Whenever it comes time to begin courting the idea of purchasing that new console some significant questions tend to arise. As many of you are no doubt already aware, the PS4 is poised to be one of the most exciting console releases in history and since we can’t simply jump into a time machine and experience it for ourselves, we can only mull over the specifications, tidbits of information and interesting titles which have been announced.
Aside from things like costs (which we’ll cover in a minute), there are a whole host of concerns related to hardware, software, subscriptions as well as emerging bundle packages that you’ll want to address before deciding on a specific course of action. At the end of the day you want to make the most informed decision, don’t you? Well, that’s the purpose of this handy buyer’s guide – to transform you into a more informed consumer.
Before we go any further, the uninitiated will certainly want to know the “ground level” cost of owning their very own PS4. As of right now (and these prices are not supposed to be subject to change) the suggested retail prices (for each region) are: $399 (US), €399 (Europe), £349 (UK) and AUS$549 (Australia), respectively. Naturally, these SRP’s more or less reflect what most console owners should be consistently used to at this point.
In terms of hardware, the PS4 is packing some serious punch, as to be expected. There is GDDR5 8GB of memory, a single-chip (customized) processor, 8 cores, an energy efficient x86-64 AMD “Jaguar” CPU, and of course, a 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon-based GPU. In short, the way we experience graphics (as well as our expectations for games) will probably never be the same. People, the inherent potential of the PS4 just in terms of its ability to create amazing visuals is certainly going to “spoil” us all and perhaps turn us into true graphics snobs.
Moreover, in comparative tests with other next-generation consoles, once again, Sony and its PS4 have taken home the gold in terms of performance capabilities. This essentially means that those who are looking for the most cutting-edge console experience might be served quite well by investing in a PS4. At the same time, great effort was made to ensure that the PS4 would remain an easy platform for developers to create new games for; meaning, we’re probably going to see an influx of games right off the bat as well as in the far-flung future.
As far as other peripherals and accessories are concerned, there’s plenty of info to dispel as well. For starters, the PS Eye camera won’t be included as part of the standard package (although there is chatter indicating that it might be boxed together with some specialized bundles). However, you can purchase the Eye separately at a rather reasonable cost of only $59/€49/£44, respectively (per region). What about controllers, you might be wondering? Those who are already familiar with the DualShock series certainly won’t be disappointed as the new DualShock 4 is essentially a refinement of previous models. This isn’t to say that the controller hasn’t been modified in a number of ways though as it has taken on a more ergonomic shape. Most noticeably however is the magnificent touch screen which is now prominently featured in the top center of the controller.
Additionally, the DualShock 4 is also compatible with the camera (via the stylish glowing light on its top / rear side). Moreover, the PlayStation Move controller will also be able to integrate with the PS4 but as expected, you’ll need a camera. Most introductory bare-bones PS4 packages will only include one DualShock 4 controller, so if you need an extra for friends (or as a backup) it will cost you $59.99/€59.99/£54 (again, respectively, for each region).
Naturally, the PS4 will also be sticking with the Blu-Ray format which was brought in with the PS3. However, this new reader is said to be around 6 times faster than the one built into the PS3 which means you can expect much shorter loading times as well as a better overall experience. Perhaps one of the more interesting and friendly notions being adopted by Sony with the PS4 is the complete removal of regional restrictions for games. In other words, you can play any game from any region on any console whether it is some obscure Japanese title or whatever. A 500 GB hard drive will also be included with most systems, which means you’ll be able to swap out with other drives if you wish to do so.
PS4 owners will need to sign up for a PlayStation Plus subscription account if they want to truly take advantage of everything the console has to offer though. The cost is minimal however, coming in at only around $50 (US) per year. Cloud-based game streaming (powered by Gaikai) is also going to be integrated via the PSN for PS4 owners. This means that you’ll be able to quickly purchase games and begin playing them almost immediately without having to wait for downloads to complete. With this subscription plan however you not only gain access to all the wonderful features and multiplayer gaming offered through the PlayStation Network, but you are also going to be entitled to one free game download per month. Additionally, those with a plus plan will have access to a number of discounts as well as free games for both the PS3 and Vita.
Speaking of the Vita, as you may or may not know already, the Vita will support cross-play with the PS4. So, in addition to being able to use the Vita as a sort of supplementary device or peripheral, you’ll also be able to stream play directly to it for all PS4 games via “Remote Play” (excluding those which utilize the camera, of course).
As far as perceived negativities are concerned, there are several things which may not sit well with some gamers about the PS4 (in spite of its many wonderful features). For instance, the PS4 will not be reverse compatible with PS3 (or earlier) titles, which means that you’ll need to hold on to your old console(s) or prepare to access them via the PSN’s streaming services if you want to play them on the PS4. However, at this time the general understanding that most people currently have is that not a lot of effort is being put towards bringing the back catalog to the PS4. Instead, Sony is focusing on moving forward with new games, services and features (which makes perfect sense if you really think about it). Other squabbles include things like the lack of support for those who own standard TV’s (you’ll need to get an HDTV).
So, what about games? To make a long story short, there are some really interesting launch titles which are headed our way, including the following:
In fact, several of these games are being pre-packed in bundles which are being offered through a number of physical and online retailers. Currently, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed IV, as well as Watch Dogs seem to be the front runners, or most desired by gamers in this regard.
Aside from the previous list of launch titles, there are also a number of extremely interesting games which are either on the way for 2014-2015 (or rumored to be), for more details about each game see The TOP 30 games announced for the PS4, these may or may not include:
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Rainbow 6: Patriots
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty
Lords of the Fallen
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Mirror’s Edge 2
Sniper Elite III
Dragon Age Inquisition
Gran Turismo 6
Ray’s The Dead
Star Wars Battlefront
So, when does the PS4 come out, you ask? For European gamers, the PS4 will go on sale November 29th, for those in the US, November 15th and will feature a rather exciting lineup of launch titles too. An exact date has yet to be announced but we expect one to be revealed soon – we’ll keep you updated.
Which games and accessories will you be ordering? Let us know in the comment box below.