The PS4 has officially been in the hands of gamers for a month now, and for the most part those gamers who purchased one have been happy with its abilities. It suffered a bit in the network connectivity department during the US and European launches, but overall it’s been a pretty stable next-gen gaming console.
Sony made it clear that it focused on gaming while designing the PS4, which led to many of its new features that weren’t entirely present on the PS3. Five of these innovations truly stand out as noteworthy additions or changes to the Playstation way of gaming, and each one offers a reason to own a PS4. Head on down below to see the five best new features of the PS4, and to find out which one stands out from the pack.
5. Social Sharing
The socialization of gaming is here to stay whether you like it or not, and the PS4 makes it easier than ever to share your gaming exploits with other gamers and your followers. With a simple press of a button on the Dualshock 4 you can instantly share a screenshot, a gameplay clip, or start a livestream. Once you select the type of share you want you can then share the content to Facebook or Twitter for others to see.
This process is so simple it’s ridiculous, and it has more uses than just showing off your gameplay exploits. For example, if you make “Let’s Play” vids, or write about video games and need assets to use, you can grab the footage right from your own PS4 for use. Having the ability to grab the exact screenshots you want to use in a game review, preview, or even a walkthrough is a godsend for people who write about video games for a hobby, or a living. Sharing gameplay to social networks may not sound like a useful tool, but once you use it a few times on the PS4 its merits become clear.
Sharing a recorded gameplay clip, or just a static screenshot is neat, but they’re not very interactive. Luckily the PS4 also has the ability to stream live gameplay to Twitch or Ustream in seconds flat, and without the need of an additional device to do so. This feature turns gaming on the PS4 into a community experience that allows other gamers to interact with you while you play games, effectively allowing anyone to become a video game broadcaster.
This is accomplished through the PS4’s sharing button, and the excellent UI that wraps the livestream with a skin that allows you to see comments on your stream. With this setup you can interact with people watching your stream, and as long as they’re not all trolls, you can have a semi-enjoyable experience interacting with other gamers.
Livestreaming may be coming to the Xbox One in 2014, but right now the only place to livestream on a console without the need of additional hardware is the PS4, so if that is important to you, then you should align yourself with Sony’s latest gaming console.
The user interface on the PS3 left much to be desired. It was cluttered, menus were buried, and it just didn’t flow well. This is far from the case with the PS4’s UI. It’s simplistic, minimalistic, and fast. The speed is definitely the most impressive part of the PS4’s UI – games install in just a few minutes, and switching between open apps is snappy.
The main window sports large square icons representing the games and apps you have installed on the PS4. When you hover over an app all sorts of dynamic information pops up giving you insights into how your friends fared with the game, as well as trophies earned and other in-game information.
The PS4’s UI is very zen-like, but full of information, which is a nice departure from the messy PS3 UI. It allows you to easily navigate the PS4’s feature set, and best of all it’s extremely speedy, allowing you to get back to gaming faster than ever before.
2. Dualshock 4
The improved Dualshock 4 may not be a feature based on the definition of the word, but it’s easily one of the best new additions to the PS4 package. The DS4 just feels like it is meant to be in your hands, which wasn’t the case with the DS3. The PS4’s controller doesn’t feel cheap anymore, and there’s a fair amount of resistance in its thumbsticks. Playing FPS games feel much more natural with the DS4 than the DS3, and this feeling translates to other types of games as well.
The share button makes distributing your gameplay easier than ever before, and there’s also a touchpad on the Dualshock 4 that actually works depending on how a particular developer utilizes it. The light on the controller is slightly odd at first, but once you see it reflecting your character’s status in a game, the gimmick does pay off a bit. In the end the only thing that matters is how the controller feels in your hands, and the Dualshock 4 feels right at home.
1. Remote Play
The most interesting new feature of the PS4 is its ability to stream games to a PS Vita unit. The PS3 could do the same with the PSP and Vita, but the experience was less than stellar. That isn’t the case at all with the PS4. Streaming high-end games to the Vita works flawlessly as long as you have a strong Wi-Fi connection on the Vita, and the PS4 tied to it is hard wired into your network.
If you have limited TVs this feature will really come in handy thanks to its ability to free up the big screen by displaying the game you’re playing on a Vita. What’s even better is the fact that high-end PS4 games actually maintain most of their graphical fidelity when they’re streaming on the Vita. FPS games require some odd button configurations that utilize the Vita’s rear touch-panel to play on the Vita, but for the most part any PS4 game can be successfully played on the mobile device.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that if you can find a super strong and stable Wi-Fi connection, you can technically play PS4 games on your Vita from any location that has Internet access. Considering how well the PS4’s remote play feature works just one month into the console’s lifespan, there’s no doubt that it’ll get even better as time marches on, and Sony makes improvements.
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