It’s here, the PlayStation 4 has been shipped and is on the shelves waiting to be bought. Well, maybe not quite on the shelves considering they have been flying off them as fasat as the retailers buy enough stock. The PS4 is a popular console and has a lot of hype to back it up. However now that it is out we get to have a real look at the console instead of the rampant speculation. So with all of that, what does the PS4 really bring home?
First off, it should be said that the PS4 is being marketed as a video game console first and foremost. Sony has openly stated that the newest Playstation will be a premier gaming rig. While this might not sound like a big deal, remember that in the past the PlayStation line has always been marketed as an “all in one” system. By making it known that the console is most definitely a “gamer” system, we can assume that Sony is ready to pursue more hardcore gamer options. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that the versatility that Sony has offered in the past is a distant memory. I fully expect Blu-Ray, Netflix, and all of the other standard options that we have come to rely on to ship with the PS4.
Which brings us to the features. The PS4 has a lot of stuff packed into it right out of the box. As previously stated, Netflix and Blu-Ray will the available. Also accessible will be Amazon Instant Video and Hulu, as well as many more video streaming applications. This indicates to me a much more online focus to for the PS4 than in previous consoles.Sure they have said that the online component will be a big focus this console generation, that doesn’t mean they were going to launch with solid online right out the gate.
That is exactly what PlayStation Plus is trying to do. For a long time now Xbox Live has overshadowed The PlayStation variant as a superior online service. While it did in fact cost money to subscribe, Xbox players have enjoyed better service, response, and general performance over PS players. Now, however, PlayStation seems to be taking a page out of Microsoft’s book and is switching to the subscriber model for their online service. While this does mean that PlayStation players will no longer enjoy free online play, the subscriber payments will most likely go to the upkeep of the servers and greasing the proverbial wheels of PlayStation Plus. This increased performance will hopefully go a long way to putting PlayStation Plus on even ground with Xbox Live.
However, the online isn’t everything. The hardware itself has been improved greatly. The PlayStation 4 contains an 8 core structure that utilizes x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPUs. Coupled with the AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next Engine GPU, the PS4 will have tremendous power over it’s venerable predecessor. In addition, The PS4 boasts 8 GBs of RAM, along with a headset right out of the box. Sure the headset is a little lackluster, but it will serve it’s purpose of enhancing the game for the players that do not already own a headset. While all of this hardware is nice, probably the greatest innovation here is with the controller specifically.
The PlayStation 4 controller has a lot of new features over the Dualshock 3. For starters, Sony has jumped onto the touchpad bandwagon and have installed a touchpad at the top of the device. A “light bar” will be visible from the back as well, which is the new way to tell which controller is what player. Sony hopes that other information will be conveyed through the controller, things like remaining life of a player. Not the battery, the actual on screen player, which will be pretty cool if actually utilized. Another interesting feature is that the controller will have a built in share button. This feature can be used to turn on video streaming or upload videos at the press of a button. For the more community minded folks out there that want to put out content as fast as possible; this will be a major time saver. The Dualshock 4 also has a built in jack for speakers and headsets, especially headsets. This will alleviate a number of problems that wired headset players have had to deal with in the past.
Perhaps the most striking feature, however, the the overhauled design. Aside from the Start and Select buttons, which have been spaced much farther to accommodate for the touchpad, the buttons are still in the same place. The general shape of the device is the same, but the details are wildly different. The Dualshock 4 is a bit wider than the Dualshock 3, and the thumbsticks have an inward depressed, almost concave, head. The handholds still taper out, but the backs of them enlarge ever so slightly. This gives the controller a much weightier feel to it, which can be taken good or bad, depending on the player.
Beyond the controller and the hardware however, is the games. A gaming console is nothing without the software support to use all that power. The PS4’s initial lineup is very strong. With big triple A titles like like Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Killzone Shadow Fall, and Need for Speed: Rivals. That’s just at launch. Later other big and hyped titles will come to the PlayStation 4 like inFamous: Second Son, Thief, and Wolfenstein: The New Order. Obviously, I’m pumped to try out these games.
The next generation of gaming has already impressed me. The PlayStation 4 is a marvel of technology and a great console with plenty of solid features. All wrapped up nicely with a $399 price tag. Which, incidentally, is a whole $100 cheaper than the Xbox alternative. With the holidays coming up, it could just be time for that long awaited console upgrade.