PlayStation 4

In 2013, Sony launched the successor to the PlayStation 3. After falling behind and having an arguably rocky start on the commercial market with the PS3, with the console being released almost a year after the Xbox 360 and the Wii, the company decided that they needed to be ahead of the market and started to work on the new console as early as 2008.

The console, as of time of writing, is winning this generations ‘console war’ in which the PS4 is competing against the Xbox One. To keep up with social demand, there is increased emphasis on the social interaction side of gaming with the console and has the ability to be controlled remotely either via a Sony Xperia smartphone or the PlayStation Vita.

Sony had many ideas on how to market and launch the PlayStation 4 in an efficient way with the company even making a deal with the Chinese government to launch the console within the market in attempt to expand the exposure of the console.

Alike its predecessors, along with the new console comes improved controllers. The DUALSHOCK4 is completely wireless and connects to the console via Bluetooth. The new controller features a new touchpad in design, supports motion detection, improved vibration and improved design for fighting games, are the first official Sony controllers to officially support Windows and a rechargeable battery.

Other differences on new controller includes changed buttons from the other PlayStation consoles. There is now a PlayStation (PS) button, a Share button that allows for streaming and an options button which works as a mixture of the previous ‘Start’ and ‘Select’ buttons. Another new feature includes a light bar that displays various colours in sync with gameplay (so will go red when the player has low health etc).

Additional peripherals for the system include the PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation Camera that can also be used as a motion sensor and for head tracking. Both of these can work in sync with the PlayStation Virtual Reality (PSVR) headset.

In an effort to adapt to what is expected of a modern gaming console, many features have been added to the PlayStation 4 to double it up as a multimedia centre. Its multimedia features include a Blu-ray and DVD player and 3D functionality. CDs are not supported on this system though through USB connection, music files can be added and played on the system.

The PlayStation Network (PSN) includes a variety of services such as the PlayStation Store and PlayStation Plus Services. PlayStation Music is also available (being run by Spotify), as well as PlayStation Video which is a subscription service that allows players to buy or rent TV Shows and films. A PS Plus paid membership is needed to use most of the multimedia services.

Community Creation is one of the newly added social features of the PS4. This gives players the ability to join or create a community based on personal interests. With access to discussion boards, game clips, group chat capabilities and co-op games it gives the player the ability to play online with people all over the globe and expand their social gaming network.

Through various media sharing abilities the player can scroll through 60 mins of gameplay to screenshot or to get a video clip with immediate access to share and upload on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The ShareFactory application allows players to edit videos and pictures before uploading.

Expanding on this, players also have the capability to broadcast their gameplay live through programmes such as Twitch, UStream, Niconico or YouTube. With Shareplay allowing players to play along with their friends even if only one of them owns a copy of the game.

Games can either be physically bought or downloaded digitally onto the system and are not region locked with every game having to be installed onto the system storage.

The PlayStation 4 is not directly backwards compatible with PS1, PS2 and PS3 though some releases are available to purchase on the PS Store.

PlayStation Now is an online Cloud service that allows players to purchase games over a streaming device.

When the console was pre-released to press and industry specialists and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Many noted the performance bettering the Xbox One and was highly praised due to the removable and upgradable hard drive. Reviews and response from the public also mirror these opinions.

Extensions to the console come in the form of the Pro and Slim models. The Slim revises the PS4 hardware and is 40% smaller than the original size whereas the Pro updates the PS4 to enable 4K rendering and improved VR performance.

Upon launch, the demand for the console was extremely high with over 1 million pre-orders! With the North American release selling 1 million units alone, the console became the best-seller in the UK with 250,000 units selling out in 48 hours of release which led to over 530,000 in 5 weeks! As well as being popular amongst previous PlayStation fans, it was found in August 2014 that 31% of sales came from existing Wii and Xbox 360 owners who never had a PS3.