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The PS4 launched for $399 today

Sony's PlayStation 4 officially released today, and the (mixed) reviews are in. 

Tech news sites like EngadgetThe VergeArs Technica and Joystiq have offered their insights on the new PS4 console, and the overall reviews seem to range from "worth it, go buy it" to "Maybe you should wait for Xbox One reviews." But many agreed that the design of the hardware (both console and controller) was done just right, and that it has an extremely friendly user interface. 

Let's dive right in.

The Specs
  • Octa-core, x86 AMD "Jaguar" CPU
  • Radeon GPU capable of 1.84 teraflops
  • 500GB hard disk drive
  • 8GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Six-speed Blu-Ray drive
  • USB 3.0
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • optical audio output
  • AUX connector for the camera
Pricing & Availability 

The PS4 launched today in the U.S., and will hit Europe on 
November 29. The console is priced at $399. 

Reviews

Hardware - Console 

Reviewers had nothing but great things to say about the PS4 console's hardware. Ars Technica called it a "beautiful" and "unique" case design while The Verge dubbed it "handsome." 

Here's what Engadget's Ben Gilbert had to say:

"Think of it this way: If E3 was a beauty pageant, and Sony's and Microsoft's next-gen console designs were the contestants, then the PS4 was basically crowned Miss World that day in LA. Sony's black gaming box is a return to form for the global electronics giant; it's the type of living room hardware that evokes signature Sony style, not celebrity-endorsed kitchenware."

Richard Mitchell, Joystiq:

"The PlayStation 4 itself is an attractive device. The unit is close in size to the "slim" PlayStation 3 that launched back in 2009. Not taking the PS4's angled sides into account, the two consoles have nearly the same square footprint...The only troubling physical quality of the PS4 is that the plastic casing has a good amount of flex to it. Squeeze or prod the console and you'll be able to see and feel the plastic bending under your fingers."


Hardware - Controller

The PS4's DualShock 4 controller is one feature that grabbed rave reviews all around (minus one comment about the controller only getting about seven hours of battery life). Ars Technica even claimed it's "one of the best we've ever used" while The Verge called it a "fantastic controller."

Engadget's Gilbert seems to feel the same way:

"There's no doubt in our minds: Sony's DualShock 4 is the best game controller that the company's ever created. It's not quite perfect, but it's damn close. For the most part, the DualShock 4 is a carefully refined version of the DualShock 3. The standard two parallel thumbsticks, the d-pad on the left face, a four-button layout on the right, two triggers and two shoulder buttons up top continue to be the main forms of input. The DualShock 3's tilt sensor and rumble motor are also back with minor tweaks, offering tighter precision and more detailed vibration (respectively)."

Mitchell, Joystiq

"The DualShock 4 is one of the most comfortable controllers I've ever held. It abandons the long-maintained DualShock design for something much more ergonomic. Specifically, the DualShock 3's tapered prongs have been replaced by more bulbous and natural handles. Even better, the back of the controller is made of a textured, but not rubberized plastic that offers great grip. The D-pad directions are spaced more closely together, and there's a nice divot in the middle that gives the thumb a natural place to rest. The analog sticks are spaced slightly further apart, and they now feature concave bowls on top, preventing the slippage common with the DualShock 3. Speaking of slippage, the DualShock 3's convex triggers are gone, and in their place are delightfully concave triggers that do a much better job of cradling your all-important shooting fingers."


Software - UI

The user interface (called the PlayStation Dynamic Menu) was touted as clean and simple, making it more user friendly. The PlayStation Store also received a lot of compliments. But reviewers had issues with system UI performance in some cases, such as the interface not scaling well for power users.

Engadget's Gilbert describes the UI as an improvement:

"The user interface on the PlayStation 4's new desktop is a massive improvement over the often confusing PlayStation 3 XMB (cross-media bar). It's essentially a set of square tiles that expand out with rich content when selected. Select a game and you'll see options for the developer-fed overview tab (screens, video, et cetera), recent social activity involving that piece of content and related items available in the Store."

And he's also fond of the PlayStation Store: 

"Finally -- finally! -- a digital store from a Sony PlayStation game console that is navigable! The PlayStation Store on PlayStation 4 is far and away the best iteration of the store yet, offering a single, simple left rail for navigation between film, TV and games offerings."

The Verge warns that you must download the day-one update before you can really do anything on the console, and also thinks the notifications could use improvement:

"Practically everything the system does, even the built-in web browser, requires you to log in to PlayStation Network, and most of the console's highly touted features aren't available until you install a 300MB day-one update as soon as you turn on the console — all you can do is pop a disk in and play a game otherwise...but even after you do update, the PS4's interface still revolves entirely around games. Where the PlayStation 3 was designed as a media hub where your pictures, music, and videos were neatly arranged in a scrolling two-column interface, Sony has stripped the vast majority of that away.
 
"But the real problem with the PS4's interface is that Sony hasn’t been paying attention. Sony hasn’t learned something smartphones and social networks mastered years ago: making notifications actionable."

Ars Technica's Kyle Orland said the new PlayStation Store UI is "great," but also mentioned that the flat system interface gets cluttered and can be hard to use. 

Joystiq's Mitchell even found a couple hiccups in the UI:

"The Dynamic Menu in general isn't without a few hiccups of its own. I encountered one moment when it became unresponsive for several seconds, notably when installingKillzone: Shadow Fall. Upon installation, the game required an additional update to be downloaded. At this point Shadow Fall's tile briefly displayed two different "start" buttons. One of these had a disc icon indicating I could start the game. The other was unlabeled, though clicking it appeared to start installing the update. Updates are supposed to be applied automatically, so something seems to have gone awry, though it did eventually right itself."

A few other favorites are the "What's New" section, which provides a look at friends' activities, and the automatic download of system and game updates. But there were complaints about the iOS PlayStation App being of limited use and the Music Unlimited being "clunky."
 

Software - Games

Engadget's Gilbert will tell you "Battlefield 4" is the prettiest launch-day title for the PS4, but The Verge will say there aren't enough great games yet. 

Here's Gilbert's guide to PS4 games: 

"If you're looking for bombast and bullets, 'Killzone: Shadow Fall' is your launch title of choice...'Resogun' is both an excellent game and a graphics showcase...Ten minutes with 'Knack' is all you need to realize this title is basically 'Crash Bandicoot' for the next gen...Thanks to the power of EA's Frostbite 3 engine, DICE's 'Battlefield 4' is easily one of the prettiest PS4 launch day titles. Amazingly, it's going to be third-party titles that keep early adopters afloat this holiday --'Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag' is no exception. The game features a beautiful Caribbean world, which shines on the PlayStation 4, and it's actually a fun game to play."

The Verge has a different perspective on the PS4 launch titles: 

"The two dozen or so launch titles for the console are unlikely to satisfy the exact gamer Sony’s trying so desperately to court — and that may be disappointed with what’s available for the console they pre-ordered...It's not that any of the games we've played are bad — quite the opposite, in fact — it's just that they're almost exactly what you'd expect. Aside from visual enhancements, the games played largely identically to their current-generation versions."


To Buy or Not to Buy?

Ben Gilbert, Engadget:

"After a marathon week with the PlayStation 4, we feel confident in saying it will be worth your hard-earned money when it goes on sale tomorrow. For $400, you're getting a speedy, powerful little PC with an extremely friendly user interface -- and it doesn't look like a PC, which is a nice bonus. We may not review game consoles every day, but we know a good one when we see it. This is just the beginning with PlayStation 4, and it's a hell of a start."

The Verge

"For right now, though, there's little incentive to spend $399 on a PlayStation 4. Not only are there few games worth the price of admission, the vast library of PS3 games is more compelling than anything the PS4 currently offers. If you're desperate for a new console, rest assured that eventually the PS4 will be one; it has plenty of power, a great controller, and a lot of good ideas about how we can play games better and how we can play them together. But for right now, they’re mostly still just ideas."

Kyle Orland, Ars Technica:

"The PlayStation 4 has an excellent controller, decently powerful hardware, some intriguing, well-executed new features, and an interface that shows belated acknowledgement of some of Sony's most user-unfriendly past designs. It also has a lot of features that are half-assed, missing, or downright bewildering at this point. Still, overall, it's a good starting point for a system that's meant to last a long time. Wait for the Xbox One review to compare and contrast."


For the DT readers who picked up a PS4 today, what are your reviews? 

Sources: The Verge, Ars Technica, Joystiq, Engadget



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RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/15/2013 7:00:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
-stuck with hardware for the next 10 years, until ps5 arrives
Huh?

Of all your comments this one in particular seemed the most insane and devoid of fact.

The PS3 launched 7 years ago in 2006, first off. XBox 360 launched in 2005 so it actually has a longer release cycle (8 years)... but either way your "10 year" estimate is purely pulled from your rear.

And further your complaint also makes you sound like you have some entitlement issues, like somehow you're being done a grave injustice by having to own to a product you chose to buy.

What... should Microsoft and Sony buy Nortel a new console to apologize? Should they release consoles faster? How dare they offend Nortel, who clearly knows how they should sell their product better than they do.

Sounds like someone has a case of special snowflake syndrome.

No one is making you buy a console. If you can't handle a half decade or more to wait before the next generation in the console war, then you're not a console gamer anymore. Because that is the industry standard whether you like it or not. So either deal with it, or move on and let those who still appreciate console gaming spend their money as they see fit.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By inteli722 on 11/15/2013 7:06:19 PM , Rating: 1
Don't necessarily know about the PS4, but a Microsoft exec said: http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/26/xbox-one-will-be...

Literally the first line is that the Xbox One will be around for 10 years. It's not completely wrong.

GLORIOUS PC GAMING MASTER RACE

(I'd think that people here would be more receptive of us)


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/15/2013 7:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GLORIOUS PC GAMING MASTER RACE

(I'd think that people here would be more receptive of us)
Fail. Lifespan != Next console's time to market.

Until January Sony sold PS2s -- a 12 year lifespan that covered nearly 2 product cycles. So if you wanted to speculate in a more informed fashion, you could predict that the next Xbox would come out in 5-7 years, with the XBO selling as a budget model for the next 3-5 years (as the XB360 currently is).
quote:
GLORIOUS PC GAMING MASTER RACE

(I'd think that people here would be more receptive of us)
That's great that you love PC gaming, but you're being trollish if you don't recognize there's a tradeoff.

A good PC gaming rig is expensive, but packs better graphics.
It's more flexible, but most people already own a PC so this a somewhat moot point.

Controls wise, some titles (e.g. Dragon Age) are better with mouse/keyboard, while others are better with a console controller.

Consoles are cheaper and more compact.

Different strokes for different folks.

I both PC game (albeit on a gaming laptop, so less than enthusiast resolutions) and console game when I have the time.

My point is that both you and Nortel are giving wild speculation, much of which is unproven and misinformed. I think you both seem to love PC gaming (I think??) which is great, but don't spread misinformation just because you don't appreciate a product.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By StevoLincolnite on 11/15/2013 11:53:11 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
A good PC gaming rig is expensive, but packs better graphics. It's more flexible, but most people already own a PC so this a somewhat moot point.


Not really.
For starters you can do more with a PC, so the comparison point is already in the PC's favor.

Steam/Valve, GoG.com, Greenmangaming.com and Humble Bundle etc' has made PC gaming more convenient and cheaper. (SALES EVERYWHERE!)

Plus, the next generation consoles you have to pay for online.

So in the long term PC gaming is actually cheaper - Especially so if you like to buy allot of games.

I still see a fair few gamers still kicking around 6-7 year old buckets equipped with a Core 2 Quad and running the majority of multi-plats just fine, granted with a GPU upgrade or two, but the online fee that you have to pay for with consoles negates that cost.
I still personally have a Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 3.8ghz, 8Gb of Ram and the *only* upgrade it has gotten is a $30 Radeon 6570 (I've overclocked it of course!) and it still runs Battlefield 4 on medium quality settings at 720P.
Granted, my main PC with a i7 3930K is where I do the majority of gaming at 1440P, I can't stand any resolutions lower than that, 720P and 1080P is something I expect out of phones now.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By Totally on 11/16/2013 12:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
The initial cost is may be steep, but afterwards all you need to upgrade/swap out is the GPU and maybe some extra system memory, and that by far can be just as expensive buying a console every time one is released, especially if you factor in the monthly cost for an online pass.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/15/2013 7:59:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't necessarily know about the PS4, but a Microsoft exec said: http://www.joystiq.com/2013/09/26/xbox-one-will-be...

Literally the first line is that the Xbox One will be around for 10 years. It's not completely wrong.

GLORIOUS PC GAMING MASTER RACE

(I'd think that people here would be more receptive of us)
Also his comment and yours are somewhat inane, as assuming a 5-7 year upgrade cycle, that's not that far off what many of the enthusiasts I know stick to in terms of system building.

Sure some people with a ton of cash buy a super-powered watered-cooled gaming rig every year, but most of my friends who PC game prefer to build a really good rig that last 4-6 years. They might upgrade their CPU/GPU once over that period, but they're not going to buy an entirely new rig every year or two.

I think the numbers bear out this hypothesis as well...

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/videocard/

The most most common cards tend to be GeForce 400s/500s in terms of discrete GPUs made by NVIDIA. These series came out in 2010 -- so a 3 year upgrade cycle is the mean it looks like.

I would guess components that require a motherboard upgrade follow a cycle that's closer to a console cycle among the average PC gamer/casual system builder.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By Mitch101 on 11/15/2013 9:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think the 10 year cycle on Xbox One is BS and heres why.

This time around Microsoft is not selling the consoles at a loss. They are making a profit from day one - no pun intended. With that there is no X years and X games for them to wait for the consumer to purchase to make profits. They make profits on the hardware, software, subscription at launch. With the 360 they sold at a loss and needed to sell I believe at least 3-5 games before they started making a profit on the consumer. Because of the new model of NOT selling at a loss there can be an XBox Two that lets say is Fully backwards compatible with XBox ONE because it will just be the latest CPU/GPU combo that exists 5 years from now. Lets say in 5 years it does 4k games. You can have the same game compatible with both it just loads the higher textures for the beefier console. You then wind up with a $200.00 720/1080P Xbox one console and a well lets say 2160P Xbox two console. Your now catering to the 1080P people and the 4K people and since there is no loss on hardware, software, subscription you cater to the low and high end with two consoles. Just theoretical but I think we will see the successor in 5 years when 4K gains traction and AMD CPU/GPU reaches that level.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By ritualm on 11/17/2013 1:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
It's not likely to be 10 years, Mitch. Maybe half that. Even so, 10 years is likely going to be how long its supported (not necessarily selling) until Microsoft declares it EOL.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By Mitch101 on 11/18/2013 10:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes good point 10 years support with successor in 5 years.


RE: Ps4 - peasant box 4?
By retrospooty on 11/16/2013 10:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
"Of all your comments this one in particular seemed the most insane and devoid of fact"

How can you pick just one? There are so many to choose from.


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