Bells and whistles are nice, but we buy gaming consoles primarily because of the games. The PS4's major exclusives are a bit lean right now with titles such as DriveClub, Infamous Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall, The Last of Us Remastered, and LittleBigPlanet 3, but it's hard to ignore what's coming in 2015, which include:
The upcoming indie releases are no slouch either, with standouts like No Man's Sky, Galak-Z: The Dimensional, Rime, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, and The Banner Saga.
Want a quick reminder of what's coming? Check out our video highlighting the top 23 AAA games headed to the PS4 this year!
The PS4 hardware allows game developers to create more complex gameplay that its predecessors could never hope to run. Here are a couple of examples:
The PS4 has a nifty feature called Share Play, which lets your PlayStation Network friends join you in any of your PS4 games from any corner of the globe without them having to own a copy of the game. And get this: your pals don't even have to download the game you're sharing with them.
Share Play lets your friends…
To take advantage of Share Play, you and your friends would each need:
You don't need a PlayStation Plus subscription to let your friend watch your game. However, you'll need the paid service to give your friend control of your game, although your friend doesn't have to be a subscriber. To play together in co-op or multiplayer, you'll both need PS Plus.
A Share Play session lasts for only 60 minutes, but there's no limit as to the number of sessions you can start or join. Because of this, you can play your friends' games without spending a single cent.
The PS4 has more powerful hardware overall than its rival Xbox One or even the Wii U, whose specs are more akin to the previous generation of consoles. The PS4, for instance, has a larger and faster graphics processing unit than the Xbox One (its peak GPU shader throughput hits 1.84 teraflops per second while the Xbox One manages 1.31). Likewise, Sony's console has more advanced RAM (5500MHz GDDR5 versus the Xbox One's 2133MHz DDR3).
These differences result in better visual fidelity in multiplatform games. Here are a couple of examples: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag runs at 1080p on the PS4 and 900p at Xbox One. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition runs at an average frame rate of 53fps on the PS4 and 30fps on the Xbox One.
Admittedly, the difference isn't dramatic but if console eye candy is that important to you, then your choice should be easier.
One of the major features of the PS4 is integrated media streaming, which is a huge deal now with the popularity of gameplay broadcasts. Thus, you won't have to connect a capture card to your console and hook everything to a PC if you want to broadcast your gaming adventures.
To use this feature, simply press the Share button on the DualShock 4 controller. On your first try, you will need to log in your Twitch or Ustream account. Subsequent attempts will just have you pick your preferred streaming service.
It's that easy.
And who knows? Your videos might turn you into the next gameplay broadcast celebrity.
The PS4 is also a gameplay DVR that lets you upload videos directly to YouTube. It continuously records up to 15 minutes of gameplay at 30fps; if you bring up the Share menu, you can then save the buffered video by pressing the Square button, log in YouTube, and upload it.
You can also start recording gameplay footage by pressing the Share button twice. Avoid double-tapping again though; this will overwrite the video you were recording!
Putting your videos up in YouTube lets you immortalize your exploits to a broader community of fans. They're also great bragging rights.
Through Remote Play, you can play your PS4 games on a PS Vita, PlayStation TV, or certain Xperia devices instead of your television. In essence, it transmits your PS4's video and audio output into the supported device, allowing you to get your console-gaming fix even when you're miles away from your PS4.
So yes, you can close rifts in Thedas or wreak havoc in Los Santos even when you're on the bus, provided that you have a fast and solid internet connection at home and wherever you're currently playing your Remote-Play-capable device.
Virtual reality devices for consumers has been a pipe dream until the Oculus Rift came along. However, the Rift is being developed only for Windows, OS X, and Linux--at least until Project Morpheus, Sony's VR headset for the PS4.
But it's not out yet, some may argue.
Project Morpheus may still be in development and Sony has yet to announce a release date, but it's already looking good at this point. Besides, it's already at least 85 percent done so the wait shouldn't be so long now.
VR may be the next frontier in console gaming. With a PS4, you'll experience it firsthand.
Remember how the PS3 chugged and made you wait when you pressed the PS button while playing a game? That's no longer the case in Sony's current-generation console; the PS4's operating system is far more capable than its predecessor.
This time around, the OS is more convenient to navigate; the loading time for menus are shorter; and switching between apps and games are quicker and smoother. You can even switch between your most recent apps and games by tapping the PS button twice, which is quite handy.
The interface could eventually become cluttered as more games are installed (this would be inevitable with a larger hard drive) but hopefully, an update would address this. Even so, the OS is considerably better this time around, making the PS4 much easier to use.
Remember the Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video? This clip is indicative of Sony's no-nonsense approach for the PS4. It focused on games; allowed you to borrow and lend physical game discs to friends; and didn't require you to be online 24-7.
Granted, Microsoft eventually got rid of the Xbox One's restrictive features, and this has placed it on somewhat equal footing with the PS4. That said, Sony's forthrightness has won over more goodwill, which translated to better sales.
The PS4 isn't backward compatible, but thanks to Sony's acquisition of Gaikai and its streaming technology, the PS4 will be capable of playing PS3 and PS2 games, with plans to offer current-gen titles in the future.
Some have criticized PS Now as expensive (a one month subscription costs $19.99, while three months is $44.99). But when you think about it, the price is pretty reasonable especially when compared with GameFly's $22.95 two-game monthly subscription. Unlike GameFly, however, PS Now doesn't have a waiting list.