Road Test: Sony PS4
Road Test: Sony PS4
Greatness in waiting
Next-generation gaming consoles are big news given that they’re only released once ever y decade or so. Launched around seven years after its predecessor, the PS4 smashed sales records with 4.2m units being sold by 28 December 2013 following its launch just before Christmas – despite analysts’ suggestions that smartphones and tablets have destroyed the market for gaming consoles. The Playstation is very much alive and kicking. Finweek finally got its hands (read: my) on this next-gener-ation machine and have been furiously mashing away at launch titles to bring you this review.
I was a f irst-generation Playstation owner and remember the massive leap forward that games seemed to take with the PS2. The PS3 was another major improvement in terms of graphics, performance and the depth developers could bring to their creations. With the PS4, however, things don’t seem that profound. It’s early days, to be fair, and we’re yet to see the full extent of what can be achieved with this beefy new hardware but for the most part, it feels like more of the same. The graphics are certainly more impressive than those of the PS3, but not incredibly so, and the PS4 is missing some important functionality for any modern console. Now don’t get me wrong – I love the PS4. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware and the switch to x86 architecture means that it’s going to get an amazing range of games in time. It’s a pity that you can’t play your old PS3 titles on it, but I’m sure that developers will eventually bring across the most popular titles from the previous generation.
In some ways, however, the PS4 actually feels like a downgrade from the PS3 – especially when it comes to media centre capabilities. There’s currently no good way for the PS4 to play videos and other media from a server on your network, which the PS3 was very good at. This alone means that the PS4 does less out of the box than the PS3 and was a massive let-down to many early adopters. Sony will definitely nitely beef up the PS4 as a media dia centre device via future software updates, but for me this was pretty frustrating.
Not ever yone e uses their gaming consoles for media, however. r. Fair enough. So let’s focus on gaming.
There are great launch titles available for the PS4, such as LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and Assassin’s Creed IV. The graphics are amazing, but the games aren’t that different from versions available for the PS3. There isn’t a massive range of titles to choose from yet and some popular recent titles such as GTA V weren’t available at time of writing.
Put it all together and it makes it diff icult to recommend buying the PS4 right now. It’s an expensive console with a limited set of titles and little to no media centre functionality. A lot of the new features that will excite gamers aren’t available in the f irst round of games for the console either, so it feels a bit like being stuck in traffic with your brand new Ferrari. These are all short-term problems, of course. More games are coming and Sony will unleash powerful new functionality via updates. I’d wait for that, along with a lower price in the future – unless you’re an absolute enthusiast and have t o have t he l atest and greatest before a anyone else.