• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

PS4 Pro: Was the lack of a UHD Player Strategic?

ClearData

Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,151
0
375
My apologies if this thread veers too far into crazy theory territory. If mods deem this thread unnecessary, then please lock. I am just peering into the tea leaves a bit.

Anyway, as I have been mulling this over since the really surprising reveal that the $399 PS4 Pro would not be carrying a UHD player and not matching the $299 base Xbox One S as the preeminent 4K console / HD video consumption device, it made me think of Microsoft's decision to sidestep Blu-Ray at a time when that format eclipsed the ill-fated HDDVD format. At the time, if I recall correctly, Microsoft noted that the future emphasis would be on video streaming anyway. And the 360 was a capable 1080p streamer.

Now Sony codeveloped Blu-Ray with a consortium and have had a hand at advancing its storage capacity. But I imagine any royalties they receive are not too much split so many ways. They do, however, fully own PSN. (Which they raised the price of PS Plus for as well) And all profits derived therein. Sony has openly admitted that they see network services as a major growth area. Now if I expected the PS4 Pro to be my media player for a 4K set I am not thinking of buying a 4K Blu-Ray, I'm better off buying that digital copy and streaming in 4K. My purchasing behavior, even slightly, is altered. Netflix (got that 4K shout out by Andrew House), Plex, and a lot of streaming services have made me use disk drives less and less. So I am in that bracket of consumer that uses less and less physical media and with the Pro I have less incentive to buy that UHD disk.

Games are another area that Sony would see further profits from digital sales. Here we are with the Pro and a standard 1 TB hard drive. If you wanted to stop going to Gamestop and go all digital it is a bit easier to do that too.

All in all, I just feel that Sony, a company notorious for front loading its tech with proprietary formats or formats they want to push (Vita Memory cards, Blu-Ray on PS3, etc.), didn't do so this time. And that might be telling. They are considering the demographic for the PS4 Pro carefully and interpreted what they think are the features most appropriate for "premium" customers who are 4K set owners and / or hardcore gamers. They assume you want the most out of that HD or UHD TV (4K, HDR), they assume you have good enough or great internet and care about high grade network capabilities (5Ghz AC Wi-Fi) and they assume you need enough space for a very large collection of content (1 TB HDD), and finally, that purchasers won't care about UHD Blu-Rays. If you did, you'd probably be leaning toward a dedicated player or the One S.

Edit: Here is an interesting cost breakdown for the Xbox One S found by Gaffer family_guy with analysis by IHS Markit. It is just food for though as we have no idea what the cost was to source Pro components at this time and if this was just a production cost proposition to keep the price at $399.

The hard drive in IHS Markit’s previous teardown analysis was 1 TB, which was assessed at $32. The configuration for the new Xbox One S analyzed by IHS Markit included a 2 TB drive, with an estimated cost of $55. In total, Microsoft offers three hard-drive configurations at various prices: in addition to the 2 TB drive in this teardown, there is also a version with a 500 gigabyte (GB) drive selling for $299 and a 1 TB drive version selling for $349. The new console also includes a UHD BD-ROM player, with a bill of materials (BOM) cost of $33.50, versus the previous $18 conventional Blu-Ray drive.

Source
 

Toki767

Member
May 8, 2009
35,857
3
0
I just imagine Sony has a decade of data usage of the PS3 & PS4 combined that suggest that a vast majority of users stream video rather than use the blu-ray player.

If you recall, the PS4 didn't even support 3D blu-ray at launch.

Is it a dumb decision? Probably. But whatever.
 
Jun 5, 2013
3,110
0
0
Texas
Think it was dumb for a Pro product.

Legit reason is probably just to keep the price down. I think they're deathly afraid of being overpriced.
 

8bitghost

Member
Oct 5, 2014
1,000
63
395
Watching physical UHD movies is the least of my priorities. Sony's decision was partly informed by people like me.

My god, Sony apologists will go to any lengths to explain away a dumb decision.

If you can't advance your argument reasonably, can you kindly stop?
 

Wollan

Member
Feb 10, 2005
27,194
1
0
Edinburgh, Scotland
twitter.com
Depends if it would have effected the price. $399 for what you currently get is great. Available this November and puts squeeze on competition. Long before their launches. If UHD would mean $449-499 then they did the right choice.
Personally I would have no problem paying extra though for UHD but I'm likely a minority.
 

Averon

Member
Aug 27, 2008
10,060
0
1,210
It's a weird decision, but if the removal of the UHD drive is what it took to get to $399 then it was the right choice strategically and makes sense.
 

JustenP88

I earned 100 Gamerscore™ for collecting 300 widgets and thereby created Trump's America
Aug 25, 2014
5,768
0
0
The backlash would be worse if they bumped the price by $50 and had a 4k Blu-ray player.

"Who buys blu-rays anymore lol sony."


is someone whose default reaction to a corporations decision is not outrage automatically considered an apologist?

It's just a lot easier to say "butthurt butthurt salt lol"
 

ClearData

Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,151
0
375
My god, Sony apologists will go to any lengths to explain away a dumb decision.

I am not defending anything. I think Sony is being crafty here in what they are trying to do. But I don't think it was smart. For me it wasn't a deal breaker, but I've seen other people who do care about UHD disks decide not to buy it. So the question has to be asked why Sony didn't care enough to lose those sales? Microsoft cared enough and I assume they are privy to the same consumer trend data Sony is.
 

opticalmace

Member
Dec 8, 2008
14,631
0
0
Bay Area
Depends if it would have effected the price. $399 for what you currently get is great. Available this November and puts squeeze on competition. Long before their launches. If UHD would mean $449-499 then they did the right choice.

If it would cost them $50-$100 extra then how could the XB1S be $299? I don't know the actual cost though to include UHD bluray playback though... does anyone?
 

NinjaMouse

Member
Dec 7, 2008
2,039
162
1,060
I think it shows a lack of confidence in the medium, for what it's worth. Sony helped pioneer the format and should have plenty of data on the growth/decline of physical media in general. I doubt it was an oversight, but I will say that it's a pretty boneheaded omission, especially for something they hope to be the 4K machine of choice.
 

Elios83

Member
Jun 30, 2004
15,388
2,732
1,770
They just think that a new physical format is dead on arrival, the world has moved on with streaming (Netflix 4K and such) and they're probably right.
Ironically this was precisely Microsoft's position as well since the 360 days LOL :D
But IMO they're wrong in not adding it to the Pro anyway because the target audience for the Pro likely overlaps with the niche that would buy UHD BR movies and now they're left with a feature unchecked in their feature list compared to the competition. It won't matter a lot, but it's still disappointing.
Only reason I'd agree with not including it is if its inclusion raised the price to 449$. In that case they made the right decision but I doubt that the drive is so expensive otherwise it wouldn't be included in a 299$ console. They just don't have any confidence in the format.
 

Art Vandilay

Member
Oct 28, 2013
3,103
1
495
USA
It really doesn't matter to me and won't until Redbox inevitably begins making UHD discs available for rent. I think I may pick up an OG PS4 and get the Scorpio day one. Redbox won't be making that move before then IMO.
 

120v

Member
Mar 14, 2013
9,445
273
660
most people in 2016 watch movies through streaming and DVD. somewhat fewer watch blu ray

the assumption an insignificant portion will be getting 4k blu rays is a gamble but obviously one sony is willing to take, and i don't think it's an absurd or dumb one at the moment
 

the_batman

Banned
May 29, 2013
7,576
0
0
After the reception toward the PS3 launch...they should be.

Still wish they had included it, though.

but this is supposed to be the PS4.5, not the start of a new generation. it's even called a "Pro" version but it's lacking features.

most people in 2016 watch movies through streaming and DVD. somewhat fewer watch blu ray

good god, people still watch movies on plain old DVDs?
 

DatAhmedz

Member
Feb 6, 2012
268
0
0
Bahrain
I honestly don't remember the last time I bought a Blu-Ray movie/series, so it really doesn't bother me all that much. As for my 4K media needs, my TV already does that with Netflix and YouTube.

Is it a dumb decision? I wouldn't really say dumb, but definitely a missed opportunity, especially after the whole 4K push at the conference.


But real talk though. PS1 physical/digital BC when?
 
Oct 17, 2005
35,484
4
0
44
I think it shows a lack of confidence in the medium, for what it's worth. Sony helped pioneer the format and should have plenty of data on the growth/decline of physical media in general.

This is my opinion as well. I just dont think UHD physical media will be anything more than a niche market...
 

EatinOlives

Member
Oct 23, 2011
16,849
0
0
It's a bad decision to sell this is a 4k capable high-end entertainment machine without any UHD video optical media support. Those two are at odds with each other.
 

etta

my hard graphic balls
Mar 24, 2015
12,712
3
0
I found the idea baffling at first but now I just think it's hilarious.
Like what the fuck are they doing? The should've at least had a $449 SKU with 500GB and a UHD drive or something.
 

Toki767

Member
May 8, 2009
35,857
3
0
It's a bad decision to sell this is a 4k capable high-end entertainment machine without any UHD video optical media support. Those two are at odds with each other.

But they're not necessarily selling it as an entertainment machine. They're selling it as a gaming machine.
 

tiebreaker

Member
Jun 20, 2014
3,271
0
0
I would have prefered $399 with UHD player, but the next best thing is $399 without UHD player. If removing UHD player was to keep the price down, then yeah, I'm all for it.
 

Briarios

Member
May 18, 2009
4,208
0
0
Tampa, FL
I'm not sure it really benefits Sony to put one in ... they'd still have to sell the unit at $399 and take more of a loss. UHD discs just don't have a lot of availability. They probably crunched numbers and figured they'd sell more units at a lower price versus sales lost from not including a UHD drive.

Was a it a mistake? Time will tell, but I doubt it.
 

rtcn63

Member
Aug 14, 2013
16,345
0
0
They're probably saving the hardware for their upcoming standalone player. And like others have stated, the cost of adding it is likely quite significant, and would only force the Pro to come at a higher price point.
 
Oct 17, 2005
35,484
4
0
44
I found the idea baffling at first but now I just think it's hilarious.
Like what the fuck are they doing? The should've at least had a $449 SKU with 500GB and a UHD drive or something.

I imagine they did some market research and just dont see the demand for the feature.
 

The Jackdog

Member
Feb 25, 2014
5,638
0
0
Next steps - disable Netflix/YouTube/browser app.

Pure gaming machine.

they denoted a segment to netflix and have a service called PlayStation vue. they arent moving towards a pure gaming machine.

it was to hit that price point, IMO.
 

LelouchZero

Member
Feb 25, 2016
3,020
2
0
I'm really shocked that it doesn't have a UHD Blu-ray player, Sony have been pushing forwards optical media standards from since the original PlayStation. It must have been to cut costs as the PlayStation 4 Pro is quite affordable.

I think it's a real loss though, they could have taken advantage of the 4K video market by supporting UHD optical media.

I don't think games would benefit from the additional storage space though, as they need to be compatible with the original PlayStation 4 models and the Slim as well.
 

Toki767

Member
May 8, 2009
35,857
3
0
But quick to point out Netflix support? If it's about the games, why mention Netflix or Youtube?

Netflix is one of the most used apps on PS3/PS4.

Blu-ray player is not.

Don't get me wrong, I wish they included it, but I can kind of see why they wouldn't.
 

Nzyme32

Member
May 23, 2013
18,286
1
0
My thoughts are 4k BluRay is not important enough long term. I'm sure they see the proliferation of 4K video streaming / purchasing and probably are more engaged with their own on-demand distribution service
 

MikeE21286

Member
Jun 15, 2007
23,767
0
1,110
I could only answer that question if I knew what the cost would have been to include a UHD bluray drive.

If it would have made the console $449 I think that's smart.

I think they will have problem getting people to upgrade without it though