PS4 hits November 15 for $399: What you need to know (hands-on)

PS4 hits November 15 for $399: What you need to know (hands-on)

By | Sep 13, 2013

The PlayStation 4 is almost here.

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 Xbox One — 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.

Along with the console, Sony has also confirmed a large list of PS4 games due to be released before the end of the year.

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.

Hands-on
At first glance, it’s difficult to see any real discernible difference between the PlayStation 4′s DualShock 4 and the DualShock 3 of the PS3, but after a few seconds the differences are readily apparent if you’ve spent a good amount of time playing PS3 games.

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.

Design
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.

Used games: Yes (mostly)
The Xbox One had generated controversy because of its onerous digital rights management policies, including requiring daily Internet connections and account verification — even for single-player games.

PlayStation Plus and PS4
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.

Video content and services
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.

Hardware
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.

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