Earlier today Sony released a PS4 Ultimate FAQ, providing answers to oft-asked questions about Sony’s next-gen console ahead of its North American launch. The majority of new information was disappointing to say the least, but there were some silver linings in the veritable cloud of unknowing. Let’s go through the pros first, then the cons, point by point.
- PS4 audio output could be fully routed through the DualShock 4 controller headset jack. Possibly the coolest function reveal from the FAQ, you can now play video games with complete audio customization through each controller, including chat-only or full audio.
- Cross-gen Sony platform play is technically possible. The fact that you could possibly play online games cross-platform on the PS3 and PS4 is a HUGE bonus, albeit the main caveat being that it’s up to developers to add that functionality. This could add ease of access for free-to-play games and so much more.
- Stand-by Mode allows charging of DualShock 4 controllers/download system updates*. A huge time-saver, especially when you can do all the non-gaming stuff after you want to finish.
*PS+ users only for system updates
- PS4 Video setting schange automatically upon plugging into a new TV. No more do you have to manually adjust the video settings manually, like on the PlayStation 3.
- You can download the Day 1 patch as you play games offline. A huge complaint when the first of the next-gen consoles, Nintendo’s Wii U, came out was the long 1 GB mandatory Day 1 patch for initial setup. The PS4 will let you bypass that wait for downloading/installing FW update 1.50 by letting it run in the background. You can even download the patch on a PC and transfer it to a USB.
- Expanded display notification customization. The PS4 will, more than ever, allow you to control what does and doesn’t pop up on screen, including things like trophies, friend requests, etc.
- All PS4 owners can automatically download game patches. More time saved, the better.
- Digital game collections can be accessed on multiple PS4 consoles. This has been mentioned before, but is noteworthy for those who did not hear previously.
- DualShock 4 battery life lasts as long as the DS3. Seeing how the controller has a light bar, has bigger built-in vibrating rotors, a touch pad and in-controller audio, it is fairly impressive.
- Launches by November 29th in 32 different countries. It launches here in USA and Canada on November 15th.
Boy, are there many cons.
- No external hard drive support for the PS4. If your ~450 GB hard drive space runs out, you need to replace it with a 5400 RPM Sata II HDD no thicker than 9.5 mm that is larger than 160 GB.
- PS4 does not support audio CD’s or MP3 files. It appears as though, at launch, the only way to play music on the PS4 is to listen to tracks on Youtube/internet browser or with Sony’s paid service Music Unlimited, which is really consumer-unfriendly.
- No DLNA or support media servers supported. This means that you can’t stream videos/movies from a home PC, signifying an important loss of the PS3’s multimedia benefits.
- Several announced features unavailable at launch. This includes suspend/resume mode, wireless stereo headset support, etc.
- Still can’t rename your Online ID. Even though you can provide your real name (not ideal for the majority of gaming fans, being stuck with the same online screen name for more than a decade can be problematic for young gamers with embarrassing names.
- No support for Dynamic Themes. The language here is elusive. “PS4 will not support Dynamic Themes as they currently exist on the PS3 system.” As they currently exist. Hopefully we can learn about the extent of the UI soon.
- Generally speaking, PS3 peripherals won’t work with the PS4. Developers can allow specific titles to do so, but if Sony has made a point to bring this up, there will be fewer exceptions that previously expected.
- No Youtube clip sharing at launch. Out of the box, you can livestream on Twitch or UStream, or uploaded to Facebook. The video quality is not up to Youtube standards, so they better update this in as soon as possible.
- 3rd party streaming devices not supported at launch. Devices like Elgato, etc. cannot be used to record the PS4, although it is unclear if there are traditional workarounds at the moment.
As Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has made clear on Twitter, initial feedback has been taken into consideration on some of the major downsides coming out of this FAQ. Still, it is fair of Sony to come out with this information more than two weeks in advance of the PlayStation 4’s North American release. Now, the ball is in Microsoft’s court. With the Xbox One releasing across 13 countries on November 22, just what exactly works at launch is still up in the air. Even with what little has been announced as coming post-launch, perhaps these consoles should have been released in early 2014 instead.
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