Sony's next-gen gaming console will hit stores in the US on November 15 at a price of $399. That price undercuts Microsoft's -- also arriving in November -- by $100.
The US launch will be followed by a European release on November 29. The console will cost £349 in the UK, and 399 euros on the Continent.
With the clock ticking on the PS4's release, we've gathered together just about everything we know about the next PlayStation, and how it compares with its new nemesis, the Xbox One. Read on for the details.
DualShock 4: Hands-on with the new PS4 gamepad
Trigger buttons are improved over the DualShock 3, but they honestly don't feel much more like actual triggers as they're flatter and wider than, say, the Xbox One's. The shoulder buttons, however, are much softer and feel more comfortable than either the PS3's or Xbox One's, in my opinion.
The D-pad was disappointing, forgoing the tight precision of the Xbox One's D-pad. I honestly couldn't imagine playing a fighting game on it, at least with anything approaching a modicum of success. The lack of tactile feedback when pressing different directions is troublesome.
The controller feels as light as the previous incarnation's, and its handles feature a grippier texture on the back and bottom. The touch pad feels smooth with a slight groove, and depresses pretty easily. I’ve yet to use it in an actual game, however.
The analog sticks deliver an appropriate amount of feedback; however, the texture on top of the sticks was distracting.
I didn't actually get to touch the PS4 console, so I can't say how light it is or how its buttons or Blu-ray drive work. The system definitely has a look like no other console I've seen. I mean sure, it's black and squarish like most consoles, but it also has this bisected design that looks quite space-age.
About that design: the angled parallelogram design of the PS4 clearly conjures PlayStations of the past. It looks like a PS2 on steroids. It's an attractive look, but it's boxy; it doesn't seem nearly as big as the Xbox One, however.
Also, box design really means nothing. But, hey, at least we know what it'll look like next to our television, and it's fine-looking without being obtrusive.
The PS4 will support the same PlayStation Plus service as the Vita and PS3, with no new subscription price increase: it's all folded together. (Right now, that's $50 per year.) Unlike the PS3, however, a Plus subscription will be required for online multiplayer games. Thankfully, though, you won't be required to have Plus to access PS4's media services (Netflix and the like). You need Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold subscription to do nearly anything -- including Netflix -- on Xbox One and Xbox 360.
The PS4 will have its own Instant Game collection service; DriveClub PS Plus Edition will be the first free game at launch, with one free game per month after that. Titles will include Don’t Starve and Outlast.
Sony’s been smart to offer up free games via Plus, and you have to wonder if Microsoft is taking notice: a similar offering of free monthly games was announced for Xbox 360 owners subscribing to Xbox Live Gold.
Sony announced at Gamescom that PS4 owners will receive a free 14-day PlayStation Plus trial with the purchase of their console, which includes access to games DriveClub and Resogun.
Leading off the PS4 discussions at E3 was a mention of Sony's video efforts, seemingly aiming for a similar type of video-content approach with the console as Microsoft is with the Xbox One. Sony touted its studio strength and the eventual launch of exclusive videos coming only to the PS4, but it’s unclear what those are.
Video services like Video Unlimited, Redbox, and Flixster are some of the services launching on the PlayStation Network, but it looks like these services will be available on the PS3, too.
The big challenge with fronting content as a reason to buy a console is this: can game systems really become video networks? Microsoft and Sony seem to be betting on this direction, and it’s a dicey endeavor.
Sony demonstrated games at E3 and Gamescom -- as you’d expect -- in a mix of new games and sequels, including exclusives The Order, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Infamous: Second Son. It was hard to glean what advantages the PS4 was offering these games that the PS3 couldn’t accomplish, but for the most part these games looked pretty.
Sony's also pledging massive third-party support, and a very easy process for independent developers to publish on the PS4.
The includes 33 titles, a good number of which are independent and available for download only, as opposed to disc-based. Sony's aggressive support for independent publishers from Microsoft.
The PlayStation 4, as you'd expect for a seven-years-later follow-up, has impressively bumped specs:
· An eight-core X86 AMD Jaguar CPU
· 1.84-teraflop AMD Radeon graphics engine (with "18 compute units")
· 8GB of GDDR5 memory
· 500GB hard drive
· Blu-ray drive
· Three USB 3.0 ports
· 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
· Ethernet, HDMI, Bluetooth 2.1, optical audio and analog AV out
The PS4 will use a 500GB hard drive for storage; the same as the Xbox One. The specs overall match that of a modern PC with integrated AMD processors and graphics, or so it seems. It's not a particularly stunning set of specs for a PC, but it's far ahead of any existing game console. It's just not as ahead-of-its-time on the hardware end as the original PlayStation 3 seemed to be.
Immediacy of response reducing lag time while accessing content is also one of the promised PS4 features (unlike the extremely laggy Wii U, perhaps). The PS4 will allow speedy background downloading, and Sony claims that games will even be playable as they're being downloaded.
Yes, the PS4 will have a Blu-ray drive that can also play DVDs. The PS4 will also have three USB 3.0 ports, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1, HDMI, Analog AV-out, and optical digital audio output.
What about PS3 games playing on the PS4? Sony has so far discussed PlayStation 3 gameplay on the PS4 under the same umbrella as playing PlayStation 1 and PS 2 games, via a digital library in a yet-to-be-determined PlayStation Cloud Service. Whether this would be accomplished via streaming, digital downloads, or emulation wasn't specified, but it sounds like Sony's answer to the Virtual Console.