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Sony’s PS4 console is the top choice for the current generation of gaming platforms. The proof is in the numbers; Playstation 4 outsells Xbox One by a 2:1 ratio. Six PlayStation games have shipped more than a million copies since its launch in late 2013.
PlayStation 4 price has dropped just once since launching at $400. Sony announced in October 2015 a reduction of $50 to fuel the holiday push for the PS4 console. PS4 prices have remained steady since that time; expect to buy PlayStation 4 for around the $350 mark in the foreseeable future.
PlayStation 4 has similar hardware found in modern PCs. Driving the PS4 console is an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), an x86 processor which combines features typically found on two pieces of PC hardware—the central processing unit (CPU) and the graphics processing unit (GPU). The PS4 console houses 8 GB of GDDR5 memory, a graphics-specific form of computer RAM designed to interface with graphics cards.
PlayStation games can be either run from Blu-ray disc, downloaded onto a hard drive, or streamed over a high speed Internet connection. PlayStation 4 also acts as a multimedia social hub, touting features like media capture and sharing, live broadcasting, and Share Play which lets users invite an online companion to play in a streaming session.
The best PS4 console deals are found in PS4 bundles, which package PlayStation games at a discounted price with the purchase of a new PlayStation 4 console. A PS4 bundle includes one or more games, plus an internal hard drive ranging in capacity from 500 GB to 1 TB.
There are more than a dozen PS4 bundles available. Among the most popular include Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Bundle + 500 GB storage; Standard Edition Star Wars Battlefront Bundle + 500 GB storage; Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Bundle + 500 GB storage.
PS4 bundles are priced about what it costs to buy a PlayStation 4 by itself. The value proposition continues to drive new sales well into in the third year of the five-year product cycle for video game consoles.
A Sony PlayStation Plus Membership is an subscription service for PlayStation 4. It entitles users to free select classic PlayStation games, and select new titles with the Instant Game Collection. It opens up online multiplayer modes built into many PS4 games. Newegg sells gift cards for 3-month subscriptions ($19.99); value-minded users should check out cards for annual subscriptions ($49.99) for a better deal.
Upgrades are available to the standard Sony DualShock 4 controller that comes with the PS4 console. Among the most popular include the wireless variant of the DualShock, available in black or magma red. Third party manufacturers like Mad Catz, HORI, Worldnect, and Thrustmaster, make specialized coin-op arcade-style controllers, steering wheel controls for racing games, and flight sticks for aircraft simulators.
PlayStation Wireless headsets let you communicate with fellow online gamers while you play. Higher-end models like the PlayStation Gold Wireless feature noise canceling features and 7.1 virtual surround sound, and are compatible with a home PC. Some headsets from third party manufacturers like Turtle Beach and Plantronics take these features a step further.
Hard disk storage upgrades for PS4 are also available. Upgrade kits can provide another 1-2 TBs to the capacity of a PS4 console if you find yourself running low on disk storage.
Sony announced PlayStation VR, (codenamed Project Morpheus during development) is set to launch in October 2016. It is fully compatible with the PS4 console, and outputs a simultaneous signal to the headset and a television. This keeps PlayStation VR compatible in multiplayer mode. All PlayStation games work with “cinematic mode” built into PlayStation VR, which simulates a five-meter viewing plane inside the headset.
The PS4 Neo—also called PS4K—is a new variant of the PS4 console with upgraded hardware. Experts expect a new AMD processor with a faster clock speed (2.1 GHz compared to 1.6 GHz), improvements to the GPU, and faster GDDR5 memory to power the PS4 Neo. Early reports indicate that developers are not allowed to segregate content, meaning that all PS4 Neo games will work with PS4. Additionally, PlayStation Plus players on PS4 Neo and PS4 consoles will access the same content for online competition. A release date has not been disclosed at this time.
No. The x86 chip in PS4 renders old PS3 games incompatible so you it won’t play the discs—but PSN does have older PS titles that are reworked for PlayStation 4 available on PlayStation Now.
The major benefits include free PlayStation games, cloud storage, PlayStation games discounts on select titles, online play for supported titles, and auto-upload of saved data.
PlayStation Now is a game streaming subscription for 400+ PS3/2/1 games made playable on PS4, smart TV, tablet, and other devices able to connect to the Internet. Subscriptions start at $19.99 per month / $44.99 for three months. Most titles rent for $1 a day; longer (up to 90 days) and shorter (4 hours) rental periods are available.
The PS4 console uses a 2.5-inch SATA drive, the same as one found in a standard laptop PC. It needs to be under 9.5 mm in length to fit the caddy. The PS4 drive comes equipped with a 5400 RPM hard disk drive (HDD). Installing a 7200 RPM HDD will increase loading speeds noticeably; a solid-state drive (SSD) will take performance to the next level, but costs more per-gigabyte.
PS4 players can broadcast live and spectate live streams via services such as Twitch, Niconico, YouTube Gaming and Ustream. Saved clips of gameplay footage can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Daily Motion.