PS4 Review: Sony Evolves, Not Revolutionizes the PlayStation

The PS4 is a more grown up piece of hardware that's matured along with its core gaming audience, housed in an attractive system worth showing off

Whether you like the PlayStation 4 will essentially depend on what kind of person — not gamer — you are.

The PlayStation 4, which replaces the seven-year-old PlayStation 3, couldn’t be more Sony in its overall design. It’s sleek in a very conservative way, modern but cold, and completely obsessed with its high-tech abilities but awkward in the way it presents it all. If the Xbox One is the kid who likes to command attention to brag how cool he is, the PS4 is the smart one who is uncomfortable in the spotlight. It comes across in the marketing, and the final product.

One of the biggest problems with the PS3 has always been its unnecessarily confusing user interface — an overly complicated and unattractive series of screens that felt almost off-putting. That is often the case of the interfaces found on most electronics hardware for any company — software designed by tech geeks and not prettied up by designers with a creative eye.

But the PS4 packages things in a far more friendlier way, relying on tiles (a very Microsoft way of doing things) to show off games and entertainment apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Walmart’s Vudu. PlayStation’s obsession with its icy blue color palette will always make it feel cold, but its new software helps it warm up its appeal.

SEE ALSO: Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu Among 11 Entertainment Apps to Launch with PlayStation 4

The entire system is easy and quick to set up, once you get through the usual lengthy process of pecking out your email addresses and passwords. There aren’t a lot of cords required, just a power and HDMI cord that connects to a TV or home theater system.

And the games on the PS4 look great — they should, given the list of technical enhancements packed inside the slim case. While Sony likes to talk about the number of teraflops inside its new machine, consumers only need to know it’s a powerful device that eliminates long loading times when playing games or other glitchy features found in the now older-generation of consoles.

It’s also seamless in the way it can quickly switch from a game to an app with the click of a button.

But the PS4 seems designed more for the hardcore gamer — a major selling point for the gaming community.

Sony’s new DualShock 4 controller for the PS4 is a marvel. The entire controller has been redesigned to feel more ergonomic, lighter, and include a touchpad and larger trigger-like buttons that feel less like an afterthought. A built-in speaker borrows from the Wii U and will enable publishers to pipe in sounds during gameplay. A share button on the device also makes posting to social media a breeze.

A button on the controller enables users to share clips of games, and the PlayStation camera enables them to record themselves playing and post to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter instantly or live stream to Twitch and Ustream. Expect YouTube to soon be flooded with more videos of people staring at a screen with a controller in their hand.

Sony’s also been smart to turn its handheld Vita into a second screen device and remote control.

But gaming is the core purpose of consoles like the PlayStation 4. No longer must it do much of the heavy lifting to boost Hollywood’s homevideo industry and grow Blu-ray as a new format the way the PS3 did. This time, the PS4 is about delivering games with better graphics and more connectivity with other gamers without unneeded distractions.

Yet as a hub for the digital streaming of movies, TV shows and music, the PS4 is also an important platform. Netflix’s own redesigned interface looks great on the PS4 and will help make the streaming service an even bigger draw for people and its original programming. If Sony can figure out how to make owning digital copies of films more attractive through the PS4 (the way Comcast plans to do through its cable boxes), Hollywood could have an important new ally on its hands as it looks to steer consumers away from rentals.

For $399, the PS4 is attractively priced and you get a lot for your money (the PS3 originally launched at around $500 to $600). Microsoft’s Xbox One costs $499, but comes bundled with the Kinect motion and voice sensor; Sony’s PlayStation Camera is sold separately.

Is the PlayStation 4 a device that will revolutionize gaming? Hardly. But Sony shows that it’s clearly taken notes over the years, eliminating many of the annoyances of the bulkier PS3 that came before it. It’s a more grown up piece of hardware that’s matured along with its core gaming audience, housed in an attractive system worth showing off, that along with Microsoft’s Xbox One will prove an important player in cementing video games’ position in the entertainment industry and convert those that have been holding off so far on investing in a gaming console.

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  1. Aggh says:

    So even with ps4 being my pick for this generation, this article sounds to me like it was written by a sony schill.

  2. michael pearson says:

    I’m an XBox One owner currently. And I love it.

    But my $100 Kinect remains unplugged. Yeah, I know Microsoft “got” me by tacking it on.

    I’ll be awaiting side-by-side comparisons of graphics/performance of the two systems. If the PS4 exclusives are that good, I’ll wait for a third party controller manufacturer to construct an Xbox styled PS4 controller (as they did previously) and then purchase a PS4.

    I’m actually hoping the PS4 comes out on top. As a gamer, I think Sony is more attuned to what we want (but that controller is not as comfortable as the One’s).

  3. Mike says:

    For u ppl talking smack on how these consoles can’t support 4k…. You are idiots. It wont probably be until the next consoles arrive that 4k televisions will even be in most homes, and even affordable at that.

  4. YOLO!! Guys come check out the PS4 review!! Its amazing right here!!

  5. craig says:

    I’m satisfied with PS4 interface. I just need to fill it with games and those are not cheap. Too bad I found this deal AFTER I’ve purchased Killzone.. 10 bucks went down the drain :(

    • braindead006 says:

      ha-ha-ha… I guess I’ve read the post on time – was just about to buy KILLZONE, what a coincidence. Will use $10 towards Watchdogs.

  6. Waste of money. Just get yourself a really good Desktop. Checkout why the new consoles are a waste at pmme2, under the Playstation forum.

  7. John K says:

    WTF is this???? ” A built-in speaker borrows from the Wii U and will enable publishers to pipe in sounds during gameplay. A share button on the device also makes posting to social media a breeze.”

    The Wii u??? does this person even know what article theyre writing?

  8. Harry says:

    Brandon get lost the Xbox one is an updated version of the PS3 I read the specs and basically it is an updated ps3 the ps4 is a way better console more advanced and way more powerful than the Xbox one.

  9. Harry says:

    Great review just another reason I’m 100% satisfied for choosing my ps4. Sure I’m planning on getting the Xbox one but purely for it’s exclusives.but my ps4 will be the main reason for all my gaming I loved the exclusives on the PS3 and playing Multi platform Games I fell in love with the ps3 and since then I never played on my Xbox 360 and now the 360 is collecting dust particles. Cannot wait for my PS4 to come on Nov 29 I fell in love with the look and the design of the ps4 and I’m more excited about the great exclusives the ps4 is going to get.

    • Trevor says:

      Exactly brother, uncharted 4 got announced two days ago, and if your a fan of demon souls there is supposedly a second one in development for ps4 :D

      • Harry says:

        No I had no idea a demon’s soul 2 is possibly coming but I have heard about uncharted 4 and I’m so excited. All Xbox fanboys made fun of the lack of games on the ps4 but none of them could remember that when the ps3 was launched it also had unimpressive games but fast forward a few years and the PS3 truly by miles have the best exclusives and many of my friends who owned 360 wanted to get a ps3. So even though the launch exclusives is not so impressive for the PS4 just you wait the great exclusives are coming and it has actually began with the announcement of uncharted 4 which already is a better exclusive than any Xbox one exclusive. The more I read the comments posted by Xbox fanboys the less I want an Xboner one. This coming from an ex Xbox 360 owner. The day I made the switch to PS3 was the greatest decision ever

  10. Trevor says:

    Careful Brandon, you don’t have a clue what the xbox one reviews are going to say…

    • Brandon says:

      It will be the same system with more features and I have always liked MS exclusives better and for fps’s there is no better controller!

      • Trevor says:

        Clearly you haven’t kept up with the time, exclusives that’s a subjective topic I personally like the variety of ps exclusive ie infamous, uncharted, demon souls, beyond two souls the list goes on and all those games I mention there are very very different, anyway back to your controller comment. Jeff from giant bomb ( I believe that’s his name I can’t remember) has said although there can be a slight frame rate drop in cod ghosts ( big sell for xbox) on ps4 he much rather play with the dualshock 4. So basically what in saying is that no longer does xbox have the “best” controller for fps games

  11. Brandon says:

    Exactly it’s ps3.5 this article just confirmed it looks like xbox one it is!

    • Harry says:

      Some info for Brandon:

      Call of Duty ghosts
      1080p on ps4
      720p on Xbox one

      Battlefield 4
      1080p on PS4
      720p on Xbox one

      Assassins creed 4
      1080p PS4
      900p Xbox one

      720p Xbox one

      D4 720p

      Dead rising 3

      720p is so last generation and the frame rate problem on Ghosts for PS4 is going to be fixed through an update so in that department of resolution and frame rate ps4 wins.

      And I agree I have heard several people saying the Dualshock 4 is much better than the Xbox one controller that had gotten bigger. So Brandon will have a huge console, a big kinect, a big controller and a lame power brick something Sony never had because they know how to design and built a console something MS cannot do. And anyone who said the Xbox 360 was more powerful than the PS3 please go get your brain checked. The ps3 was so powerful that none of the ps3 exclusives was able to be played on the Xbox 360

      • Justin says:

        All valid points. But to be rational here. PS3 was also a stronger piece of kit over X360 in terms of hardware, but by the end we have Fifa 14 running 720p on PS3 vs 1080p on X360.

        With that said, both 720p AND 1080p are last generation. That these devices can’t handle 4k is disappointing. The resolution difference is due to XB1 requiring more overhead for its 3 Operating Systems. (10% of CPU reserved for Kinect, since it’s always listening, and watching for commands.), also the SDK provided to developers isn’t fully complete. All the games you mentioned were developed on PS3 and X360, then ported to the new systems. The true test of power is in the games actually developed on the new hardware (the exclusives). Also remains to be seen with updates how much resources Microsoft will free up for developers. Also how developers use the new cloud computing platform for XB1. If their cloud computing is handling some of the computing, it frees up a lot for the system. As it stands, the PS4 is a stronger gaming platform, and the XB1 is slotted to be a stronger media platform. Which may not sound like much, but when considering how many people purchased PS3 for BluRay, or consoles for Netflix, there is obviously a big market there too.

        Personally, I don’t plan on getting either just yet. Going to wait until after Christmas to see which system makes more sense to me based on games, reliability, and how well it’ll integrate into my living room.

    • Devilgoku says:

      just like you say, the Xbox One will be Xbox 360.5

  12. Don says:

    Great review. Amazing how truth can easily be lost among tons of “gaming” websites and reviews.

    • Harry says:

      I thought the same when I finished reading the review. This is a great review so many critics have began to point out all the negativity of the PS4 it is going to be interesting to see what types of reviews the Xbox one will receive and if the critics is only going to target the PS4 which would show how immature they really are. And again so many people make fun of all the problems a small percentage of PS4 owners are having with their consoles but those people don’t understand that the Xbox one will also have problems just as the Xbox 360 had multiple faults.

  13. informed purchaser says:

    The revolution started this morning with PS4.
    You are not ready!

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