The PS4 launch is almost upon us. There’s nothing like a new console launch and unboxing the system for the first time while the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey plays in the background. Yes I’ve done it, and if you haven’t, you’re selling yourself short. Try it and tell me it doesn’t make the experience better. Anyway, I’m going to be breaking down the PS4 hardware and what it can and can’t do Day 1.
First things first:
WHAT’S. IN. THE BOX?! – The PS4 system itself (of course), the Dualshock 4 wireless controller, a charge cable for the controller, a headset, the power cable, a HDMI cable, and last but not least, most likely a bunch of extraneous cardboard and Styrofoam. The best thing about this list? Power Cable. Not Power Brick Cable. The bricks took up so much space and were hard to place in certain setups. The PS4 is powered internally, so this is a welcome omission.
Storage – The PS4 is outfitted with a 500GB hard drive. There are laptops out there without that kind of space. With the install sizes of the games coming out, you’ll need every bit of it if you’re gonna have a sizable digital collection. The PS4 doesn’t support external hard drives, but hopefully that changes in the future. Just to give you an idea of what to expect, here are the install sizes for some of the launch games.
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – 20GB
- Battlefield 4 – 40GB
- Call of Duty: Ghosts – 49GB
- Killzone: Shadow Fall – 45GB
- Knack – 37 GB
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes- 6.1GB
- NBA 2K14 – 50GB
With the PS4, the installs are now mandatory. The PS4 is made to read data from the hard drive faster than it can for the disc. However, Sony has noted that depending on the game, you can start playing it as it installs.
System Update – The PS4 also requires a Day 1 system update that allows for certain features to be available at launch such as online multiplayer, DVD/Blu-Ray Playback and Voice/Party chat. Most notable of these features are:
- Remote Play: This allows those who own a PS Vita to play PS4 games on the Vita itself through PS4 Link. This feature also needs an update to the Vita. I won’t be getting a PS4 at launch, but as a Wii-U owner I can tell you that the ability to play your games off-screen is amazing. I’m extremely excited to see it on the PS4. Playing sports games while the actual event is on TV is the way to go, trust me.
- Recording Video/Screenshots and Uploading Them: Nothing like being able to share some gameplay with friends online and challenging them to duplicate or top what you did. With PS4 you can go back through the last 15 minutes of your game to find something to share. Not only can you share on PSN, but Twitter and Facebook as well…gonna be some interesting times there.
- Broadcasting and Spectating Gameplay: The feature I’m most excited about, live-streaming games on Ustream and Twitch. The potential for trash-talk and overall hilarity with this feature is great. Whip your friends online with hundreds of people watching and listening. Another useful function (that we plan to use often) is doing “Let’s Play” videos live. You see them all the time on YouTube, but to be able to do so live could change the whole format forever. At the moment, you wont actually be able to upload these videos on YouTube. Only Facebook/Ustream/Twitch are compatible. Let’s hope that is rectified soon.
- Play As You Download: This particular function is separate from doing so on the disc, this is extended to digital purchases on the system. You can also download titles while in standby mode. Sony has noted that not all titles will have this function. It will be interesting to see if they change that in the future and allow for all titles to make use of it.
As far as what the system can’t do, the big concern recently was the lack of support for audio CDs and MP3 playback at launch. Sony is currently working on getting it in there in a later patch but for now it appears the only option for music is the paid Music Unlimited service. The PS4 also won’t immediately support sharing the controller over the internet, though I cant see that being used too much by the majority of gamers. It could still be a useful feature when it is implemented though, I try not to get negative when it comes to a system’s features. It all depends on how it’s used. PS4 also is not backwards compatible, though we’ve known that for a while. I’m still holding out hope it gets added later in the console’s lifecycle. The Gaikai streaming service is expected sometime next spring, and according to rumors all 3 previous consoles libraries will be available to stream.
As far as used games are concerned, with the initial Xbox One controversy and backtrack, I feel like I can’t explain Sony’s stance on used games from the beginning better than they did:
There are many things to be excited about on the PS4, and it launches just 3 days from now, on November 15th. Before you pick one up, make sure you keep checking back for the rest of our PS4 coverage, starting with the breakdown of the launch titles and deals on those games by @JerzeeBalla. Enjoy the Next Generation of gaming!