The seven big little details we love about the PlayStation four (so far)

The seven big little details we love about the PlayStation four (so far)


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Having spent the last year using the PlayStation four at trade shows and press events, we’ve got a fairly good idea of how games look and play on the parallelogram-shaped game box. The questions that remain largely revolve around living with the device: can it quickly switch inbetween apps and games? how stable is online play? is voice talk clear? That kinda thing.

We can’t response every query just yet, but we did spend the morning at Sony’s NYC review event getting a better idea of the intricacies of the PlayStation Four. Below we’ve collective our dearest highlights, from party talk on a system level across all apps, to the "Play as a guest" feature — head below and dive in with us.

Party Talk is actually party talk

Unlike the PlayStation Three’s paltry group talk suggesting, the PlayStation Four’s party talk is true to its name: eight person talk rooms that stay connected regardless of what each of those eight party members is doing on their own PS4. That means groups can hop from game to game seamlessly, keeping friends together in the process. You can even incorporate Vita pals into the mix and vice-versa.

What’s more, that eight person limitation is only a constraint of individual talk lobbies. Should you have enough friends online (with a Two,000 person list, you most likely will), numerous lobbies are an option. This could lead to some delightfully nefarious screenplays, like one player in two lobbies on contesting teams acting as a dual agent, tho’ we imagine the numerous lobby function to mostly apply to social butterflies.

Broadcasting gameplay has an adorable PlayStation-themed standby screen

No doubt one of PlayStation Four’s most touted features is its live game broadcast functionality, pushing live gameplay directly to streaming services like Ustream and In a demo we spotted of the service this morning, setting up streaming is a snap: choose which service you’d like to stream to, whether you want to incorporate your own audio input via mic, and whether to permit comments.

If, while live broadcasting, you choose to take a break, why not simply alert viewers and put them in standby mode? A click of the PlayStation button brings you back to the PS4’s dashboard, which cuts the broadcast stream and puts up a blue PlayStation standby screen to viewers with a dancing set of triangle/X/O/square buttons. Yes, that last part is as delightful as it sounds. Consider it the "Indian Head Test Pattern" from RCA of the modern era. Oh, and an "on air" indicator in the dashboard lets you know that broadcasting is still live should you leave behind.

The PS Home button can be double-tapped to quickly come back to the last app in use

You’re playing Killzone: Shadow Fall when, abruptly, a boss devastates you and you’re clueless as to how to proceed. You’ve got no time to suffer fools, so you hop into the PS4 internet browser and look up a solution to the problem. Rather than thrust the PS Home button once more to come back to the dashboard and once again leap into Killzone, you can simply double-tap the PS Home button to quickly leap inbetween the two active applications. Of course, that’s just one application — the PS Home button double-tap permits you to quickly switch inbetween any two active apps. Pretty neat, and certainly convenient!

"Play as a guest" permits you to sign in and access PSN content anywhere, but keeps your info safe

Similarly to the Xbox One’s Gamertags, PlayStation Four’s PSN ID permits you to log in to any PS4 console and access all your content from that box via "Play as a guest" mode. It’s not fairly as fully featured as XB1’s system (which fastens even your system preferences to the Gamertag), but it does have one unique feature that Microsoft’s console does not: the PS4 you’re using as a guest scrapes all your individual content from the guest box on logout. That means everything from your credit card info to even your PSN ID gets permanently eliminated in one fell swoop.

Should you have two PlayStation four consoles in your house, you can have both signed in under a single PSN ID at once — anything beyond that and your access is cut on the box using your guest account.

Trophies from PlayStation three and Vita display up alongside PS4; PS4 adds "rarity" metric

With next-generation game consoles comes next-generation meta prizes for playing games, evidently. The PlayStation Four’s Trophy system is getting a bit of an overhaul on the fresh PlayStation, with both viewing Vita and PlayStation three Trophies available and a fresh rarity meter indicating how many people worldwide have unlocked individual accomplishments. One more chance to tell your friend Travis how much better you are than him at movie games.

The PlayStation Store is actually organized

A single left rail permits players to lightly select inbetween major categories on the PS4 Store’s game section: featured titles (read: big games), indies, free to play, and even PS3 to PS4. That last category is specifically intended to facilitate the deal that Sony’s suggesting on gamers transitioning this holiday’s big games from last generation to the next for $Ten apiece. We didn’t see the entire store in activity, but what was there was vastly improved in terms of navigation.

You can power USB devices while the console is off

Yes! Yes, indeed! As part of the PlayStation Four’s standby mode, you can enable the console to charge USB devices even while it’s (technically) turned off. No more keeping the console on to charge controllers! Or to charge anything else, for that matter! It’s a minor detail, but boy is it an significant one.

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