After Digital Foundry confirmed that RDR2 plays in native 4K on the Xbox One X and that PS4 Pro is using the upscaled resolution, known as the "checkerboard rendering", some fans are feeling let down and misled by Sony's RDR2 commercial.
Xbox One X was touted as the world's most powerful console before it was officially released, and Microsoft managed to live up to their promo campaign. Namely, Red Dead Redemption 2, one of the hottest titles at the moment, runs in native 4K resolution on Microsoft's flagship console, as reported by Digital Foundry.
Being inferior to Microsoft in terms of sheer console power, Sony decided to advertise the best of their own lineup - the PS4 Pro - together with Red Dead Redemption 2, so they introduced a bundle where players would be able to buy a PS4 Pro together with RDR2. This would all be well and fine if it weren't for the fact that Sony decided to try their luck at - what we would call - slippery advertising. The commercial advertising the RDR2 PS4 Pro bundle shows a giant 4K logo, implying that the game plays in 4K resolution on the console.
However, just underneath the picture of the package, there's fine print that reads "Game outputs in 2160p". Now, most people would probably think it logical that the game outputs in said resolution, because after all 4K = 3840x2160, right? Wrong. Well, wrong for this case anyway. While the aforementioned pixel count does indeed give the 4K resolution; it's not necessarily always the case because there is such a thing as checkerboarding, a.k.a upscaled 4K. This fake 4K resolution is really 1920x2160 only, which is a far cry from its native size, and it is this resolution that Sony are actually promoting.
This became obvious and very much visible to the average Joe thanks to Digital Foundry's analysis where they showed and proved that the game looks much sharper and clearer on the Xbox One X. The PS4 Pro version of the game is somewhat blurry in comparison, especially when zoomed in, and thus the difference between upscaled and native 4K resolution becomes clearly noticeable. This gives undeniable proof that the 4K resolution advertised by Sony is by no means native.
So if we get technical about it and go by the numbers shown in the ad, we can say that Sony are misleading people by slapping a huge 4K logo right next to the RDR2 PS4 Pro bundle. A case could be made that they're playing the card of not many people knowing the difference between 2160p and 4K, and so even the fine print at the bottom doesn't sound too off-putting to the average player.
However, some people just aren't having it. On the Resetera forum, players are absolutely livid and they feel downright ripped off after seeing the comparison and learning that Sony pulled a sleazy one on them with the "Play in 4K on PS4 Pro" slogan.
On the other hand, there are others who are saying that it's not that big of a deal and that other titles, such as God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn, used the same technique and those games looked spectacular. So they claim that the entire thing is being blown way out of proportion.
We see where both sides are coming from: some people are outraged that it's not native 4K and they feel misled by the ad, and others being utterly indifferent to the whole drama because they're comparing RDR2 to God of War and HZD, both of which, in all fairness, looked breathtaking.
Our take on the entire situation is that this is just marketing 101. It's true that nowhere on the ad did it say that the 4K resolution in question was an upscaled one, but then again, they didn't specify that it's native 4K either. So, legally speaking, Sony should not see any real trouble from this. Well, other than some angry fans, that is.
Still, the question of whether this was a calculated move by Sony in order to increase their sales, or if it's just some fans being nitpicking as ever, very much stands.