Sony will be launching their much-anticipated next-gen console, the PlayStation 4, in just a couple of days! Since its initial reveal in February, specifications and feature sets have been upgraded and altered, launch game lineups have been shuffled, and some confusion may have inevitably erupted from what the PlayStation 4 actually can and can’t do in its final retail build.
If you’re thinking of buying a PlayStation 4 during this holiday season, or perhaps early next year, whether for yourself or someone else, and you’re not quite sure what to expect with this latest addition to the PlayStation family, allow us to break it down for you in a nice, accessible fashion. Listed below is an easy explanation of features, games and hardware capabilities for the PlayStation 4, made easy to understand for those who may not be nerds like us.
There’s a lot to cover, but chances are, if you have a question about PlayStation 4, we have the answer. If we missed anything, feel free to leave us a comment below, and one of us can hopefully address your query.
With that out of the way, let’s get started, as there is a lot to cover before PlayStation 4 makes its North American debut on November 15th:
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF PLAYSTATION 4?:
PlayStation 4 will cost $399.99 at launch. Individual PlayStation 4 retail games will cost $59.99, just like PlayStation 3 games at retail, with smaller PlayStation Store games to range in price from $9.99-$19.99, depending on their scope, again, as with PlayStation Store games made for PlayStation 3.
WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?:
The PlayStation 4 console itself, measuring 275 mm in width, 53 mm in height and 305 mm in length, will naturally comprise most of its retail box, only available in jet black colouring for launch. It can stand vertically or horizontally, just like the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, though vertical positioning will likely require a stand, sold separately.
Also included will naturally be the Dual Shock 4 wireless game controller, done in familiar PlayStation controller design, with the addition of a touch pad and light bar sensor for unique gameplay input methods that won’t be possible on the competing Wii U or Xbox One. The controller can be plugged into the system for charging via a micro-USB cable, just like PlayStation 3. Also, be advised that the Dual Shock 4 controller will be compatible with PC’s for basic functionality right from the PlayStation 4’s imminent launch, unlike the Xbox One controller, which cannot be used with PC’s until next year.
A 1.5 m power cable and 2 m HDMI cable will also be included for electrical input and TV display respectively. Unlike competing platforms, PlayStation 4 is designed with an internal power supply, so its power cable does not have a ‘brick’ on it.
While the console will automatically adjust back and forth when plugged into various television resolutions, unlike PlayStation 3, it can only support HDMI for audio and video output, but comes packaged with an HDMI cable, as mentioned. 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions are supported for games, with 4K resolution being considered for other content like screenshots and video. 4K will not be supported with PlayStation 4 games at this point however. Audio is set to 5.1 Digital Out. 3D television capability is also supported by PlayStation 4, but no launch software of any variety supports 3D.
For online players, a voice chat headset with mono sound capability will also be included right in the PlayStation 4 box, unlike PlayStation 3. Players will also be able to use certain voice commands via the headset, a feature that was not possible on PlayStation 3. It is confirmed that the PlayStation 4 is fully compatible with the PlayStation Vita headset, though whether or not third-party headsets will be supported is not guaranteed by Sony. BE ADVISED! Bluetooth headsets used with PlayStation 3, including Sony’s official PlayStation 3 Bluetooth headset, are NOT compatible in any way with PlayStation 4!
The PlayStation 4 Camera, necessary for some PlayStation 4 titles like Just Dance 2014, must be purchased separately for $59.99.
THE DISCS PLAYSTATION 4 DOES AND DOES NOT PLAY?:
PlayStation 4 games, like PlayStation 3 games, will come on Blu-Ray discs. PlayStation 4 is NOT compatible with PlayStation 3 game discs however, nor is it compatible with PlayStation 2 or PlayStation game discs. Be advised that Sony is exploring backwards-compatibility options via cloud streaming (think: Digital movie rentals, but instead for legacy PlayStation games), but exact plans to digitally stream legacy PlayStation games to PlayStation 4 have not yet been finalized.
PlayStation 4 supports improved Blu-Ray technology that will allow it to read discs faster than PlayStation 3, and also supports a wider range of Blu-Ray disc sizes. This will allow more flexibility in game discs and other such media content, while also improving performance compared to PlayStation 3.
PlayStation 4 will play both DVD and Blu-Ray movies as well, but unlike PlayStation 3, it can’t do this right out of the box. You will need to hook your PlayStation 4 up to the internet, download the day-one update (yes, PlayStation 4 requires one for various functions too, not just Xbox One!), then perform a one-time activation to be able to freely watch Blu-Ray and DVD movies on PlayStation 4. If you are unable to connect your PlayStation 4 to the internet, or perhaps don’t want to, you will need to contact Sony Computer Entertainment America Consumer Service (at (800) 345-7669), and request an activation disc to be distributed via mail, should you wish to watch movies on Blu-Ray and DVD without the day-one update.
Even then, be advised that the PlayStation 3’s Blu-Ray Remote accessory is NOT compatible with PlayStation 4! You will need to navigate your movies with the Dual Shock 4 game controller, until Sony releases a specialized remote for PlayStation 4.
Be advised as well that PlayStation 4 will NOT play any audio CD’s either, unlike prior PlayStation consoles! PlayStation 4 also does not support the ability to play MP3 music files, though Sony is exploring a means to make this happen in the future. For launch however, you will need to use Sony’s Music Unlimited digital song service if you wish to play music on your PlayStation 4, unlike prior PlayStation consoles. Thankfully, Music Unlimited will allow you to listen to your favourite music, even while playing games on PlayStation 4.
I USE MY PLAYSTATION 3 FOR A VARIETY OF DIGITAL MUSIC, MOVIES AND GAMES. CAN ALL OF THIS BE STORED ON PLAYSTATION 4?:
Yes, it can! The PlayStation 4 comes with a 500GB hard drive at launch, which is the maximum supported size for PlayStation 3 out of the box at this point. PlayStation 4 owners will be able to replace the hard drive (its specifications are 5400 RPM SATA II, for those who speak geek), so long as it complies with the specifications of the included 500GB hard drive, is no thicker than 9.5 mm, and contains more than 160GB of storage capability.
The PlayStation 4 will allow you to retain movie and music downloads you’ve made on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita via Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, and will also share your PlayStation Network account freely with PlayStation 3 and/or PlayStation Vita, including digital funds, trophies and your friends list.
Note that PlayStation 4 does not support external storage. It only accommodates an internal hard drive.
DOES PLAYSTATION 4 SUPPORT APPS LIKE NETFLIX?:
Yes, it does! The PlayStation 4 not only comes with Netflix right at launch, as well as Sony’s own Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited services, but also: Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Crunchyroll, EPIX, Hulu Plus, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center LIVE, Redbox Instant by Verizon, VUDU, and YuppTV. Of course, memberships that you have made on other devices, PlayStation or otherwise, can be carried over to PlayStation 4 within these apps, at no extra charge.
DOES PLAYSTATION 4 SUPPORT PARENTAL CONTROLS?:
Yes, it does! Parents can restrict the use of video games and the internet browser supported by PlayStation 4, as well as create ‘sub accounts’ from their primary PlayStation Network account, if they have children that also wish to make use of PlayStation 4.
The sub accounts can be given customized restrictions, such as locking out chat and messaging, the ability to view and post user-generated screenshots and video from the PlayStation 4’s game-recording PVR, and creating a monthly spending limit for the PlayStation Store. Sub account users will also not be able to link their PlayStation accounts with social networks like Facebook or Twitter, nor will they be able to use their real name or profile picture.
While you can restrict the web browser with parental controls, it’s impossible to limit time use on the PlayStation 4, even with parental controls in place.
More information will be available in the PlayStation 4 user manual regarding parental controls.
WILL I NEED TO PAY AN ADDED FEE TO PLAY PLAYSTATION 4 GAMES ONLINE?:
Unfortunately, PlayStation 4 users will require a PlayStation Plus membership to play games online, contrary to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita games are still playable online for free, even after PlayStation 4 launches, but PlayStation 4 games cannot be played online without PlayStation Plus. Fortunately, PlayStation Plus only costs a combined $4 or so a month for a yearly membership (coming to about $49.99, total), and comes with all sorts of benefits, including exclusive discounts, entirely free digital PlayStation games, and priority beta access, making signing up well worth it for the PlayStation faithful!
Note however that online free-to-play games (i.e. Warframe, DC Universe Online) will not necessitate a PlayStation Plus membership to play! Only paid retail and digital games with online components will require a PlayStation Plus membership to play online on PlayStation 4.
MUST I HAVE MY PLAYSTATION 4 CONNECTED ONLINE TO USE?:
Not at all! PlayStation 4 will NEVER demand an online connection to use! You can play games and watch movies to your heart’s content without connecting your PlayStation 4 to the internet, or having a PlayStation Network account. Obviously, you will need to have both to take advantage of things like streaming and social functionality however.
Online ‘check-ins’ and authentication will also never be necessary. It’s entirely possible to enjoy the PlayStation 4’s game library for the console’s entire life cycle, without ever connecting to the internet!
WILL THE BENEFITS OF PLAYSTATION PLUS ON PLAYSTATION 3 AND PLAYSTATION VITA STILL EXIST ON PLAYSTATION 4?:
Yes, they will! Sony has already promised that indie titles, Contrast and Resogun will be free to download from launch on PlayStation 4 for PlayStation Plus members. Initially, a condensed version of retail offering, DriveClub was promised, before DriveClub was delayed into next year. Sony apparently still plans to offer DriveClub as a PlayStation Plus reward at that time however.
The same benefits are still said to exist for PlayStation Plus going forward from launch, so having a PlayStation Plus membership will still give you the same perks on PlayStation 4 that one would have already enjoyed on PlayStation 3 and/or PlayStation Vita, even if having PlayStation Plus is now necessary to play online on PlayStation 4.
CAN I SHARE MY PLAYSTATION PLUS BENEFITS WITH FAMILY/ROOMMATES THAT WILL ALSO BE USING MY PLAYSTATION 4?:
Yes, you can! To an extent, anyway. Anyone who uses your PlayStation 4, even if they’re not logged into your PlayStation Network account, will be able to access your library of digital games, even from their own PlayStation Network accounts. Their play data will be saved to their own PlayStation Network accounts as well, so that it doesn’t interfere with your own.
Also, as long as just one user on a communal PlayStation 4 maintains a PlayStation Plus membership, all users with even basic PlayStation Network accounts on that console will be able to play online. Certain PlayStation Plus perks will also be accessible with just one PlayStation Plus account between users, though Sony has been a bit vague as to how this may work. Time will tell.
DO I NEED TO PURCHASE A SEPARATE PLAYSTATION PLUS ACCOUNT FOR PLAYSTATION 4?:
Not at all! Only one PlayStation Plus membership is paid for, and will be freely shared between any PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 that you own, so long as they all share your PlayStation Network ID that the membership is tied to. This means that, even after purchasing PlayStation 4, you can still enjoy PlayStation Plus perks provided for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita at the same time!
IF I WANT TO GO TO A FRIEND’S HOUSE, CAN I CARRY OVER MY PLAYSTATION NETWORK ACCOUNT/PLAYSTATION PLUS AND ENJOY THE SAME BENEFITS?:
Yes, you can! You can download your PlayStation Network ID onto any other PlayStation 4, even if it’s not the ‘primary’ PlayStation 4 that you use at home, carrying over your PlayStation Plus benefits and digital game library, even on another PlayStation 4 console. Yes, this means that you can play ANY games you’ve downloaded onto your PlayStation 4 at a friend’s house, as long as you’ve downloaded your PlayStation Network account onto their console!
Be advised that only you can start games on another PlayStation 4 console from your own PlayStation Network account however. You can’t just leave your digital games on a secondary console for a friend to play on their own account. Also, while there is no limit to the amount of PlayStation 4’s you can download your account onto, only your primary PlayStation 4 and just ONE ‘secondary’ PlayStation 4 can support your account/PlayStation Plus membership at any one time.
With that said, it is possible for more than one user to be on your PlayStation Network account at once. Be wary of giving out your PlayStation Network ID carelessly!
WHAT’S THE POINT OF ACTIVATING A ‘PRIMARY’ PLAYSTATION 4 CONSOLE AT MY HOME?:
Activating a ‘primary’ PlayStation 4 for home use is necessary to allow other PlayStation Network users amongst your family/roommates to enjoy the benefits of sharing your respective digital game libraries at no extra cost, as well as playing online with just one member having a PlayStation Plus membership.
Designating a ‘primary’ PlayStation 4 console is also required for pre-ordering digital PlayStation 4 games, which will allow them to download automatically onto your console as soon as they become available, assuming your PlayStation 4 is left in standboy mode. Your ‘primary’ PlayStation 4 is also the only one that can support Remote Play functionality with your PlayStation Vita, allowing you to access your PlayStation 4 menu and its PlayStation Store from long distances, so long as you have an online connection, and you can stream play PlayStation 4 gameplay directly onto your PlayStation Vita!
Be advised as well that you can only ‘deactivate’ a primary PlayStation 4 console from that PlayStation 4 itself, not remotely from another PlayStation 4, PC or mobile device. If you’re planning to sell your entire PlayStation 4 console, DE-ACTIVATE IT FIRST!! That way, you avoid the awkward hassle of having to make a new PlayStation Network account just to get your PlayStation 4 benefits back!
WAIT, WAIT, GO BACK! I CAN PLAY *ANY* PLAYSTATION 4 GAME ON MY PLAYSTATION VITA WITH REMOTE PLAY?!:
Yes! Yes you can! About 99% anyway. Virtually any PlayStation 4 gameplay can be streamed directly to your PlayStation Vita, though Sony warns that streaming works best on the same wireless network that your PlayStation 4 is connected to. It’s not impossible to use Remote Play away from home, particularly since your PlayStation Vita can activate your PlayStation 4 remotely, even across vast distances, though connection quality will likely be less consistent over a wide area.
Also, be advised that 3G-enabled PlayStation Vita’s CANNOT connect to a PlayStation 4 via 3G! You have to use wi-fi for Remote Play, and ideally a wireless internet network you’ve set up at home! Certain PlayStation 4 titles that require peripherals like the PlayStation 4 Camera (i.e. Just Dance 2014) obviously won’t work when streamed to your PlayStation Vita either, hence the 1% of games that Remote Play can’t support on principle.
The primary purpose of this is to give you the chance to keep playing your PlayStation 4 games, even when someone else needs to use the television. It’s a feature that is almost completely identical to Nintendo’s off-TV play touted by their own Wii U console, though Nintendo’s version is currently more cost-effective for those who haven’t already bought a PlayStation Vita for themselves. With that said, purchases made (i.e. for DLC) and trophies earned when playing on your PlayStation Vita via Remote Play will be naturally applied to the PlayStation 4.
PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita players will be able to play and chat online together as well, should a game support cross-play capability. PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 players can also play online together in theory, but currently, no games on either console support this cross-play functionality, even if this is eventually planned for shared PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4 games like DC Universe Online. One can also view trophies and send/receive messages between PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Trophies earned on PlayStation 3 will also be maintained on an existing PlayStation Network account you’ve activated on PlayStation 4.
WILL PLAYSTATION 4 FORCE ME TO BUY AN ONLINE PASS IF I PURCHASE A USED GAME THAT I WISH TO PLAY ONLINE?:
For first-party games published exclusively for PlayStation 4 by Sony themselves, no. Sony has claimed that they will never support online passes for their own games on PlayStation 4. This means that games like Killzone: Shadow Fall and DriveClub will not force you to buy and download an online pass for an added fee, should you purchase them used or borrow them from a friend, and then wish to play them online.
Third-party PlayStation 4 games also currently don’t support online passes, though Sony has left third-party publishers to their own devices in terms of whether or not to implement them for second-hand purchases and lending. So far however, multiplayer-enabled third-party PlayStation 4 games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Need for Speed Rivals will not support online passes.
DOES PLAYSTATION 4 RESTRICT MY ABILITY TO BUY/RE-SELL USED GAMES, OR LEND GAMES TO FRIENDS?:
Absolutely not! Just like prior PlayStation consoles and handhelds, physical PlayStation 4 game discs can be freely played on ANY PlayStation 4 console, with no blocks or fees. This means that players are completely unrestricted from buying and playing used and/or borrowed games on their PlayStation 4. Lend out and trade in to your heart’s content, players!
I NOTICED THAT PLAYSTATION 3 CAPS YOUR PLAYSTATION NETWORK FRIENDS AT 100. AM I ALLOWED MORE FRIENDS ON PLAYSTATION 4?:
Yes, you are! Sony will now allow you to have a maximum of 2,000 PlayStation Network friends on your PlayStation 4, twenty times more than what was allowed on PlayStation 3! Unlike PlayStation 3, you will now be able to chat with your friends outside of dedicated chat apps and multiplayer servers as well, plus make private chat parties for your online groups of friends, something previously only possible on the competing Xbox 360.
Your PlayStation 3 can still only display 100 friends, but you will now be able to view your combined list of PlayStation Network friends to its full extent on PlayStation 4, as well as mobile devices with the PlayStation App installed. The PlayStation Vita can support the full list of two-thousand friends in most of its more recent and high-profile games, but some PlayStation Vita games will be restricted to the one-hundred friend display of PlayStation 3.
If the one-hundred friend cap is in place, your PlayStation Network friends will be displayed in alphabetical order. Up to ten of the most recent sent and received friend requests can be displayed in place of ten established PlayStation Network friends however. To refresh the list on PlayStation 3 and the 100 friend-capped PlayStation Vita games, you’ll need to sign in and out of PlayStation Network on these devices.
SO, WHICH GAMES ARE GOING TO BE AVAILABLE WITH PLAYSTATION 4 AT LAUNCH?:
The finalized PlayStation 4 launch game lineup is as follows:
– Killzone: Shadow Fall (First-Person Shooter, Sony)
– Knack (3D Platformer, Sony)
– Angry Birds Star Wars (Puzzle-Action, Activision)
– Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Action-Adventure, Ubisoft) *Exclusive Content on PlayStation 4*
– Call of Duty: Ghosts (First-Person Shooter, Activision)
– DC Universe Online (Free-to-Play Massive-Multiplayer Online RPG, Sony)
– FIFA 14 (Sports Simulation, EA)
– Battlefield 4 (First-Person Tactical Shooter, EA)
– Just Dance 2014 (Dance/Party, Ubisoft) *REQUIRES PLAYSTATION 4 CAMERA AND PLAYSTATION MOVE MOTION CONTROLLER!*
– Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition (Fighting, Warner Bros.)
– LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (3D Platformer, Warner Bros.)
– Madden NFL 25 (Sports Simulation, EA)
– NBA 2K14 (Sports Simulation, 2K)
– Need For Speed Rivals (Racing Simulation, EA)
– Skylanders SWAP Force (Collector Action, Activision)
– Flower (Puzzle-Action, Sony)
– Resogun (Shoot ‘Em Up, Sony) *Free with PlayStation Plus!*
– Sound Shapes (2D Platformer, Sony)
– Blacklight: Retribution (Free-To-Play First-Person Shooter, Zombie Studios)
– Contrast (Puzzle-Platformer, Compulsion Games) *Free with PlayStation Plus!*
– Super Motherload (Puzzle-RPG, XGen Studios)
– Trine 2: The Complete Story (Puzzle-Platformer, Frozenbyte)
– Warframe (Free-To-Play Co-op Third-Person Shooter, Digital Extremes)
In case you weren’t aware, Ubisoft’s ambitious open-world cyberpunk game, Watch Dogs has been delayed to Spring 2014, after initially being promised as a launch title for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will still maintain exclusive content in its PlayStation editions however.
Likewise, Sony’s own anticipated social racing sim, DriveClub has been delayed to early next year, despite also being initially promised for launch, and initially promised as a free reward for PlayStation Plus members at launch. As mentioned however, it’s been replaced with free downloads of PlayStation Store games, Contrast and Resogun if you have a PlayStation Plus membership at the PlayStation 4’s launch.
Regardless, most digital variations of retail games on the PlayStation Store should be available day-and-date with their physical Blu-Ray counterparts at retail stores, according to Sony. They can even be downloaded automatically without direct player input, if the transaction has been pre-ordered and authorized in advance, and if the PlayStation 4 has been left in standby mode.
IF I’VE PURCHASED A GAME FOR PLAYSTATION 3, IS THERE AN EASY WAY FOR ME TO ‘UPGRADE’ IT TO ITS PLAYSTATION 4 EDITION?:
In some cases, yes. For a limited time, you can spend a $10 fee to download a full digital PlayStation 4 version of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 or Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, if you’ve already bought or downloaded their PlayStation 3 editions. So far, this promotion doesn’t seem to apply to any other titles releasing on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, though this may change.
Note as well that PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita editions of Flower, flOw, Sound Shapes and Escape Plan can be transferred to PlayStation 4, but not at launch.
SO, WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE ‘SHARE BUTTON’?:
The Share Button is one of the primary new innovations on PlayStation 4. It allows you to record almost any game footage and screenshots, and share it via both social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter (Twitter only supports pictures however), as well as streaming sites like Twitch and UStream, which even allow streaming of live gameplay directly from your console. Unfortunately, direct uploading to YouTube won’t be supported at launch. The PlayStation 4 will constantly record your last fifteen minutes of gameplay, in case something awesome happens that you don’t expect, but you don’t have to share anything if you never press the Share Button.
You are able to trim and edit footage before uploading video to Facebook, and, while you can’t add voiceovers, players can speak in real-time via a headset while recording. While external HDMI recording devices are planned to be supported for recording and archiving of footage eventually, they will not be supported at launch.
Again, parental controls can limit childrens’ ability to record and share footage, if the parents are not comfortable with them accessing this feature of the PlayStation 4.
Lastly, you will NOT require a PlayStation Plus membership at any point to record, share and archive footage on PlayStation 4, so long as it’s not footage of online play! You will also not require a PlayStation Plus membership to take control of a friend’s controller and help them with a difficult gameplay section long-distance (this seems to be limited to single-player gameplay at present however), though this feature, while advertised with the console’s unveiling, will not be available at the PlayStation 4’s launch.
CAN I SUSPEND ONE GAME AND MOVE TO ANOTHER WITHOUT EXITING THE ORIGINAL GAME ON PLAYSTATION 4?:
In theory, yes, but this feature will not be available at the PlayStation 4’s launch. Stay tuned for updates from Sony.
EXACTLY HOW MUCH MORE POWERFUL IS PLAYSTATION 4 COMPARED TO PLAYSTATION 3?:
Significantly! PlayStation 4 possesses ten times the processing power as PlayStation 3, while also possessing a more accessible and friendly console architecture that makes PlayStation 4 far easier to develop games for than PlayStation 3! More realistic lighting, particle physics and environmental spanning will be possible on PlayStation 4 over PlayStation 3, allowing unprecedented graphical detail in environments, character models and dynamic effects on a console. The next-gen hardware will also allow a better mix of 60 frames-per-second visuals, 1080p high-definition resolution, and larger player counts, without affecting gameplay stability the way it would on PlayStation 3.
The console contains 8 GB of unified system memory, which means that bandwidth recognition and graphical performance are more stable during gameplay in general on PlayStation 4 compared to PlayStation 3. For non-geeks, this means that everything looks very pretty without loading hiccups, and isn’t likely to jitter or cause online connection issues at the rate that PlayStation 3 would.
It basically all adds up to a prettier, friendlier and more stable console for gamers and developers alike, and something far more powerful, realistic and stable than the PlayStation 3 hardware could ever dream of being!
OBJECTIVELY, IS THE PLAYSTATION 4 MORE POWERFUL THAN THE COMPETING XBOX ONE?:
Yes, it is, but not by a lot. Early previews have reported better and more genuine 1080p resolution in PlayStation 4 games, without the need to upscale like several of their Xbox One counterparts (where most of the early games were running at 720p, upscaled to simply resemble 1080p), though PlayStation 4 was less able to hold a steady animation framerate at times, likely due to Xbox One having the advantage of three OS’s working in tandem.
The difference won’t be noticeable to most, but currently, at launch, the PlayStation 4 does have a small power advantage over the Xbox One, even if it could be argued that the Xbox One compensates by having more features and more ambitious long-term functionality at present.
PLAYSTATION 3 WAS A PAIN SOMETIMES WITH ALL OF ITS MANDATORY FIRMWARE INSTALLATIONS. AM I STILL FORCED TO INSTALL GAMES ON PLAYSTATION 4?:
Yes, you are, unfortunately. Upon first inserting a PlayStation 4 game disc, you will need to install data to the console’s hard drive, just like PlayStation 3. Fortunately, not only do these installations claim to be faster on PlayStation 4, but they will also sometimes allow players to start playing, even before data has finished installing. This should make updating and firmware much less irritating and intrusive on PlayStation 4 compared to PlayStation 3.
IS PLAYSTATION 4 NOISY COMPARED TO PLAYSTATION 3?:
PlayStation 4 is said to be noticeably quieter than PlayStation 3, thanks to an automated fan system that is optimized for living room use. It’s still important to use PlayStation 4 in an evenly-heated area with good air circulation, to avoid overheating and processor strain, but, at the very least, the console will hum a little smoother in contrast to PlayStation 3, if you’re not pushing it excessively hard.
USING STANDBY MODE, CAN I CHARGE CONTROLLERS AND DOWNLOAD MEDIA WHILE SAVING ENERGY?:
Yes, you can! Unlike PlayStation 3, you can put PlayStation 4 into a power-saving ‘standby mode’ that will still allow you to charge controllers and download games, without having to leave the console all the way on like you would with PlayStation 3. Be advised however that you still need a PlayStation Plus membership for PlayStation 4 to automatically download patches in standby mode, even if it’s not necessary to have the console download a patch automatically while playing a game. Bear in mind as well that online functionality, along with potential other features in games, may be temporarily disabled if the latest patch has not finished downloading.
IF I DON’T LIKE MY PLAYSTATION NETWORK ID, CAN I CHANGE IT WHEN ACTIVATING IT ON MY PLAYSTATION 4?:
Unfortunately, no. You’re stuck with the name you have, even when activating your PlayStation Network account on your PlayStation 4. The only way to get a new PlayStation Network name is to make a new account. Fortunately, barring parental controls, PlayStation 4 does give players the option of using their real names.
Also, if you do plan to use parental controls, note that sub-accounts cannot be upgraded to ordinary PlayStation Network ‘master accounts’ if you decide to lift the parental controls, particularly when the child turns eighteen. You’ll need to make a new PlayStation Network account for them in that case.
WILL I HAVE MORE CONTROL OVER NOTIFICATIONS AND VISUAL CUSTOMIZATION ON PLAYSTATION 4 COMPARED TO PLAYSTATION 3?:
Mostly, yes. PlayStation 4 is said to offer more ways to control notifications for PlayStation Network friends and invites, trophy prompts, download status and more. Unfortunately, the new PlayStation Dynamic Menu does not support dynamic themes like on PlayStation 3 though, a bit ironic, considering the new name for the main console menu. Media servers will also not be supported at launch with PlayStation 4, unlike PlayStation 3. Sony is currently working on a way to support media hubs with PlayStation 4, so stay tuned for info to come in the future.
IS THE PLAYSTATION 4 REGION-LOCKED WITH ITS GAMES?:
No. You can play any PlayStation 4 game disc on any PlayStation 4 console from any region, whether North American, European, Japanese, or anywhere else. This should make importers quite happy!
HOW MANY USERS CAN BE LOGGED ON TO A PLAYSTATION 4 SIMULTANEOUSLY?:
The PlayStation 4 allows up to four simultaneous users to log in at once, in line with the console supporting four controllers at any one time. Multiple users can’t make use of automatic trophy sync or push downloads however. These must be enabled individually.
CAN I BROWSE THE INTERNET ON PLAYSTATION 4?:
Yes you can, right from launch! The web browser has undergone tweaks and improvements that also make it more accessible, stable and speedy than the web browser on the PlayStation 3 to boot!
REGARDING THE CONTROLLER, IS THE BATTERY LIFE BETTER OR WORSE THAN THE PLAYSTATION 3’S DUAL SHOCK 3 CONTROLLER?:
The PlayStation 4’s controller has around identical battery life to the PlayStation 3 controller. You should be able to play for around 15-20 hours, depending on age and use, before the controller needs to be plugged into the console and recharged.
The Dual Shock 4 controller is said to take around two hours to charge, slightly more time than it takes to charge a Dual Shock 3 controller on the PlayStation 3, at least in our experience. Remember that you can charge the controller even in standby mode however, if you want to save energy!
IS THE PLAYSTATION 4 CONTROLLER EASY TO SYNC TO ANY PLAYSTATION 4 CONSOLE?:
Yes, it is! Just plug it in with the micro-USB cable used normally to charge the controller, and presto! It syncs automatically, just like on PlayStation 3!
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE LIGHT BAR ON THE CONTROLLER?:
The light bar changes colours according to gameplay status and narrative elements. It’s an innovation similar to the built-in rumble pak that is meant to increase immersion in gameplay in a way that players have never seen before. The light bar is also used to track the location of the controller with the PlayStation 4 Camera, similar to PlayStation Move’s own LED orb.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN THE PLAYSTATION 4 CONTROLLER COMPARED TO THE PLAYSTATION 3 CONTROLLER?:
Yes, plenty! The touch pad can be used for flicking, drag-and-drop, multi-touch input, and more, and can even be clicked as its own button! The controller also contains an integrated speaker, similar to the Wii Remote, which allows specialized audio playback to come out of the controller itself. The SIXAXIS motion sensors originally introduced in the PlayStation 3 controller have also been upgraded, making them much more precise and accurate, to the point where players can even move the controller to highlight and input text!
Other minor improvements in the PlayStation 4 controller compared to the PlayStation 3 controller include more potent rumble functionality, less latency between controller input and game response, and multiple colours right at launch– Magma Red and Wave Blue variations of the PlayStation 4 controller will be available even before the console properly makes it to retail!
IF PLAYSTATION 3 HEADSETS DON’T WORK ON PLAYSTATION 4, ARE ANY OTHER PLAYSTATION 3 DEVICES COMPATIBLE?:
Some, yes. The PlayStation Move and Navigation Controller motion control peripherals can be used with compatible PlayStation 4 games. The console also supports USB and Bluetooth keyboards, USB headsets that can be plugged into the Dual Shock 4 controller, and it will eventually support wireless Bluetooth headsets specially made for PlayStation 4 (again, PlayStation 3’s Bluetooth headsets are not compatible with PlayStation 4 at all), though not at launch. At launch, only wired USB headsets will be useable with PlayStation 4.
Likewise, wireless stereo headsets like the PULSE headset, currently useable with PlayStation 3, will eventually be supported by PlayStation 4, but not at launch.
Perhaps predictably, the PlayStation 3’s Dual Shock 3 controllers will not be in any way compatible with PlayStation 4.
IS THE PLAYSTATION 4 CAMERA WORTH IT?:
Possibly, but at launch, it will no doubt be a shell of its potential. The PlayStation 4 Camera is only necessary for Just Dance 2014 among the launch titles, and can be used to recognize both the Dual Shock 4 controller and PlayStation Move when necessary. It will also allow users to log in to their PlayStation Network accounts with facial recognition (similar to the competing Xbox Kinect cameras), and contains four integrated microphones for better sound detection between multiple players.
The camera is also said to include the ability to recognize voice commands, again, much like the competing Xbox Kinect cameras, though a headset is included in the PlayStation 4’s box for the same effect. The camera can use two lenses to separate a player from the playing area, making for better recognition, and measures about 186 mm in width, 27 mm in height, and 27 mm in length.
Built-in PlayStation 4 software called The Playroom also makes use of the PlayStation 4 Camera, including augmented reality technology, as a means to introduce new users to the PlayStation 4’s technological potential. Some of The Playroom can be experienced with just the Dual Shock 4 controller, though certain areas are inaccessible without the PlayStation 4 camera. You can also use the camera to narrate and capture screenshots with your own voice during gameplay, making the peripheral best purchased by those who plan to share and capture a lot of video footage during their PlayStation 4 gameplay sessions.
Again, the PlayStation 4 Camera costs $59.99, and will be available separately from the console.
LASTLY, DOES THE PLAYSTATION APP ALLOW ME TO MANAGE MY PLAYSTATION 4 AND PLAYSTATION NETWORK ACCOUNT WHEREVER I GO VIA A MOBILE DEVICE?:
That’s exactly what it does! Thanks to this new app, you can make game purchases from the PlayStation Store from a mobile device, as well as manage your PlayStation Network friends, send and receive PlayStation Network messages, compare trophies with other people, and more!
The PlayStation App will be available on the App Store and Google Play Store on November 13th in North America, and November 22nd for Europe. It will be free to download, and does not require a PlayStation Plus membership to use.
Certain games may also utilize the PlayStation App to turn your smartphone or tablet into a second-screen for asymmetric gameplay, much like one of Nintendo’s key hooks with the Wii U and its central Wii U Gamepad controller. Implementation of this feature in games is up to the developers however.
There’s a lot of demand for PlayStation 4, so if you’re at all interested, place a pre-order as soon as you can at your preferred retailer! It’s a lot easier to cancel a pre-order that’s no longer viable than it is to scramble trying to find a PlayStation 4 at the last second to put under someone’s Christmas tree!
PlayStation 4 launches in North America this Friday, November 15th, for $399.99. We will be providing plenty of reviews of launch games for the PlayStation 4 here at Eggplante, and will be providing review impressions of the PlayStation 4 hardware itself, after it properly launches.
So, for all things PlayStation 4 and related to the PlayStation brand in general, keep coming back to Eggplante!