PS4 Pro is set to be released this week. The new console comprises significantly more power than the standard PS4 and is aimed at 4K gaming. When it comes to PSVR, which is limited by its 1080p screen, the biggest gains we have witnessed so far is the loading speed.
Right now you’ll probably struggle to notice the difference between a PSVR game played on PS4 Pro and the same game played on PS4. Our guess is that will change from now on as the PlayStation VR games will see big visual improvements over time as developers begin to target the PS4 Pro and unlock the capabilities of its hardware. In the meantime, there’s one certain improvement you’re likely to detect when playing PlayStation VR on the PS4 Pro, which is the loading speed.
In the initial tests conducted, loading times improved significantly for PSVR games played on the PS4 Pro compared to the PS4. In Robinson: The Journey, a 24% increase in loading speed was measured when launching a new campaign.
That’s a plus for all the users made possible likely due to faster memory and read speeds on the PS4 Pro, and one that will be seen across the board for anything played on the Pro (VR or not), but PSVR players are likely to get an even greater benefit out of it, credited to reasons mentioned below.
Faster memory on PS4 Pro doesn’t just mean reduce times between loading screens, it also means faster texture loading. Several games use a level-of-detail system that loads low-resolution textures for distant objects; as you are drawn near, higher resolution textures are loaded on the fly, providing you a sharper view. If the system fails to load these fast enough, a ‘texture pop’ appears where the ugly low-res texture suddenly comes up into full detail. It’s a rather ugly and distracting affair, and it happens to different degrees depending upon each particular game and in respect to other aspects of your system.
In VR, when the gameplay is slower and the player has the choice to go up close to objects, those high-res textures are even more important. In a traditional FPS you’re most likely running down a hallway firing guns at 50 enemies; it really makes not much difference if a detail on the wall doesn’t load quickly as you zip by, but in VR, you’re often moving comparatively slower and you might actually want to halt for a moment and gaze at the world surrounding you. Texture pops are a distracting reminder that you’re not actually present in the virtual world that’s you’ve been thrown into.
Fortunately, PS4 Pro’s increased loading speeds not only helps whisks us from one virtual scene to the other, but also makes things a bit more immersive by cutting down the number of texture pops and loading high-res textures even faster when we stop to smell the roses.
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