Should You Buy A PS4 At Launch?

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We already have a list up on our site of the supported PS4 accessories. They include a charging station, packed-in mono headsets and the PlayStation stand. The 1st party stand isn’t available in America just yet, but like the console it is region-free to ship one in if you’re that desperate.

One of the coolest features of the PS4 is turning a PS Vita into a controller peripheral in Remote Play. Certain games can utilize a wireless PS Vita internet connection to stream gameplay to the handheld device. You can even play couch co-op in Knack with one player using the DualShock 4 and the other using their Vita. It’s a great way of avoiding picking up a $60 controller at launch.

The PlayStation 4 can be purchased in certain bundles with the PlayStation Camera. It allows the use of voice commands for ease of access, as well as use in tandem with the DualShock 4 to play the free augmented VR game The Playroom. Using the PlayStation camera also adds the ability to include a face cam, if that’s what floats your boat, as well as provide live feedback to your playing experience.


Retailing at $399 USD/CAD, the PS4 is priced in the middle of the 8th gen console pack; $100 more expensive than the Wii U and $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. However, the console is at its most expensive now. As time goes by, it will be even cheaper to pick up Sony’s addition to the 8th generation of console gaming.

Certain bundles raise the value while raising the price. Special bundles include a regular PS4 SKU with Call of Duty: Ghosts, an extra controller and a year’s subscription to PS+ for $569, others replace Ghosts with Killzone: Shadow Fall and pack in a PlayStation Camera instead of an extra controller. Either way, the bundles are not that cheap and will go down in price in the months and year ahead. There’s even an Infamous: Second Son PS4 bundle coming in the future.

Online/Offline Services, Features and Misc.

The PlayStation Plus is an online service that is now mandatory for most online play. You can pick up a year’s subscription for $49.99 and get access to not only online multiplayer, but each month PS4 owners will get free PS4, PS Vita and PSN games, massive discounts (up to 75% off) and UI themes/accessories/screens for free. As well, you can upload save files to the cloud (1 GB max) and owning a PS+ account will allow for automatic updates of game patches and hardware firmware, even in its suspended mode. Early adapters will get Resogun and Contrast for free.

The Game DVR, allotted by the PS4 OS, is quite remarkable. It is constantly recording the last 15 minutes of gameplay, which can be instantly cached, edited and uploaded to Facebook. Additionally, you can stream active gameplay to Twitch or UStream at launch through the console.

It’s not all bells and whistles, unfortunately. There is a fundamental lack of crucial features at launch, including Suspend/Resume, MP3 and Audio CD support, streaming to Youtube and taking recorded footage and placing it on an external hard drive. DLNA service support has also been removed at launch, although Sony is working to bring it back in the future. You also can’t use streaming device like Elgato from Day 1 to work around the limitations, although there are murmurs that some splitters can work to get external HDMI streaming devices working.

Finally, we just don’t know the scope of the problems the PS4 will have at launch. We live in an era where information is transferred to the masses at near the speed of light, and the spreading of FUD (again, fear, uncertainty and doubt) is easily attainable by saying, “my console is broken. What do?”

Not to sweep anything under the rug, but an estimated 0.4% of pre-November 15th consoles were reportedly defective. Anything within the 3-5% failure rate within a launch window of a product release is both reasonable and expected, and it is the same amount of percent we can expect out of the Xbox One next week. We won’t know the exact failure rate of the PS4’s at launch until some time from now.

It is impossible to know just how well a tech product’s durability will test when it is mass-produced and shipped to millions of consumers. It was an estimated 54.2% of Xbox 360 consoles that were effectively considered failed units due to the wrong type of a lead-free solder, and just that small difference helped lead to billions of dollars worth of losses over the console’s earliest years. It is a crap-shoot.

So, should you buy a PS4 at launch?

If money is of absolutely no concern to you; yes.

If you’re looking for a healthy variety of all types of genres at launch; no.

If you have are a fan of sports games and want a truly beautiful gaming experience on 8th generation consoles; yes.

If lack of advertised functionalities and services (fixed TBA) has you skeptical; no.

If you love indie games and want to get an early start on those titles before a lengthy backlog builds up; yes.

If you plan on streaming and monetizing playing games for Youtube/Twitch exclusively through the console at launch; no.

If resolution and frame rate matter, and you want to experience the strongest graphical output for console games ASAP; yes.

If you want to get the most out of your/your friend’s Vita and play PS4 games co-operatively at launch; yes.

If you want to make absolutely sure your console works for the long term from the day you pick it up; no.

Make sure to come back next Friday November 22nd as I ponder if you should buy an Xbox One at launch.


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