Games would still run on the three-year old PS4 console, but if users wanted increased functionality like 4K output or other graphical improvements, they could opt to upgrade to the Pro.
Switching to the PS4 Pro at 4K reveals similar performance issues, unless you go into the system-level menus and switch your console’s output to 1080p rather than 4K.
We should stress that these a system-level settings. You’re not able to change resolution within the game at all, suggesting that this isn't a problem the developers anticipated.
That such large performance differences have emerged between the new pieces of hardware this early on in the PS4 Pro’s life is not reassuring, and speaks to the inherent difficulty of releasing a game on two pieces of hardware.
Two pieces of hardware means two rounds of QA testing if developers want to ensure that games run acceptably on both.
If a big-budget game like The Last Guardian can’t get that right (although granted the game has the difficulty of already having been ported from PS3 to 4), then that doesn’t bode well for smaller developers with more limited QA budgets.
According to Sony, this continued to be the case despite the announcement of the PS4 Pro, since the original hardware’s life-cycle would not be impacted and would continue to see the same games released.
But if the kinds of performance issues seen in The Last Guardian are present in other games going forward, then the PS4 Pro could end up being an essential upgrade for all PS4 owners, whether they want to make the jump or not.
In the long run it may even from buying a when that eventually releases, because people will assume it will only be supported for three years like its predecessor, hence reducing its value by as much as a half.
We'll have to wait and see whether either Sony or developer Team Ico are able to resolve these issues with a future patch, but for now few are likely to be happy.
- For a full breakdown of the differences between the two consoles - check out our guide to the PS4 Pro vs PS4.