Sony's latest console is packed full of new and improved features. Here's what you need to know to get started.
The PlayStation 4 will be available in the United States for $399 on November 15. Sony's latest system packs more power and features than ever before. The console is equipped with an 8-core AMD Jaguar processor, 8GB of GDDR5 memory, and AMD's next-generation Radeon GPU. It also includes a user-replaceable 500GB hard drive, a Blu-ray Disc drive, and a laundry list of new social features.
The PlayStation 4 box includes the system, an assortment of connection cables, a DualShock 4 controller, a basic mono headset, and a quick start guide. For a limited time, Sony will also be throwing in a network voucher, which includes a 30-day free trial to PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited, along with a $10 credit to the PlayStation Store.
The console connects to your television through the HDMI port, while an AC power cord will bring the system to life.
The first time you power on the system you will be asked connect the controller and configure things like language settings, Internet connection, and the date and time.
The new PlayStation Camera (an optional accessory priced at $59.99) connects to the back of the system and can be mounted on top of the TV or in front of it. After the setup process is complete, you must create a new user account.
Once the console is up and running, you will be prompted to install a system software update. This will enable Remote Play, voice chat, online multiplayer, support for Blu-ray movies, and various sharing features, among other things. The patch is approximately 300MB in size and can be installed over the air or with a USB drive.
Navigating the UI
Sony completely revamped the PlayStation 4's user interface, abandoning the PlayStation 3's slow and dated interface for a more responsive and simpler approach. The design is similar to Microsoft's strategy with the Xbox -- large high-resolution images pinned to a horizontally scrolling home screen.
The interface includes five tabs: What's New, The Playroom, Live from PlayStation, Internet Browser, and Library.
The What's New tab displays information relating to your friends, such as status updates, recorded videos, screenshots, and more. The Playroom is a preloaded augmented reality game that utilizes the PlayStation Camera and DualShock 4 controller. Gamers can kick, swat, and shake small robotic creatures using their feet, hands, or the controller. It's a gimmicky feature that will surely entertain young kids.
A "share" button on the DualShock 4 allows gamers to share previously recorded and live gameplay with others from around the world. These broadcasts can be found in the Live from PlayStation tab on the console's home screen.
Hitting the up arrow reveals a secondary menu. From here you can access the PlayStation Store, along with Notifications, Friends, Messages, Parties (a voice and video chat feature), Profile options, Trophies, Settings, and Power.
A handful of useful (and some what unknown) features can offer an even better user experience. For example, you can double tap the PlayStation button on the controller to return to your last open app or program. This makes it easy to quickly switch between reading an online guide and trying to get to the next checkpoint in Killzone (or any other game).
The PlayStation 4 also supports a variety of voice commands for launching games and powering down the system. These commands can be launched by pressing the L2 button on the controller.
The PlayStation Camera brings even more functionality to the system, giving gamers the ability to automatically log in to the console using only their face. This can be done by selecting the "Login Settings" options from the system settings menu and enabling the "Face Recognition" option. Next, click on Face Recognition Management and select the "Add Face Data" option.
The camera will capture four images of your face from a variety of angles. The feature worked like a charm, although you are still required to hold the controller to prevent accidental logins.