PS4 Pro's Boost mode is good - but it should have been there from the start

The PS4 Pro is about to get a big boost - literally. Participants in Sony's 4.5 firmware beta have discovered that Pro owners will soon be able to turn on a "Boost" mode, enabling them to run all PS4 games with the benefit of the Pro's extra horsepower.

That may not sound like much, but it's actually quite different from the current setup, where every game needs a patch from the developer in order to take advantage of the PS4 Pro's higher-spec hardware. This Boost mode means even games without a patch (and therefore, theoretically every PS4 game) could run at smoother, more stable framerates, with shorter load times and less pop-in.

In short, Sony has finally started testing the feature that should've been an integral part of the PS4 Pro brand from the very beginning.

When the PS4 Pro was unveiled, it was a jumbled mess of messaging. It'll run games at 4K resolution!* It will make framerates smoother!** It supports HDR!***

* Some games. Sometimes. Maybe. ** If the developer chooses to. *** So will regular PS4 consoles, rendering a lot of this moot.

Does PS4 Pro need a 4K TV to hook up to? No, but you should. Will any 4K TV work? Yes, but you want one with HDR. Will it make my games run better? Some of them. There were just too many conditionals for the PS4 Pro to be effectively communicated to the layperson. Yes, you and I know the difference between UHD and 1080p, or what "progressive scan" means, but the average person walking into Best Buy wants to know one thing: will it work, yes or no?

Boost mode is the blanket "yes" that customers needed to hear. Because a whole lot of "maybe," "if," and "but" certainly hasn't helped.

Sony claimed during an earnings briefing held earlier this month that PS4 Pro was "running as we expected, as we assumed." But the company neglected to give specific numbers, saying only that it was performing as good or better than the PS4 Slim (which it also didn't give specifics about). If there's good news to be heard about PS4 Pro sales, Sony isn't sharing.

Initial reaction from those who did purchase a PS4 Pro hasn't been particularly positive either. Here's a Reddit page that began with someone wondering why the 4K-compatible console wasn't recognizing his 4K TV, and devolved into dozens of strangers sharing their own woes or home remedies.

Even here on GamesRadar, we held a poll straight-up asking if you would buy a PS4 Pro, and 61% of responders said no or weren't sure. Things haven't been bad for Sony's mid-cycle refresh, but they could've been better. And call it pure speculation, but I have the hankering that if Sony had come out with a console and said "The PS4 Pro will make every PS4 game run smoother, no ifs ands or buts about it," we'd all be singing a different tune about the PS4 Pro.

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Sam Prell

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.