XI
you are not logged in
Opinion

The PS4's Top Ten Features

Pop pickings.

The PS4’s got a lot going for it: it’s cheaper than the immediate competition, has a growing line-up of exclusives and seems to be ticking all the right boxes with developers. But what are its top ten selling points? Its key features that set it apart? Its – crucially – selling points?

10. Remote Play

The PS4 having remote play might not be its most impressive bullet point, and certainly won’t appeal to everyone, but having spent time with the Wii U’s off-TV functionality it’s hard to go back to being forced to use the television. All gamers have different circumstances, but for me being able to play a full PS4 game on my Vita without lag is hugely appreciated.

News that the PS4 will support four Vitas at once is superb, too.

9. Proper Online

The PS3 suffered from comparisons with the 360 over its online functionality, something it has struggled to shed. Despite Xbox Live costing a set amount each month and the PS3 essentially being free to play, the 360 has always had the edge with regards to messaging, jumping into games with friends and – of course – cross game chat.

But the PS4 seems to have learned from earlier lessons, and the new console seems far more capable with regards to getting people online and into games with the minimum of fuss. The PS4 will certainly let you jump immediately into a friend’s game, but you can also view them playing it, and even offer advice if they’re stuck.

And yes, there’s cross game chat…

8. Third Party Support

Sony’s approach to third parties during the PS3 era was, at least according to Mark Cerny, appalling. Sony were applauding themselves for having better tech than the likes of EA, Activision and Ubisoft, and as a result most third party games looked better on the Xbox 360.

That changed as the generation wore on, but the fact remains that this generation Sony are far more open to third parties, involving them at a much earlier stage with key decisions that should translate into far closer parity and hopefully just a little PS4 bias here and there.

7. Broad Focus

Whilst Sony have appeared to concentrate on the core gamer for their PS4 exclusives with Killzone Shadow Fall and – potentially – The Order 1886, the likes of child-friendly Knack and the family hook that will be Playroom show that the platform holder is ensuring it’s not late out of the gates this time with ensuring everyone has something to play.

Even driving launch time DriveClub is specifically designed to get gamers of all abilities playing and contributing, regardless of any specific skills.

What does this mean? Well, more games for starters, and a wider market – if Sony don’t spread themselves too thinly – means a larger install base, which in turn is more appealing to publishers. Look at the Wii U – it’s struggling, and publishers are pulling out.

6. Indie Support

Sony’s push for indie games on the PlayStation Vita of late will be echoed onto the PS4 – this is evident from Sony’s pre-E3 briefing, where they rolled out no less than eight indie developers to demo their games live on stage. The PS4 has at least one advantage over the 360 here, too – indies can self publish, and hopefully that’ll mean plenty of smaller titles over the life of the system.

News recently that Sony were sending out PS4s to universities went down well too, an indication that the console could be used for younger developers to cut their teeth on. After all, students are some of the AAA developers of the future.

5. Connected User Interface

Simple, social, immediate, integrated and personalised were the five key points of Sony’s February reveal event, and they’ve been echoed across everything the PS4 does. We’ve seen snippets of the user interface since it was first shown, and although it’s clearly something Sony are keen on keeping largely under wraps just now we’ve seen messaging, the ability to connect with others based on similar interests and a consistent design approach, something the PS3’s XMB has lacked.

Just now everything looks and feels different: the friends list, the PSN Store, the main interface, each has its own style. On the PS4, there’s much stronger unity between apps, even if they’re all apparently rather ‘Metro’ looking.

4. Share Button

The Share button is crucial to the PS4. A long press takes a screengrab, but a quick tap [via] opens up a menu which can then export the latest few moments of gameplay to YouTube. The fact that it has its own button is one thing, but Sony have continuously made reference to the system, even going as far as to apparently demo it real-time when Guerrilla first talked about Killzone Shadow Fall, sending a good chunk of gameplay directly to the internet for everyone to download.

Then there’s the live streaming, which will pick up on the recent surge in so-called e-sports. The PS4 will be able to push out what you’re playing to others, who can – at some level, in some games – interact with what you’re doing. The example given was that the spectators could influence the crowd in a fighting game, but the uses are vast: how about the next Tony Hawk’s game having real judges.

3. Play Whilst Downloading

For someone on a relatively poor internet connection, it’s normally a case of leaving a fairly big game to download for a day then coming back to check up on it. The PSN’s never been the fastest for me, but I’m never in a rush. However, others are, and the ability to start playing a game whilst it’s still downloading is a superb idea, even if it’s limited to – as with Killzone Shadow Fall – offering the user the option of grabbing the single or multiplayer portions first.

With better servers and a wider range of options, this PlayGo idea could be brilliant. The download sizes can often be bloated with textures, songs and cut-scenes from much later in the game, so giving the player the ability to start a game then let the download carry on ahead could be an amazing addition.

2. PlayStation Plus

DriveClub’s PS Plus version is just the start of PlayStation Plus on the PS4, and we don’t need to remind you just how amazing it’s been for the PS3 in the last twelve months (but click here for a few shocking statistics). With Plus on PS4 you’ll get access to games included in the package, which will be three indie games to start with as the library grows, online multiplayer (Sony are paywalling online for the first time with the PS4) and – presumably – the usual great discounts.

Plus will carry across from your current PS3 or PS Vita subscription (and you’ll keep access to those machines too) and won’t go up in price, at least not yet. Plus has been a revelation for the industry, with gamers super happy at lots of ‘free’ games and developers and publishers keen to raise the profile of titles that might otherwise have gotten lost.

1. The DualShock 4

The DualShock 4 is a massive improvement over the already rather splendid PS3 controller. It’s sturdier, has far better grips, the analog sticks are indented and feel far smoother in motion and the subtle texturing on the underside really helps to keep the thing where it should be.

And then there’s the touchpad – it’s subtle but potentially extremely useful. I didn’t like how it was being used in Killzone but there’s time to refine the interface. It works superbly with PlayRoom and as a way of introducing the console to gamers familiar with touchscreen interfaces it’s a nice stop-gap and a most welcome new control device. It can be a gear stick, an Angry Birds catapult, a mouse pointer or a targeting aid.

Refinements everywhere mean that the PS4’s DualShock 4 is my personal favourite thing about the new console. But you don’t have to agree with me, let me know what you think!

Read more: #
19 Comments
  1. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    The games in the line are also a massive pull for anyone too I think. I know you mentioned the Indie games, but Sony always have some cracked exclusives too.

    I can’t wait to pick mine up on day 1.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 15:18.
    • MadJunkBoy
      Member
      Since: Aug 2010

      same here! day 1 can’t come fast enough!

      Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 15:31.
  2. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    i’ve ever really used remote play to watch videos on the PS3, on my PSP, so i can take my glasses off, without them everything starts getting blurry a few feet out.
    with the PSP i can have that sitting on my bedside table and i can see it clearly and don’t have to worry about falling to sleep and breaking my glasses.

    i don’t play online much, but any improvements are welcome.

    8, 7 and 6 is what these machines should be about, games, games and more games.
    casual, indie, hardcore, the more the merrier, and Sony seems to be doing all the right things to get that support from the start this gen.

    seems a world away from when the PS3 launched.

    the common interface, good if it works well, then you don’t have to wonder what you have to press to do perform any given action.
    but if it doesn’t, it could be a nightmare.
    that’s something i don’t think you could really tell about until you use the system yourself.

    the share thing could be cool.
    i live the constant recording of gameplay, caching so much you can go back and view if something worth keeping happens.
    i recall when TSA did a peice about what features we’d like to see in the next gen Playstation, i think a built in screencap feature was one of the suggestions i made, so it’s nice to see that is actually a feature with a long press of the share button.
    i’d love to take the credit for the idea, so i will, you can all thank me in jaffa cakes. ^_^

    play whilst download, oh thank god yes.

    that also means no installing after download..

    one of the most annoying things about the ps3 was the installing of downloads.
    they’d always take ages, and that was after the ludicrously slow downloads, i’ve got a 100Mb connection, which usually comes out to about 80 on speed tests, and psn downloads were usually interminable, if you wated a few days after the store update it wasn’t so bad, but on the wednesday, especially plus update day.
    you’re gonna be waiting all day.

    they really need to speed up their downloads on PS4, playing before it finishes will help, but if the downloads are as slow as they are on PS3, it’ll still take too long.

    i think you know how much i love Plus, simply put, one of the best features introduced this gen.
    so having that on PS4 is definitely a plus point for me, pun very much intended. ^_^

    the DS4 should be good, the dual shocks always are, and i have no reason to think they’ll throw a curveball into the design now.
    unless they actually try to launch they boomerang controller again. O_O

    lastly, and this is off topic.
    kudos for putting the whole list on the one page.
    far too many sites these days would spread a list like this out over ten or eleven pages, yeah, even more pages than items in the list, with a paragraph or two a page, just to get more hits.
    i knew TSA would be better than that.

    ok really lastly.

    Wall-O-Text ™ zelamy enterprises.
    ^_^

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 15:20.
    • MadJunkBoy
      Member
      Since: Aug 2010

      OMG! i think this is one of the longest texts on a front page article i have ever seen!

      how awesome! *thumbs up*

      Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 15:30.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      hold on this comment is longer than the article lol

      Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 16:22.
  3. MadJunkBoy
    Member
    Since: Aug 2010

    i love that u can download while playing, but the thing i love the most must be the new dualshock 4!

    and crossgamechat!! *runs away*

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 15:22.
  4. beeje13
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Instant, streamed 60 minute full game trials for me is a big on for me, but not as important as suspend to RAM.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 16:15.
    • ArrebatoTarugo
      Member
      Since: Jul 2013

      Cool features.

      I won’t use the share bottom much, but I am assuming that youtube is going to be packed with tutorials in a year time.

      From the practical point of view, I am looking forward are play while downloading and suspend and resume. How annoying is half an hour installing a game after hours of downloading, and leave the ps3 on for hours…

      Another one that many people could consider minor but that I love is that usb will work even when the ps4 is off. (I use to play x360 and charging the controls while the console was off is one of the few thing that miss.)

      Ah, and thanks good they are redoing the interface. I know some people love it, but I hate waiting to load the psn store that looks and feel totally different to xmb.

      Cant wait.

      Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 16:43.
      • Bilbo_bobbins
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        didn’t know that about the USB, thats a cool feature.

        Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 16:57.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        “I won’t use the share bottom much” … great typo! :P

        Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 17:09.
      • ArrebatoTarugo
        Member
        Since: Jul 2013

        Sorry about the “sharing bottom” typo… That could be a top ten feature for sure!

        Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 17:52.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        Top Ten? It’s my new No.1! :-)

        Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 18:06.
  5. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Definitely the controller is an important part of any console and i haven’t had a hands-on with the DS4 yet, so i’t’s reassuring to see it rated higly by someone who has had a hands-on.

    Online i don’t really care for too much but if they can bring it up to the same level as xbox live i’m sure it will make many people happy.

    That as a shortsighted move, keeping the best tech for themselves on PS3 but Sony certainly seem to be opening up more in all their endeavours recently and it’s great to see and importantly means less likelihood of shoddy versions of the multiplatform games.

    Knack doesn’t appeal to me from what i’ve seen of it so far, seems just a tad clunky to be a next-gen launch title. I’m looking forward to playing around with the camera, even though i know it’ll probably never become anything other than a novelty i’m looking forward to drawing comparisons with the new camera and the original PS Eye and seeing how the tech has evolved, how accurate it is and what it enables.

    Indies: if only the self-publishing meant Indies could have their own section on the store and be free to upload whatever new content, whenever they want. Sadly, they’ll probably still have to have all their content signed-off by Sony but it’s a great step all the same.

    Connected User interface – again, the online aspects don’t interest me a whole lot, apart from seeing who is online and syncing trophies. I’m looking forward to using the new interface though and learning all it’s ins and outs.

    Share button – probably something i’ll rarely use and i hope it doesn’t become too spammy with constant notifications that someone has shared a new video, although notifications should at least be switch-off-able.

    PS+ is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 16:38.
  6. Eldur
    Member
    Since: Nov 2012

    The DS4 is by far the most important thing for me. Just personal preference, but I’ve always found the DS3 sticks way too floaty and imprecise when compared to the Xbox pad. It’s encouraging to hear that Sony are trying to fix this with the DS4 though.

    But other than that, I agree with Bilbo. It’s all about the games, especially the strong indie support, and so far the future looks pretty rosy.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 16:48.
  7. DuffyBox
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    Nice article. Can’t wait to get my hands on a DS4 to see if it lives up to the hype, personally I can’t imagine it being much better than the DS3 but I’d love to be proven wrong.

    P.S. – “A long press takes a screengrab, but a quick tap [via] opens up a menu which can then export the latest few moments of gameplay to YouTube.”
    Surely it would make much more sense the other way round, with a quick tap triggering the screenshot and a longer press opening the menu? You have to be sharp to capture fleeting moments of cool in fast-paced games, although I guess if it’s recorded anyway you can always go back for a better shot later.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 19:09.
  8. Michael
    Team TSA: Development
    Since: Forever

    Driveclub and what it might mean long-term for gaming. The idea that a game might last the lifetime of a console, or at least many years, without needing a yearly iterative update. And, even better, the selling point that all abilities will be able to get something from the game.

    I used to belong to a running club. We were involved in cross-country races. All abilities could enter, and every finishing position counted towards the team’s overall performance. So, a runner could come first and win the race, but if their team mates didn’t perform well enough then the team wouldn’t win. It meant that every runner was competing, because even if you came 99th out of 100, that 1 extra place might have made the difference between the team winning or losing. I am hoping Driveclub does something similar.

    Oh, yeah, and the new controller. That looks well spiffy.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 20:45.
  9. a inferior race
    I'm special
    Since: Jul 2009

    Am I the only one concerned about the lack of a select button to quickly see the score in multiplayer games.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 22:40.
  10. freezebug2
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    I’d personally put the share button function at No.1 and Remote play at No.2, both utterly amazing advancements to this gen…..although remote play was threatened this gen it actually becomes reality for PS4.

    Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 23:39.
    • freezebug2
      Member
      Since: Dec 2008

      * on from this gen….d’oh*

      Comment posted on 16/07/2013 at 23:42.