1388d ago


checkerboard rendering != upscaling. Comparing upscaled 900p to checkerboard makes 0 sense.

GamingIVfun1388d ago

I agree, I have a very good PC and PS4 Pro holds up really well against it.

starchild1388d ago

I've compared a few games side by side too and I can see a difference.

That said, checkerboarding does produce pretty nice results in most cases.

Techniques that are effective generally spread among developers and become ubiquitous. I expect we'll be seeing plenty of checkerboard rendering on all three platforms (PC, PS4 and XB1). Those resources are better spent on other aspects of the graphics and to achieve smoother, more consistent framerates.

Army_of_Darkness1387d ago

The pc basement race will try really hard and act like professional pixel counters to attempt to spot the difference, the the xbots will just talk shit about pro not doing native 4k unlike the Scorpio that they all have yet to see in action lol!
As for me, I have a pro and a LG HDR 55"4KTV that seems to make every game look amazing as is so I'm sure anything above 1080p will be an eyegasm for me :D good times!

game4funz1387d ago

Same has been said about upscaled 1080p and so on and so forth.
The fact is the image will be clearer with native. Less artifacts.

To claim you do not see a difference is one thing...this can vary from person to person but to say there is no difference is factually false.

I suppose its easier or feels better to perhaps claim there is no difference. To each his own.

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fr0sty1388d ago

It will depend on the size of your TV. A 50 inch TV will resolve the difference between 900p and 1080p from about 8 feet away. You can see the added sharpness. The same size TV at 4K, you're going to need some razor sharp vision, well beyond what most adults have, to see from the same distance away from the TV.

freshslicepizza1388d ago

4k allows you to sit closer on larger screens. It's hilarious now seeing Sony on the defensive when it comes to a real midcycle upgrade.

Guyfamily9991388d ago

What some people are forgetting is that resolution improvements on paper compared to real image quality improvements aren't a flat line. On paper, the difference between 900p and 1080p is the same as 1800p and 2160p. However, while I could see the (resolution, not graphics, just resolution) difference between a game like Battlefront (900p on PS4) and infinite warfare (1080p), I find it very hard to discern between the clarity of The Last of Us at 1800p vs 2160p. 1800p doesn't look like some blurry mess. I've got perfect vision and sit close to my TV, I think it's just a matter of diminishing returns.

JackBNimble1388d ago

You can keep talking for another 10 months or so Moldy because talk is all you delusional Scorpio fanatics got.
We'll see what MS really has next holiday season.

rainslacker1388d ago

There's a point of diminishing returns which will play a factor, and with the kind of techniques being used here it won't really matter. Unless one has a super cheap 4K TV, the differences are going to be marginal or practically non-existent. LG, Samsung, Sony, and some Vizio's have great picture quality and upscaling or image processors which make even crappy sources look great.

I'm sure the fan boys will go around acting like they can spot every difference, but I'm pretty sure they won't actually be able to relay what those differences are until Digital foundary points them out. I've noticed most of the people around here who discuss such things tend to be rather vague when discussing comparisons. I also know that the visual difference between 900 vs 1080 is much more pronounced when upscaled than we'll see with the topic of this article.

In the end it won't matter on the fan boy side, because most games on Scorpio aren't going to be native 4K either.

kfk1388d ago Show
Christopher1388d ago

TIL that I have superior vision than most adults.

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mark_parch1388d ago

exactly just like you can't tell the difference between 900p upscaled to 1080p and 1080p native

Wallstreet371388d ago

I know when i finally bought an xbox one S and played battlefield 1 lol i was like wtf is this, the resolution difference was startling to me. Same as 1080p ps4og cod infinite to pro infinite. Ppl saying aint no difference are insane.

Sparta071388d ago

@ mark, you can actually. the difference between 900p to 1080 is more noticeable then what sony is doing with the PRO ( upscaling ).

yeahokwhatever1388d ago

You can easily see the difference. However, the checkerboard rendering technique used on the PS4 Pro is NOT the same as just upscaling. If it was, why do it at all? Derp.

Princess_Pilfer1388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )

"Most people" are wrong. In actual fact I can tell the difference. It's not hard, the upscaling blurs everything slightly. This is most easily noticed with sharp edges. Corners of walls, bullet hole decals, the edges of swords or grass, ect. It also has trouble with particle effects, it likes to pixilate them which may or may not be noticable depending on how long they're on screen.

You are half right though. When you're dealing with the power that the PS4 pro (and most PCs for that matter) have, the power necessary to render in 1800p is usually better used elsewhere, same with 1440p on particularly demanding games. I'll take 1440p or 1080p at max settings/60fps (even with more traditional upscaling) over anything above that at 30fps with settings turned down almost every time.

rainslacker1388d ago

So, because you can tell the difference, it means most people are wrong?

Not saying you're wrong, because what you state is true, but it's one of those things you have to look for, and it's one of those things most people don't spend copious amounts of time dwelling on.

It can make a difference if it's extremely pronounced, and even be distracting, but about the only time people really sit there trying to find differences, is when they watch comparison videos. Most people do not play two copies of the game at the same time, nor do they sit there and say, "that corner is a bit blurier" while playing a game.

The reality of the situation is though, that a higher quality image upscaled to 4K generally still looks better than a lower quality image at native 4K. There is much more to image quality than the resolution, and the higher the resolution goes, the less noticeable the differences become when comparing the differences in pixels on the screen.

Princess_Pilfer1388d ago

If people say "you can't tell the difference" then yeah, they're wrong. I can.

No, I don't actually. I know what native 4k looks like, I know what isn't being rendered at native 4k. I don't need a side by side comparison to be able to see it.

The reality is also that a 1080p or a 1440p image with all the effects maxed out looks better than an 1800p or a 4k image that has effects turned down (and plays at half the framerate,) and that you wouldn't want their checkerboard rendering working on a 1080p or 1440p image because the bluryness it causes would be incredibly pronounced.

uth111388d ago ShowReplies(1)
Guyfamily9991388d ago

I find it very, very difficult to tell the clarity difference between TLoU at 1800p vs at 2160p (and I sit literally like 4 feet from my TV). Obviously it's there, but is it worth rendering 44% more pixels? I'd say that power is better spent elsewhere. In all honesty I'd choose 1440p60 over 2160p30.

Xb1ps41388d ago

Yet it's ssoooo easy to see a difference between xb1 and PS4 games since launch... a lot of you ppl are so one sided that it's a joke at this point..

G20WLY1388d ago

There's a world of difference.

It's not to do with fanboyism, it's just biology; the human eye has finite capabilities.

Xb1ps41388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )


"A world of difference"

My point exactly.... ppl see a world of difference between xb1 and PS4 until (1) it's not a PlayStation with the top graphics and or(2) they can't see the point in a 4K tv cause it's no time a big enough jump...

My goodness "gamers" are so damn finicky they don't know what they want.... just say it all you want is a playstion.. stop acting like you are a gamer at heart..

G20WLY1388d ago

That's not what I meant at all. *sigh*

madmonkey011387d ago

well its a fact that the difference between the xb1 and ps4 will be more noticble to chekerboard rendered 4k or native 4k,

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Christopher1388d ago

***most people know this already,***

No, no, and no. Most people don't "know" this, they just want to believe it. You can tell the difference between native 4k and checkerboard 4k. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you 900p at 1080p or the like.

Seriously, stop saying stupid stuff like this. Please?

XanderZane1388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )

Another opinion piece. Mark Cerny didn't say anything like that. Unless you have 2 4K HDTV with HDR support, you're not going to be able to compare them properly. Are there PC monitors and Graphic Cards that support HDR yet? There will be some differences obviously, but like 1080P upscale, it probably won't be huge. Where the difference will be in the performance of the games.

GamingIVfun1388d ago

The difference is going to be so minor that its not going to make any difference as far as resolution goes, the place the the scorpio is going to have an advantage is with effects and draw distance but even that will be very minor, it's not going to be night and day difference by no means on anything.

joab7771388d ago

No kidding! They look so damn good already on a 4k TV. Hell, I like the simple upscale the TV adds to some games like TW3.

My concern lies less with this and more with getting great software. 2017 looks bright, and hopefully we keep going!

FyBy1387d ago

I cant agree more. Scorpio power can be used in high fidelity vr games.

S2Killinit1387d ago

It's not an opinion when digital foundary already confirmed this.

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DeadSilence1388d ago

Unless you are Digital Foundry and even they admit Ps4 Pro Resolution is amazing.

SpinalRemains1381388d ago

Yes, and to that end, based on customer value; dollars per pixels, checkerboard is the perfect compromise.

We also have to remember that SONY probably pondered all pros and cons of each given scenario and they most likely overwhelmingly voted in favor of this method due its phenomenal visual results at a cost effective hardware plan.

Bigpappy1388d ago

All I am hearing is : don't worry about Scorpio. PS-PRO is just as good.

We shall soon see if they is no difference

Eonjay1388d ago

For all the effort that Microsoft is putting in to get ahead on the power front, I am sure they can produce a more powerful machine. The thing that the Xbox fanbase was downplaying at the start of the gen is now their only hope. And all the thing they were saying was more important (exclusives) no longer matter at all. It is fair to say that the whole lot (both sides) are full of hypocrites. But even so, the vast majority of gamers follow the games.

ILostMyMind1388d ago

How we shall soon see if both will use the same upscaling technique?

Princess_Pilfer1388d ago

No, not unless you're Digital Foundry. Unless you know what actual native 4k looks like. Again, it's not a hard difference to spot. Does it look good? Yes. Is it distinguishable from 4k at normal viewing distances? Yes. It softens everything.

City19791388d ago (Edited 1388d ago )

They also point out reduced quality!
Overwatch is amazing in 4k, but only if you stare at the UI.

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Neonridr1388d ago

Obviously it really depends on what base resolution we are starting at, but it is definitely getting harder and harder to distinguish since you would need to either be sitting very close to your screen or have a very large one to begin with to be able to distinguish individual pixels for it to matter.

If the game is 1800p upscaled to 4K that is one thing.. but if it's like 1200p there's still a sizeable gap there to true 4K.

Sparta071388d ago

@ Neo, agree.
Think the minimum should be 1800p.

Princess_Pilfer1388d ago

Not really. You don't have to "distinguish individual pixels," it shows up most obviously as ( and I keep repeating myself here) as slightly blurred edges. If you can spot the difference between FXAA and SMAA or no AA, you can spot the difference between their upscaling and native 4k. Ask PC gamers and there is a good chance they'll tell you that they can spot the difference.

Neonridr1388d ago

I understand that. But sitting 10+ feet away from a TV it's a little hard to notice blurry edges around pixels when you are looking at the screen.. We aren't talking about the difference between 720p and 1080p here.

1800p to 2160p is going to be damn near impossible to tell for the average gamer.

PC gamers are always different because you only sit a few feet from your screen, so different things are always going to be noticeable.

But an 1800p image, upconverted via checkerboard rendering to 2160p is still going to look amazing, and you'd be hard pressed to see the differences.

Princess_Pilfer1388d ago

I PC game a good 8-10 feet from my TV. (Wireless mouse.) I can still see the difference.

It's not blurry edges around pixels. That's not even a thing, pixels are the little color shifting squares that make up your TV display. It's blurry edges. Like, of things, in the game. Where there would normally be a hard line of color (say, a white wall) to whatever is beyond the wall (say, a park) there is instead a slight fade because the computer has to guess what color the unrendered horizontal lines should be based on what's near by so it renders several more rows of the white and fades into the background.

Thing is, it would actually be *harder* for me to tell the difference between 1800p and native 4k than it is to tell the difference between 1800p with their upscaling and naitive 4k. The fancy upscaling has a particular set of tells (including said blurry edges) that give it away. Regular upscaling doesn't have the same tells so it's less obvious when it's only minor upscaling.

Again, no, I wouldn't. The difference is obvious. It will look good, no argument there, but I am not hard pressed to see the difference.

rainslacker1388d ago

I build graphics tools by trade, and I'm pretty well versed on what to look for. I can notice a difference and state what technique is being used nine times out of ten. Even with that, the differences between a 4K native image, and one using checkerboarding or straight upscaling can be pretty miniscule compared to 720/900 vs 1080. A lot of this has to do with the way the image is rendered. If the image is rendered using more quality on textures, effects, lighting, etc, then upscaled, the actual differences can be next to nothing, and often times even look better to the end user than one that renders lower quality on aforementioned rendering aspects at 4K.

Our company performed some pretty extensive testing on this, sans the checkerboarding techniques, and there are other studies out there which did the same thing, mostly funded by companies that deal with graphics or gaming, and without fail, the end result is the upscaled higher quality render beats out the native 4K render at lower quality.

I think given the power needed to achieve native 4K at what is considered standard levels of graphics for AAA nowadays, Sony found a good compromise. It has it's drawbacks, as the videophile is going to sit there and say that it's not as good, but the average consumer isn't going to notice, or maybe even care, when they start factoring in the price of the system itself.

With the Scorpio, the devs would likely be better off using that extra power for even higher quality renders, and using upscale techniques to give a better image for the time being. At 6TF, the native 4K image isn't going to look as good as the upscaled one to the layman, and if the Scorpio is sitting on the shelf at a higher price, then it's going to be like the consumer when they're looking at a Samsung or Sony TV. Sony may have a slight edge, but Samsungs are significantly cheaper. Except in this case, the PS4P version may actually look better overall, thus making it much more attractive.

I think devs for Scorpio will likely do the choice scenario though for native 4K or higher quality/better performance upscaled, as it seems like a suitable compromise so people can choose what's important to them. I personally prefer quality over frame rate for instance, beause I can't tell a big difference between 30 vs 60. So I tend to go with better image quality.

Aenea1388d ago

But don't forget that checkerboard rendering isn't actually upscaling. I know many people disagree but it is fundamentally different. It also means that with this it's less noticeable than with actual upscaling...

theXtReMe11388d ago

I agree with everyone else here. Even the games, like Hitman, that are running at 1440p and upscaled, look incredible. Youd be hard pressed to tell the difference between them and native 4K. Especially at TV viewing distance. Ive been extremely impressed by everything Ive seen running on Pro. Even the native 1080p games that have been given graphics upgrades, like Paragon, look great.

At the Pros price point, youd be hard pressed to build a PC to do the same. We are getting an early glimpse at the future of gaming, as will Scorpios purchasers next fall. We are very lucky to be able to experience this kind of clarity now, especially with HDR, instead of waiting for the next generation. Which we now know, we are going to be spoiled by.

As I said in another article, those on the fence shouldnt be... as, the Pro is amazing, with or without a 4K TV. Especially now, that every game is seeing the benefits of the more powerful hardware... patch or not.

kevnb1388d ago

1440p is already a really high resolution, but unfortunately most tvs dont support it. This is why we need some good up scaling.

ONESHOTV21388d ago

"At the Pros price point, you'd be hard pressed to build a PC to do the same"

and let's not forget a PS4 can not do half the things a PC can so a higher price is justified becuase of more features or more use.

Princess_Pilfer1388d ago

No I wouldn't. The games look good, but the difference is plain. Soft edges are the most obvious indicator.

No, you wouldn't. The Upscaling can be done by the game on PC (ubisoft has done it a couple times) so you could get a relatively weak PC and get the same effect, with the same upscaling. This should do the trick for 415 USD. didn't even have to go find a sale.

Hroach6161388d ago

Well said all! I have a large 4k tv and everything pspro enabled looks amazing. Regardless of the settings you choose.
I'm just surprised the comments are so civil for the moment

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