Following earlier reports that the PlayStation 4’s latest firmware update will enable the console to support external hard drives for the first time, beta testers of version 4.50 are reporting that the firmware also includes a feature that will deliver better performance for games running on the PS4 Pro.
Currently, the PS4 Pro only delivers better performance for a game if the game’s developer has patched it to support the beefier console. According to a tester named Mladen Tapavicki, 4.50’s “Boost Mode” will offer improved performance on games that don’t explicitly support the PS4 Pro:
Experience improved gameplay, including higher frame rates, for some games that were released before the introduction of PS4 Pro (CUH-7000 series). Turn this off if you experience unexpected behaviour during gameplay.
Tapavicki’s caveat seems to indicate that not every game will benefit from this feature and indeed, there have already been reports from players that Boost Mode only seems to improve games that already feature unlocked frame rates. In the video below, you can see Boost Mode in action on the game The Evil Within, showing what it looks like with and without Boost Mode enabled:
As things currently stand, the PS4 Pro, which is twice as powerful as the original model, supports all PS4 games but it’s up to developers to patched their games with Pro support in order to offer improvements such as 4K visuals and higher frame rates. Mark Cerny, the lead system architect of the PS4, explained in an interview with Digital Foundry last year why the Pro was designed this way:
“Moving to a different CPU — even if it’s possible to avoid impact to console cost and form factor — runs the very high risk of many existing titles not working properly,” Cerny said. “The origin of these problems is that code running on the new CPU runs code at very different timing from the old one, and that can expose bugs in the game that were never encountered before.”
Beast Mode appears to be Sony’s way of allowing PS4 users to maximize the potential of their Pro consoles, with the caveat that they may encounter a host of bugs if they choose to do so. Although Sony has yet to officially announce Boost Mode for the PS4 Pro, its inclusion in the 4.50 update (whenever that may come out) is a step in the right direction, as it has the potential to enhance many games that have not or may never receive performance updates from their developers.
I really hope that Bloodborne runs smoothly with Boost Mode, as that is a game that absolutely needs to made playable at 60 fps.