It has been six months since the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One hit the market. Sony has sold more than seven million units while the Microsoft's flagship gaming console has sold over five million devices (Sony's numbers refer to sales to consumers while Microsoft's involve sales to retailers). The numbers show the PS4 has had an impressive run so far, and here is why:
The first thing that strikes you when you unbox the PS4 is its impeccable appearance. With sharp edges and a blend of matte and gloss finish, the PS4 looks like a gaming console Batman would keep in his dungeon to unwind.
It looks nothing like the PS3. The PS3 was good-looking, but people not aware about the latest in the field of gaming could have easily mistaken it for a DVD player or any other tame media device.
A Parisian store shows the joystick of the Sony Playstation 4 video game console (PS4). Photo: AFP/Joel Saget
The PS4, however, looks next-gen with its sleek and sharp contours. An LED strip gives the console a futuristic look while also helping the user differentiate between various states of operation.
Looks, however, are the last thing on the mind of a gamer who wants to kick some virtual baddy butt. Good thing: the PS4 takes the cake here too. The functioning and transitions in the PS4 operating system are seamless. With its powerful hardware, the console gives the user fluid performance with better graphics than the PS3.
The PS4 has one variant with 500GB HDD capacity — which is user replaceable — and 8GB RAM.
The next big thing about the Sony gaming console is its DualShock 4 controller. The latest controller is bigger in size than its predecessor — the DualShock 3 — and much better. The DualShock 4 has an ergonomic design which makes its triggers user-friendly.
The handles of the DualShock 4 are also longer and easier to grip. But, like we said earlier, looks are the last thing on an avid gamer's mind when it comes to the real action.
People attend the PlayStation 4 launch event in New York. Photo: Reuters
The operational delight in the controller is a headphone jack-point that lets you use any 3.5mm set. There is also an integrated speaker that gives you audio prompts from the game you are playing. The DualShock 4 also has a futuristic track-pad. Though a lot of games do not support the functionality yet, it is a great utility for the ones that do. In Killzone, for example, the pad can be used to control a drone to attack an enemy among other things. The track-pad can also be used as a mouse in the PS4's web browser.
The DualShock 4 controller also has a glow panel that shows unique colours for different players. The light panel also changes colours with fluctuating sound and movement patterns in a game.
The PS4's OS is beautiful with large-scale expansion in functionality. It gives users a view of all installed content in a single bar. The design is easy to navigate, but overcrowding of content could pose a problem. When you hover over a game icon, the OS shows you your friends' latest activity, including in-game photos, videos, etc. The seamless multitasking capability allows the user to jump across games and apps with ease.
A visitor plays 'Call Duty Ghosts,' a first-person shooter game on Sony's PlayStation 4. Photo: AFP / Toshifumi Kitamura
There is another type of ease the PS4 delivers — one pertaining to networking. There is a group messaging feature in the PS4 and users can now identify their friends with their real names. There is also the option of a cross-game party chat. With the help of the new 'share' system, players can record and broadcast videos to social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Ustream, etc. Broadcasting wasn't easy previously, but it sure is now.
The PS4 is the perfect mix of hardware and software. The DualShock 4 is a cherry on the cake. Not to forget, the PS4 is cheaper than the Xbox One. In the US, the PS4 — with a price tag of $399 — is $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. The PS4, however, sells the camera accessory separately at an additional price of $60, a feature that comes as default with the Xbox One.
The advanced technology Sony has used in the PS4 means the device is here to stay for a long time.
Mark Cerny, lead system architect for the Sony Playstation 4, speaks during a news conference to announce the new video game console in New York. Photo: AP
Sony has also announced that two projects: PlayStation Now and a Sony online TV service will be effective before the year ends. While PS Now deals with real-time game streaming to the PS4 and other consoles manufactured by the Japanese firm, the online TV services, if rumours are to be believed, could be an app that streams video.
The PS4 can be used vertically, saving you space on a populated surface. But vents placed at the back of the sleek machine mean that they would get blocked if you choose to keep the device inside a cabinet.
The trophy stats can be a bit perplexing and low on utility. One has to cut through the clutter to reach useful information such as gaming screenshots. Also, with just six months into the PS4's existence, a lot still needs to be done in terms of game development and innovation. But all that is part of the 'game' when it comes to new technology.
The PS4's story so far has been one of success and with impressive sales and wide user appreciation, this gaming console remains to be the best bet in the market.