Sony: PlayStation 4 Only Supports 4K Resolution for Video

Sony PS4 Cannot Render Video Games in 4K

by Anton Shilov
02/21/2013 | 11:57 PM

Even though a lot of enthusiasts expected Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 4 to support rendering of video games in ultra high-definition (UHD) resolutions, the console will only support UHD video playback, whereas video games will be rendered in high-definition resolutions. While the claim is plain and simple, it raises a number of questions.


The PlayStation 4 supports 4K resolution (3840*2160) output, but only for video that was recorded in the format, video games will not play in 4K, according to Shuhei Yoshida, the head of Sony Worldwide Studios, who talked to Joystiq web-site. Even though video games are not going to receive support for ultra-high resolutions from next-generation video game consoles, according to unofficial information, Sony wants them to run in 1920*1080 (full HD) in stereo-3D mode at least 30 frames per second.

Supporting rendering in 4K resolution requires tremendous processing power and memory bandwidth, therefore, given existing technologies, it is nearly impossible to pack the right amount of compute power and memory bandwidth into a system that costs $400 - $500.

Screenshots from Killzone: Shadow Fall

It is interesting to note that after the formal launch presentation of the PlayStation 4, Sony started to publish screenshots from Killzone: Shadow Fall video game – the title supposed to demonstrate all the technology capabilities the PS4 has to offer – made in 4K resolution in the PlayStation blog/Flickr photostream. It is unknown whether the game was actually rendered in 3840*2160, or Sony has just created beautiful images using elements from the game. What is clear, considering that PS4 cannot render in 4K, is that the images from Killzone Shadow Fall were not actually made on the PlayStation 4 final hardware.

Screenshots from Killzone: Shadow Fall

Keeping in mind that Sony has not demonstrated how the PlayStation 4 looks, it is highly likely that Sony does not have the final version of the console just yet. For example, installation of 8GB of GDDR5 memory involves 32 2Gb chips (there are only 1Gb and 2Gb GDDR5 chips on the market), which requires a PCB of the size of two mainstream graphics cards, too large for a game console.