The PlayStation 4 is the fourth video game console produced by the Sony Corporation, and was released November 15th in North America and November 29th in Europe and Australia. It uses the x86 processor and 8GB of GDDR5 memory, making it much more PC-like (and easier to code for) than Sony’s previous console, the PlayStation 3. It is capable of streaming games via Gaikai’s streaming service, and features options such as gameplay video sharing, instant game resume from hibernation, a robust social network-like friends list, PS Vita integration & remote play, and background uploading and downloading. The new controller also gives players new input options via a touchpad and motion sensor light bar.
For the first time on a Sony console, a paid membership to their PlayStation Plus program will be required to play online multiplayer on the PS4. Free-to-play & subscription-based games are however exempt, as are other online services such as Netflix. A single PS+ membership applies across the PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 consoles.
During Sony’s Gamescom 2014 briefing, the company announced that as of August 10th 2014 they had sold 10 million PS4 units to consumers. On March 3, 2015 Sony revealed the console had surpassed 20 million PS4 units sold to consumers.
Sony officially announced the PlayStation 4 on February 20, 2013 at a 2 hour event called PlayStation Meeting 2013, which was hosted by Andrew House & held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
The hardware specifications and interface of the new console were presented by Mark Cerny, who also showed off the newly redesigned DualShock 4 controller.
Gaikai CEO, David Perry, took the stage to talk about the potential their streaming and cloud gaming service can bring to the console.
Various developers then took the stage to show a few of the games & concepts being developed for the platform, including DriveClub, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Watch_Dogs, The Witness, and inFamous: Second Son. The console itself was not revealed at this event.
Launch Console & Software
The public got its first look at the console on stage at Sony’s press conference at E3 on June 10th, 2013, where it was revealed that it will cost $399 (US), contain a 500GB hard drive, and be packed with a controller and headset (ear bud + cord mic).
On August 20th 2013 at Gamescom in Germany, Sony revealed the console would be released November 15th 2013 in the US and November 29th in Europe.
The following games launched with the PS4:
- Angry Birds Star Wars
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
- Battlefield 4
- Blacklight: Retribution
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- DC Universe Online
- Escape Plan
- FIFA 14
- Injustice: Gods Among Us
- Just Dance 2014
- Killzone: Shadow Fall
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
- Madden NFL 25
- NBA 2K14
- NBA Live 14
- Need For Speed: Rivals
- Skylanders: Swap Force
- Sound Shapes
- Super Motherload
- Switch Galaxy Ultra
- Trine 2: The Complete Story
The PlayStation 4 launched with the following digital entertainment apps in North America:
- Music Unlimited
- Video Unlimited
- Amazon Instant Video
- NBA Game Time
- NHL GameCenter
- Redbox Instant
DualShock 4 Controller
The PlayStation 4 uses the DualShock 4 controller. It is similar to previous DualShock controllers at first glance, but it contains a few significant additions & alterations:
- Touch Pad – The center of the controller now features a touch pad in the center, capable of dual-touch input.
- Speaker & Headphone Jack – Below the touch pad is an external speaker for game sounds, and on the bottom of the controller is a headphone jack for headset communication.
- Light Bar – At the top of the controller is a color-changing light bar that is used in conjunction with the PlayStation 4 Eye to detect the movement & position of the player, very similar in function to the PlayStation Move controller.
- New Buttons – The hallmark “Start” & “Select” buttons that existed on every other PlayStation controller have been completely removed, with two new buttons flanking either side of the touch pad:
- Share button – To the left of the touch pad is the Share button, which allows players to upload gameplay screenshots & video with people on their friends list or on social media services.
- Options button – To the right of the touch pad is the Options button, which serves the function of the old Start button, for things like pausing the game and bringing up the in-game menus.
- Analog Sticks & Triggers Re-designed – The analog sticks are now concave, and the L2 & R2 buttons are more trigger-shaped, more similar to both the Dreamcast and Xbox 360 controllers.
The DualShock 4 is available in Jet Black during the launch of PlayStation 4, and in Wave Blue and Magma Red on November 29th for Europe and before the end of 2013 for North America
Sony is leveraging its $380 million acquisition of the cloud service Gaikai in the PlayStation 4. Gaikai CEO Dave Perry announced that the service will be fully integrated with the new system to provide background downloading of games, streaming of game content, and potentially providing backwards compatibility with the PS1, PS2 and PS3 libraries in the future. A major feature will be the ability to play instant demos on the new system, without the need to download files locally. Upon further clarification with Shuhei Yoshida, president of Worldwide Studios of Sony Computer Entertainment, not all games on the system will contain this feature, but Sony is “highly recommending” implementation. In addition, the Share functionality of the PS4 is tied to Gaikai, allowing for players on the system to share their gameplay to social networks such as Facebook and Ustream.
Sony announced during their 2013 E3 press conference that the service would not be available at launch, but would be available sometime in 2014. The open beta for Playstation Now, the game streaming service powered by technology from Gaikai, began on July 31st 2014 in North America. It’s only on the PS4 for now, but the company said it plans to later expand the service to other Sony gaming platforms.
PlayStation 2 Emulation
Months before its official announcement at PlayStation Experience 2015 on Decemeber 4th, rumors of PS2 emulation for the PS4 begin to surface. On November 19th, Sony confirmed the existence of the PS2 emulation technology after the release of the PS4 Star Wars Battlefront bundles on November 17th, which came with four Star Wars games, three of which were PS2 games (Star Wars: Race Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter.)
Eight games were released during it’s initial launch for $9.99 or $14.99:
- Grand Theft Auto 3
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice CIty
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Dark Cloud
- The Mark of Kri
- Twisted Metal: Black
- War of the Monsters
- Rogue Galaxy
They are neither HD Remasters or PS2 Classics releases like on the PS3. Unlike HD remasters, they do not have physical retail releases, only digital. Even the Star Wars game that come with the Battlefront bundles are vouchers for digital codes. Also, these games run on emulation unlike HD Remasters which are ported to run natively on the PS3 hardware. However, unlike the PS2 Classics, these are up-scaled to 1080p, run at higher frame-rates, supports trophies as well as PS4 social and connectivity features such as Live Broadcast, Share Play, and Remote Play.
PlayStation 4 Pro
After 3 years of PlayStation 4 being on the market, Sony surprised the gaming world, when they announced an updated version of the console. The console was created to allow gaming on 4K television sets, and to allow Ultra HD content to be streamed through services like NetFlix, Hulu, etc. To achieve this, Sony overclocked the CPU of the original PS4 while updating the GPU. The console was released November 10 2016 for 399$. Sony has made clear that the console is only for the 4K upgrade and will not require gamers to replace their original PS4.
- PDF released by SCEI on February 21, 2013 after announcing the console
- PDF released by SCEI on June 10, 2013 following Sony’s E3 press conference, with additional system specs
|Main Processor||Single-chip custom processor|
CPU: x86-64 AMD “Jaguar,” 8 cores at 1.6GHz (overclocked to 2.1GHz on PS4 Pro)
Original: 1.84 TFLOPS based on AMD custom graphics core next engine
Pro: 4.19 TFLOPS based on the AMD Polaris 10 graphics engine
|Memory||GDDR5 8GB (Unified)|
|Hard Disk Drive||Original: 500 GB (Built-in, user-replaceable)|
Pro: 1 TB (Build in, user-replaceable)
|External Dimensions||275×53×305 mm (width × height × length) (tentative)|
|Blu-ray 6x CAV|
DVD 8x CAV
|I/O||Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0) port x2, AUX port x1|
|Communication||Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)|
IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth® 2.1 (EDR)
|AV output||HDMI OUT port|
DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) port
|Included||PlayStation 4 system x1|
Wireless DUALSHOCK 4 controller x1
Mono headset x1
AC power cord x1
HDMI cable x1
USB cable x1
Newer SKU’s – release info
|Playstation 4 Slim||Playstation 4 Pro|
|Release Date||September 15, 2016||November 10, 2016|
|Release Price||$299 / £259 / AU$440||$399 / £349 / AU$559|
|Storage||500GB @ 5400 rpm||1TB @ 5400 rpm|
|Weight (approx.)||4.6 pounds / 2.1 kg||7.2 pounds / 3.3 kg|
(L × W × H)
|11 x 10 x 1.5 inches|
28.8 × 26.5 × 3.9 cm
|12.8 x 11.6 x 2.1 inches|
32.7 x 29.5 × 5.5 cm