PS4 and Xbox One: 4K

While walking around the floor of E3 and Comic-Con, several games had demonstrations using 4K TVs.  Participants were able to witness the clarity and beauty that comes from utilizing the cutting-edge technology. Colors popped. Details were crisp.  Yet, these games were still being played at 1080P, despite the capabilities of the PS4 and the Xbox One being able to stream video and photos at 4K.


What is 4K?

4K is the latest step in high definition.  With a resolution of 3840×2160, it is four times the resolution of current 1080P television sets.  While this has been a standard for professional digital filmmaking for years, this will be the first time that customers will be able to experience 4K in their own homes.  However, it does not come cheap.  4K television sets are an expensive addition to the living room with the 55’’ Sony flat screens starting at $4,999.99.

While the current prices of 4K TVs seems pretty hefty, keep in mind that when HD TVs first came out in 1998, the least expensive brand was at $8,000, which figuring for inflation is actually over $11,000 by 2013 rates.  It took a while to catch on due to lack of supporting devices.  The first devices that could play HD movies didn’t hit stores until mid 2006.  4K though looks like a different story.


What does this mean for Microsoft and Sony?

The Xbox One and the PS4 are “future proofed” with the ability to support 4K.  This means that they can stream 4K video, play 4K Blu-rays, and display photos in their full resolution.  However, 4K gameplay will not be supported at launch.

Both companies have been vague.  Michael Denny, Sony’s Senior VP Worldwide Studios Europe, told, “[4K gaming] is something [it] will look at in future.” Ysuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, was also vague with saying that, “There’s no hardware restriction” for 4K gaming.

Both consoles have the future in mind with 4K.  Whether or not it will affect gaming, only time will tell.

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