Playstation 4

ps4

The PlayStation 4 is going to be the one to beat for some time to come, in terms of a step up from its still currently impressive predecessor – PS3, PS4 has 32 times more system memory!

It’s a games machine, movie hub, connecting you to your friends and online gamers through the PlayStation Network as well as Social Media to share those gaming moments.

Its also better graphically than the Xbox One – sorry to lay it out there for all you X-Boxer One-ers! But it is. (Glad I got that off of my chest!)

Playstation seemed to sit back and titter themselves stupid; at one anti-customer gaff after another, by X-box. End of the second hand market? Not on Playstation’s watch. So seemingly, PS have won the war of attrition – so what does PS4 offer?

At £350ish, (away from the ridiculous £500 EBAY cash-ins), the PS4 is also appox. £80 cheaper than the Xbox One (Xbox comes with the Kinect). There is a PS camera available separately (around £39) although it doesn’t do as much as the Xbox One Kinect.

On first look the PS4 and Xbox One showcase similar black half-matte/gloss finishes and containing similar-ish internal components.

However, PS4 is slim, sleek and good looking – (275 x 53 x 305 mm). It will fit in a treat next to your SMART TV and PVR Box, either on its side or standing up with its plastic stand (sold seperately). Xbox One on the other hand is big, very bulky and ugly. It looks like a 1970’s vision of a 2013 Betamax.

PS4 have hidden the power supply inside the box, whilst the Xbox One still retains the annoying big power brick of the Xbox 360, which needs to be hidden – or tripped over.

On its front, the PS3 has a Blu-ray disc slot and two powered USB 3.0 ports – these are the only front facing connections which makes it look rather minimalist. These can charge the new touchpad enabled DualShock 4 controllers, even when the system is turned off – a nice feature, not previously on PS3.

Now the geekspeak, PS4 has a custom single-chip processor – eight core x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPU with a 1.84 teraflop GPU based on AMD’s Radeon tech backed by 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a 500GB mechanical hard drive. PS4’s overall performance is currently measured as 10 times faster than the PS3.

The PS3 had 256MB of XDR Main RAM and 256MB of GDDR3 VRAM and managed to last for 7 years and is still going strong, so the PS4 has some serious living up to do.

It also pleasing to see some future padding with 8GB of super-fast GDDR5 memory in the PS4.

For wireless connections, the PS4 uses 802.11 b/g/n for WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 for its wireless DualShock 4 controllers.

You can also remove and upgrade the present 500GB drive with a larger drive, and importantly – not void the system’s warranty, unlike PS3 or Xbox.

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At the back – HDMI, Ethernet, a digital optical audio out and an auxiliary connection for the PlayStation Camera (sold seperately at £45.00).

The system comes with a power cord, an HDMI cable, an earbud/microphone combo (any headset can be used though), one DualShock 4 controller and its charging cable.

Once plugged in, it will want to spend some time updating itself, but again, most PS3 gamers are used to this time out as their console dials home. When you consider that many releases weigh in excess of 35GB, it’s not really a drag to wait. The homescreen itself loads in less than 30 seconds though which is pleasingly fast.

It comes with a Blu-ray player which if it is firmware supported like PS3, its going to be a powerful media tool for years to come. All of the usual Bluray enabled features are present. No support for CD or MP3/WMV playback though – which is strangely lacking!

The Playstation Store remains much the same as PS3. It has the usual online content, in case owning physical discs seems too much hassle. The excellent Playstation plus is still there aswell but online gaming is going to now cost you to access it (about £30 a year) just like Xbox live. But unlike Xbox, PS will still continue to offer free games and stuff through PS Plus – a major sweetner!

There is also an phone app available for remote downloading – the PS4 will auto turn on and download and then turn itself off – nice touch. Xbox One has something similar called Smartglass.

When downloading games, you can begin playing them before they finish actually downloading – another nice touch.

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It comes at a price though – legacy wise. In that your PS3 discs generally won’t work anymore. (Not until they recode them for PS Store retro downloads that is!).

By general, I mean certain PS3 titles you already own, when the disc is put in the PS4 drive will download a few small patches and become a PS4 next gen. This costs though per game. You will need to insert the disc each time after to play this PS4 version.

A WiFi connected PS4 can stream gameplay to a PS VITA, giving the VITA a new breath of life. You can also use it as a control pad and a second gaming screen, WII U controller style!

A new social media feature is sharing gameplay videos and pics with the press of the Share button on the DualShock 4. You can also take a screenshot by holding the Share button, and then PSN message, Facebook or tweet your vids and pics to your mates (this is all you can do with them). Xbox One have something similar but the output is coded to MP4 which you can do anything with (edit it on PC, share it, burn it to CFMD, etc!).

The PlayStation 4’s interface is now called the Dynamic Menu, a streamlined interface serving up games and apps, trophies, friends list, your PSN profile and system settings.

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PS4 on left, PS3 on right.

So all that sounds good, what about the bit that matters? – The games?

Full List Of Launch Titles

Angry Birds Star Wars – Rovio Retail
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Ubisoft
Battlefield 4 – DICE
Blacklight: Retribution- Zombie Studios – PSN / F2P
Call of Duty: Ghosts – Infinity Ward
Contrast – Compulsion Games – PSN / PS+
DC Universe Online – Sony Online Entertainment – PSN / F2P
DiveKick – One True Game Studios- PSN
FIFA 14 – EA Sports
Flower – ThatGameCompany – PSN
Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition – NetherRealm Studios
Just Dance 2014 – Ubisoft
Killzone Shadow Fall – Guerilla Games
Knack – SCE Japan Studio
LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes – TT Games
Madden NFL 25 – EA Sports
NBA 2K14 – Visual Concepts
NBA Live 14 – EA Sports
Need for Speed: Rivals – Ghost, Criterion
PlayRoom – Sony Pack-in
Resogun – Housemarque – PSN / PS+
Skylanders Swap Force – Vicarious Visions
Sound Shapes – Queasy Games – PSN
Super Motherload – XGen Studios – PSN
Trine 2: The Complete Story – Frozenbyte – PSN
Warframe – Digital Extremes – PSN / F2P

So PS4 gaming-wise is a noticable step up from PS3 (and Xbox 360). The early games look sharper (not mind blowing yet!) but good! And everything loads quickly, including the one time installations.

Of course, if you look back at early PS3 and Xbox titles – compared to now, you can’t even believe they are part of the same machine. PS3’s 2008’s Prince Of Persia – Sands Of Time versus 2013’s Last Of Us? – No contest!

The PS4 is running at 1080p full HD and the Xbox one at only 720p. Even though the layman can’t really tell the difference, its a huge concession by Xbox not to offer full HD.

Additionally, where the early PS4 games do show off, is in the size of their gameplay zones, levels, huge amounts of onscreen action or abilities to host multiple players at once (Battlefield 4 can manage 64 multiplayers with just a quick load).

The other software titles out are pretty limited at the moment and the fussiest gamers might not find enough to keep them amused for long – yet.

So you are really buying (early) into a future proofed ideal – which should last at least as long as PS3 has (7 yars and counting) and improve with every new game – if you have the patience.

And thats the only let downs so far, the still high price and lack of decent titles which as of yet don’t push the system into wow mode.

If you are coming from PS3, then I would say hang on a bit longer, as the PS3 is still operating at the top of its game and PS have confirmed it will be supported for another 3 years.

If you are coming in brand new, (or ditching Xbox 360!) and have the patience and cash to spend – go for it! If you still own a PS3, then hang on till a PS4 pricedrop.

For an Xbox verdict, check out my Xbox One review here.

Spaceman