PlayStation 4 review: greatness awaits

PS4 has the advantage on paper and is the clear value winner of next-gen. However, it's lacking in features at launch.

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"Greatness Awaits." Sony's marketing campaign for PS4 uses the slogan as a call to arms to hardcore gamers. Whereas Sony's competitors vie for the casual market, PS4 is designed #4thePlayers--a machine that's meant to be the best gaming console out there. In many ways, it's clear that Sony has delivered upon that promise: PS4's specs advantage is well-documented, as is the love developers have shown for the platform--all while coming at a significant savings over its primary competitor. However, while PS4 has the advantage on paper, it's clear that we'll have to wait for greatness, as many PS4 features aren't quite mature yet. Design While PS4 may be "just another black box," it still makes quite the impression when you first see it. It is a tiny system, about the same as Sony's revised PS3 Slim. In fact, it even uses the same power cable as the PS3 Slim, meaning many current PlayStation users will simply be able to swap the cords from the back of their PS3 and plug them directly into PS4. Once again, there's no external power brick to deal with, either. The system is quite elegant, with the sloped design effective at hiding its two front USB ports and slot-loading disc drive. The way the light bar on the console illuminates--from blue to white when turning on--is a nice touch. It's also a quiet system, with perhaps the loudest part being the Blu-ray drive. You'll be able hear the Blu-ray drive while installing games to the console. Of course, that's a one-time procedure for every game, meaning the system will remain rather quiet once installation is complete. Small in size, quiet, and cool to the touch, PS4 is quite the engineering marvel.

The lightbar is surprisingly useful, the touchpad not so much

DualShock 4 Sony showed off DualShock 4 before it ever did the console--and for good reason, too. While it may look largely unchanged from previous iterations of DualShock controllers, Sony's made a tremendous leap for PS4. Immediately, you'll appreciate the wider, longer handles, and the concave thumbsticks, which offer a much better grip. The increased resistance of the sticks makes it far more ideal for shooters, as do the redesigned triggers. This is unquestionably the best DualShock controller Sony has ever designed. The built-in headphone jack is a nice touch, especially as it is compatible with most generic headsets. (A flimsy mono headset is included with the system.) However, more profound is the built-in speaker. Like Wii U, games can have a separate channel just for the controller. While it may seem gimmicky at first, it does add an extra layer of immersion. In Killzone: Shadow Fall, for example, you'll hear audiologs directly from the controller. To my surprise, this audio is loud, crisp, and clear. While Sony's unquestionably improved the fundamentals of their controller, DualShock 4 also features two rather unique gimmicks: the touchpad and lightbar. Surprisingly, I found only one of these features useful--and probably not the one you'd expect. The lightbar gives DualShock 4 a rather distinctive look, but it also does communicate some subtle information. In Killzone, for example, the controller would start flashing red when low on health. In Thief, the controller will glow white when no longer hiding in shadows. When playing in a dark room, the illumination of the controller actually added to the immersion, while communicating a little bit of information that wouldn't need to take up space on the HUD. However, I'm completely unimpressed by the trackpad. While it works, it's reminiscent of the rear trackpad on Vita. It seems to exist to exist, and no game convinced me that swiping or tapping was somehow better than simply using analog sticks. It is a giant button, however, so not much is lost.

Goodbye XMB, hello PlayStation Dynamic Menu

PlayStation Dynamic Menu Booting up PS4 will take you the PlayStation Dynamic Menu. Gone is the XMB, for better and for worse. Smartly, the new UI makes it easy to access "system features," like Friends, Notifications, Settings, etc. By pressing up from the home screen, you'll be able to quickly access any of these features--even while in the middle of a game. In fact, PS4 is quite excellent about multitasking, ensuring that games remain in memory regardless of what app you use. For example, I was able to start The Playroom, switch to the video editor, watch the first half of a show on Netflix, go back to the game, and then finally finish the show on Netflix--all without the game or Netflix moving from where I had left it last. You can also quickly switch from your previously-used app and game by double-tapping the PlayStation button. It may not be as convenient as "Snap" on Xbox One, but the instantaneous ability to switch between apps should suffice for most. PlayStation Dynamic Menu actually shares a lot in common with the Xbox One Dashboard. The "What's New" panel is pinned to the left, letting you see your friend activity in one Facebook-esque feed. Then, you get a chronological list of the content available on your system, with the most recently used app on the left. (Xbox One also has a Facebook-esque feed and also sorts your content by most recently used.) This way of sorting content makes your most-used content surface the fastest. However, it's easy to see the system become cluttered incredibly quickly, especially if you own multiple games. Even at launch, I felt my home screen was becoming cumbersome, as there's no way to separate games from apps from services. Here is my home screen, from left to right: What's New, Music Unlimited, TV & Video, The Playroom, Resogun, Video Unlimited, Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Internet Browser, Live from PlayStation, Library. Imagine how much lengthier that list will be as time goes by.

Kevin Butler would be sad

It Only Did Everything... The move away from XMB highlights how Sony's priorities have changed for PS4. PS3 "only did everything," and the UI reflected that. You knew the system could play photos, music, videos, and games because everything was dumped into those categories. PlayStation Dynamic Menu obfuscates what PS4 can and cannot do. And it seems PS4 cannot do much. There's no video player, for example, meaning you won't be able to stick in a USB drive and watch MP4 videos on your system. There's no support for MP3 playback, and there's no visualizers to use--an odd decision, given how lovely PS3's visualizers were. The app selection at launch is also quite limited. Crucially, there's no YouTube app, although the internet browser does support streaming video. In terms of media support, PS4 is clearly a step backwards from PS3--disappointing, considering the $400 investment you'll have to make to jump generations.

Voice commands don't require a camera; you can use the headset

Voice Recognition One way to sort through your PS4 content easily is through voice recognition, which works with or without PlayStation Camera. (You can use the included headset instead.) To use voice commands, you must first say "PlayStation," much like you would say "Xbox" to Kinect. Remarkably, it works incredibly well, with PS4 able to detect phrases like "Killzone Shadow Fall" instantly. However, there aren't enough commands recognized by PS4 for voice recognition to be viable. Only apps that are on the PlayStation Dynamic Menu are recognized. Frustratingly, that means you can't say "PlayStation, go to Netflix," as that lives one level too deep for voice commands. You also can't say things like "PlayStation, show my trophies." You can say "PlayStation, turn off," and then confirm it with two more voice commands afterwards. However, it would simply be faster to use the controller. In fact, it's often easier just to use the controller for tasks. For example, "PlayStation, Home Screen" takes much longer than simply pressing the PS button. You can't search the PlayStation Store through voice commands and you can't navigate with voice in most apps, making voice recognition half-assed and largely useless for now.

Remote Play almost works as advertised

Remote Play Perhaps one of the coolest and most unique features of PS4 is Remote Play which lets you use a Vita handheld to stream PS4 games and content. Sony attempted to implement the same feature on PS3 via PSP, but it was clearly ahead of its time: many games were too laggy to be played with any semblance of enjoyment. Remarkably, Remote Play works better on PS4 and Vita, although it still isn't an entirely lag-free experience. Knack looks gorgeous on Vita's OLED screen, and there's no discernible lag in the video on Vita and on the TV whilst playing co-op. However, I found that double-jumping became quite difficult in Remote Play, likely due to some kind of input lag. Playing locally with a DualShock 4, I wasn't able to replicate my inability to double jump, proving that Remote Play had something to do with it. It's clear that Remote Play works, and we're glad that Sony is requiring support of the feature--although it may be best suited to games that aren't incredibly action-heavy.

Sharing content is easy, but the tools leave a lot to be desired

Sharing "Sharing" is so important to PS4 that there's a button dedicated to it on the controller. As you play, PS4 is recording the last 15 minutes of gameplay in the background automatically. Remarkably, it simply works. By hitting "Share," you'll instantly take a screenshot and be able to edit the last 15 minutes of video however you'd like--all without closing the game. It works as expected, although the feature is a bit bare-bones at launch. You can only trim clips, choosing a start point and end point. You can't splice together multiple scenes or add narration to your clips. You can only export to Facebook, which wouldn't be too bad if Facebook didn't compress what's originally a 100MB video into 35MB. Obviously, this feature needs to be enhanced with the ability to export to YouTube (and better yet, give users direct access to the MP4 files). Value At the end of the day, perhaps none of Sony's efforts matter more than this: value. Coming in $100 cheaper than Xbox One, it's undeniable that PS4 should be the next-gen console of choice for gamers that are mindful of their budget. The savings are immediate and ongoing. If you don't care for online gaming, you won't need a PlayStation Plus account to do most of what PS4 offers. The same cannot be said of Xbox One, which requires a Gold account for most all of its media functionality. However, Plus has proven itself to be one of gaming's greatest values. Instant Game Collection is already promising to be worthwhile on PS4, with two games immediately available at system launch. A 30-day Plus trial is included in the box (in addition to $10 of PSN credit). That means out of the box, someone will be able to get a next-gen console, two games, and a few movie rentals--all for $100 cheaper than the competition. Conclusion At launch, PS4 lays the foundation for a potentially great video game console. And given how lengthy these cycles tend to be, it's only a matter of time before PS4 hits its stride. Crucially, PS4 is a powerful system with a terrific controller. For gamers, that's all that matters. The OS is fast and supports multitasking just like Xbox One. However, it's clear that many other features need to be improved upon. Voice recognition is an afterthought, and sharing needs to be fleshed out much more. And while PS4 may be designed for gamers, Sony cannot forget that PlayStation is also an "all-in-one" entertainment destination for most. In terms of media capabilities, PS4 is a huge step backwards from PS3. Given the $400 entry fee, gamers should expect--nay, demand--better out of their next-gen console.
This PlayStation 4 review was based on a 500GB retail system provided by the publisher. Sony also provided Shacknews transportation to New York City for the purpose of picking up the PS4 system.
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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 13, 2013 8:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, PlayStation 4 review: greatness awaits.

    PS4 has the advantage on paper and is the clear value winner of next-gen. However, it's lacking in features at launch.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 8:05 AM

      Great review Andrew!

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        November 13, 2013 8:06 AM

        is it?

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        November 13, 2013 8:09 AM

        Thanks! Also, feel free to ask me any questions that aren't answered by this review.

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        November 13, 2013 9:17 AM

        Agreed. The review was thorough and answered many of my nagging questions, most concerning the UI.

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      November 13, 2013 8:10 AM

      "clear value winner of next-gen*."

      *note: we haven't reviewed the other platform yet, but have chosen a winner anyways

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 8:14 AM

        I specifically said "value winner" because it's undeniably the better "value" in terms of what you get for your dollar. That doesn't necessarily mean the better system.

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          November 13, 2013 8:17 AM

          That makes no sense. So the better value could be the worst system? Cheaper always equals better value? I'm not arguing one way or another, btw.

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            November 13, 2013 8:21 AM

            A cheap Kia or Honda might be the best "value." But a Maserati might be a better car. You decide.

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              November 13, 2013 8:23 AM

              A used Kia/Honda/Toyota would be the best 'value' depending on the year. Lexus for a little bit more (LS430s are pretty amazing in terms of reliability).

              Just to complete the car analogy :D

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              November 13, 2013 8:23 AM

              no, only the absolute cheapest car is the best value, there are much cheaper cans than Honda or even Kia

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                November 13, 2013 10:24 AM

                That's not true; if there's a $1000 car but 99% of the time it breaks after the first 10 miles, that's no value at all. Value != cheapest.

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                  November 13, 2013 11:00 AM

                  Basically it would be like if Harbor Freight sold a car.

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                  November 13, 2013 11:06 AM

                  yep, that's my point exactly

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                    November 13, 2013 3:54 PM

                    But the PS4 isn't the equivalent of the cheapest car. The PS4 has higher specs than the Xbox one and is $100 cheaper. That is why it's the best value. How is this so hard to understand?

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                November 13, 2013 10:45 AM

                This is a lame point. Value isn't simply price. The PS4 is more powerful AND cheaper...that is where the value comes. It's not like the PS4 is a honda and an Xbox One is a Maserati. They are both similar but one has a few more bells and whistles.

                For the gamer, those don't make an impact.

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                  November 13, 2013 11:05 AM

                  once again, you are defining "value" by this concept of "power" with no consideration of the other things the Xbone brings to the table.

                  Kinect doesn't add value?
                  All these interactive media features doesn't add value?
                  DLNA doesn't add value?
                  Mp3 and CD support doesn't add value?
                  HBO Go doesn't add value?
                  Etc..

                  My main grips is that the Author used such statements as "It's undeniable that PS4 should be the next-gen console of choice for gamers that are mindful of their budget." (Undeniable...really?)

                  This means that making the educated choice to purchase a more expensive Xbox because one feels that the extra $100 is well spent is "not being budget minded"? I would argue that the extra $100 could be a very good value for what you receive in trade.



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                    November 13, 2013 3:56 PM

                    It has already been confirmed that PS4 will have MP3 and DLNA. The Kinect doesn't add any value for a LOT of people. The interactive media features don't add value for a lot of people either.

                    Fact is, if you're looking to get the best GAMING experience for the lowest price, PS4 is by far the better value.

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                    November 14, 2013 9:28 AM


                    I also said "FOR THE GAMER".

                    Kinect's value is only potential right now... for the gamer
                    interactive media doesn't add anything...for the gamer
                    DLNA - nope....for the gamer
                    Mp3 - yes in certain games...CD??? are you kdding?
                    HBO Go- okay now your just reaching.

                    In the context of gaming little of that matters. Now I agree that here is some value to the above (but there is also a cost as you likely need Gold to use all that in addition to the extra $100)


                    Since you see if that way, you are going with the Xbox one. Personally I see more "value" in remote play than all those things....that's why I'm going PS4.

                    Reviews don't have to be objective, ya know. In fact, they aren't supposed to be.

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                      November 14, 2013 9:45 AM

                      Yep, you get it and I agree, (and no, no Xbox for me)

                      My problem is that the author starts to use terms such as "clear value winner" and "undeniable".

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                        November 14, 2013 1:21 PM

                        okay I gotcha. Absolutes can be problematic.

                        question... do you think he is out of line calling PS Plus "one of gaming's greatest values"?

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                          November 14, 2013 1:46 PM

                          Nope, not at all.

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                            November 14, 2013 2:34 PM

                            actually with Xbox Live gold getting a free Xbox one game a month...that might also need a revision

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            November 13, 2013 9:54 AM

            This is extremely basic economics. The PS4 is more powerful and cheaper. Thus, it has more dollar value.

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              November 13, 2013 10:11 AM

              so, value is defined only by "power" and not by features?

              To continue the car analogy, the fastest and cheapest car is always the best value?

              I wanna know where you learned your economics.

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                November 13, 2013 10:17 AM

                Mash that lol button all you want, but it doesn't take a genius to realize that a $20,000 car that goes faster than a $30,000 one is a better value for your dollar.

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                  November 13, 2013 10:22 AM

                  i guess if you define a car''s worth only by it's top speed.

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                  November 13, 2013 11:48 AM

                  What if the more expensive car has better gas mileage and built in satellite radio and navigation and has tv screens in the headrests and leather seats? Horsepower isn't everything. My BMW is slower than a souped up mustang but I would never trade it for one.

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                    November 13, 2013 1:14 PM

                    Other than the gas mileage, those extra features mean nothing to me personally. It's also probably more expensive to insure.

                    Value is in the eye of the beholder.

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                November 13, 2013 10:18 AM

                It is in the fast and cheap car industry.

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                November 13, 2013 10:43 AM

                You want more things from a car than just speed. A video games console is defined by its ability to play games.

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                November 13, 2013 11:47 AM

                Do your own fucking review.

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                  November 13, 2013 12:11 PM

                  Nah, I don't get paid for that.

                  Thanks for the opportunity however.

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                    November 13, 2013 5:11 PM

                    That opportunity was Closed - Lost before it even started.

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                November 13, 2013 12:00 PM

                I have no idea why people seem to be having difficulty understanding your point, which is clearly correct. You have to consider all the features--not just price and power--to determine which gives the most value. Seems logical to me.

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                  November 13, 2013 12:26 PM

                  I agree.

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                  November 13, 2013 12:32 PM

                  They understand his point. The adversarial tone is what brings the responses. It always does.

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                    November 13, 2013 12:34 PM

                    speaking in absolutes is the only way watcher knows how to express his opinions

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                      November 13, 2013 12:48 PM

                      The problem with speaking in absolutes is that it's an absolutely great way to be absolutely wrong.

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                        November 13, 2013 12:52 PM

                        plus only a sith deals in absolutes

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                      November 13, 2013 1:00 PM

                      absolutely not

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                  November 13, 2013 12:50 PM

                  The car analogy is out of place here. What we're actually comparing are pretty close to parity in feature set, with a little bit of "apples and oranges" to boot. The PS4 does this while the XB1 does that. Some features one has that the other doesn't will be available, and some won't. As it stands, the PS4 featureset combined with possible software updates over the next ~10 years is a better value than the XB1, which I think the shack review was correct on. I regret even getting involved with the stupid, inevitable car as analogy because it just doesn't apply here

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                  November 13, 2013 1:16 PM

                  All the features? It performs the core features better than the competition and costs less. How is that not a better value? The "center of your living room" xbone has a paywall on media apps.

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                    November 13, 2013 2:52 PM

                    But ... the XB1 hasn't even been reviewed yet.

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                      November 13, 2013 3:09 PM

                      Is there some secret we're completely unaware of? We've seen the UI, Kinect, the games, we know the policies in place, etc.

                      For the Xbone to be a better value, the features would have to overcome the media paywall and inferior hardware power. The review isn't up yet, but you think Andrew wrote that without having any insight into why the PS4 is a better value?

                      You get a more powerful machine for less money, access to streaming services, free games, and free credits for their store.

                      The difference is in the Kinect and I find it hard to believe that the device and its integration with the software is going to somehow overcome the deficits to become a better value. It might have different (and for some people greater potential) than the PS4, but that doesn't make the launch system better by the dollar unless you want the one thing the PS4 can't do.

                      The review will be out soon enough although I will be surprised if there is much to learn. The only new information in this review to me was watching the UI in action.

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                        November 13, 2013 3:39 PM

                        "unless you want the one thing the PS4 can't do"

                        Play MP3s?

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                        November 13, 2013 3:59 PM

                        It just seems like bad form to me to use the language "best value" when the other console hasn't actually been reviewed yet.

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                          November 13, 2013 4:12 PM

                          Let me be clear that I'm not saying the PS4 isn't a better value--it may well be. It's just that fairness dictates that judgement wait for both consoles to be reviewed.

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                    November 13, 2013 3:04 PM

                    The XB1 will do some things the PS4 doesn't, and the PS4 will do some things the XB1 won't. At the same time, every single component inside the PS4 is more powerful than the XB1 and it's $100 cheaper. And even if we want to ride the slippery slope of "What ifs" and factor the cost of the PS Eye in to bring it up to equal pricing with the XB1, the PS4 still wins out on power alone.

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                  November 14, 2013 2:24 AM

                  If you only consider it as a gaming machine, then price and power are the only things that matter. MS desparately wants us to consider the xb1 as something else, and some people are not (yet, at least) inclined to comply.

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                November 13, 2013 5:31 PM

                who says that features define value!!

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          November 13, 2013 8:22 AM

          I disagree, your review is scattered with terms such as.

          "cannot do much"
          "quite limited. "
          "no support for MP3 playback,"
          "Crucially, there's no YouTube app"
          "A Step Backward"
          "disappointing"

          Where does the "undeniably the better value" apply here?

          The $100 savings is lost when you add the camera function (that costs $100) in order to match the same functionality in that realm as the Xbone.

          I would think that when spending $499 , the "clear value winner" might be a different animal.

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            November 13, 2013 9:52 AM

            Yea, I find the price argument a little false since the system clearly has things that were built around the early idea to include the camera in the box. It almost seems like they decided to yank it just to undercut the Xbox One on price, but at the sacrifice of some work that went into the system design.

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              November 13, 2013 9:58 AM

              I read that was actually an 11.5 hour move and right after the MSFT conference. Really If MSFT went second both systems would have a camera and be the same price.

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                November 13, 2013 12:45 PM

                I don't know if it was so much a "last minute" thing as it is a half-hearted thing - quite similar to that surprise announcement that the Six Axis would have motion capabilities - which amounted to pretty much nothing. I anticipate the camera will be relegated to the same fate. tbh, I'm fine with that at the lower pricepoint.

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            November 13, 2013 12:38 PM

            Actually the camera costs 59.99 not 100.00. It seems like all the people complaining about the review are xbox fanboys or something. I'm getting both systems, but the PS4 is a better system hardware wise, thus a better value.

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            November 13, 2013 1:15 PM

            Value wise, Sony arent locking nearly as much behind a paywall as Microsoft are.

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          November 13, 2013 9:07 AM

          Depends on how much you value Kinect and media features. On the XB1 you pretty much get an Apple TV (but way better) bundled.

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            November 13, 2013 12:49 PM

            that's an interesting way of looking at it. Never thought of it like that before. And much like the Apple TV, the more the consumer is vested in the ecosystem (in this case, MSFT's), the better it will be for the consumer.

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          November 13, 2013 10:11 AM

          I think "value" is too subjective to use because it depends entirely on each buyer.

          Also, I don't think it's fair to declare a winner without comparing the PS4 with its competitors because of that reason as well.

          That all said, I do look forward to the comparisons with the XB1 once that's released.

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        November 13, 2013 8:15 AM

        ""clear value* winner of next-gen."

        *note: "That means out of the box, someone will be able to get a next-gen console, two games, and a few movie rentals--all for $100 cheaper than the competition."

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        November 13, 2013 8:17 AM

        I think he's basically saying it won because it's $100 cheaper and Xbox Gold hasn't announced any free games for Xbox One users yet...

        Although, I'm still skeptical on how sustainable the whole "free games with subscription" model can be.

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          November 13, 2013 8:27 AM

          Playstation's have a tendency to lose features as their systems mature, I agree.

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        November 13, 2013 8:22 AM

        Unless the XBO has some surprise waiting for us, I think it's safe to say that we know what each system is launching with and can evaluate value pretty readily. Obviously YMMV, since the media features of the XBO (including TV) are highly dependent on your own current media habits and (I assume) what part of the world you're in and how well it integrates with your TV/cable.

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          November 13, 2013 9:43 AM

          Apps like Hulu, Netflix, etc... tie into the X1's One Guide. While it might not be important to you, the X1 is apparently built with people who use apps to watch TV in mind. They have demoed this feature in their SkyDrive video and a few other videos.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E2Vlsqft27I

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            November 13, 2013 9:53 AM

            From early impressions, it seems like the Xbox One system software is a little more fully fleshed out for launch.

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            November 13, 2013 11:19 AM

            Which are also all behind the paywall.

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        November 13, 2013 9:00 AM

        You misunderstood what he said. It's a price thing, he didn't say it's the console winner, just that it win the "lower priced console competition of the universe." :)

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          November 13, 2013 9:08 AM

          The Ouya would be the winner.

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            November 13, 2013 9:20 AM

            The Ouya isn't in this fight and never claimed to be.

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              November 13, 2013 9:21 AM

              Wii U?

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              November 13, 2013 1:30 PM

              And the PS4 isn't trying to compete with the XB1 on the media TV/media interaction stuff. So they're the best value in a category that only contains themselves. Great.

              Meanwhile, in the real world where there are things like nuance, there are plenty cheaper consoles, and there are plenty of consoles with more features. It's by no means clear that the PS4 has better value. Especially not when you take into account that it's actually pretty damn hard to find a PS4 at their MSRP right now, it's all bundled to hell.

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          November 13, 2013 9:23 AM

          no, he said "Value" not "Price"

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      November 13, 2013 8:22 AM

      How are the PSN download speeds compared to PS3?
      Is the process of downloading content from the PSN store any different?
      Where's Playstation Home??!?!

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        November 13, 2013 8:24 AM

        I never had slow downloads on PS3, but I've always been direct-connected. I will test wi-fi later to give you an answer!
        PlayStation Store is identical on PS3 and PS4. You can download content and start playing before it finishes downloading. A notification pops up letting you know when you can play.
        No more PlayStation Home.

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          November 13, 2013 8:49 AM

          I'm hardwired on my PS3 with a 100meg cable modem connection. PSN downloads have always taken a long time compared to Xbox or Steam. I've even DMZ'd the PS3 and tried direct connections and it didn't seem to help. Maybe it's just my location in the US, but other people I know (out of state) experience similar issues.

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            November 13, 2013 8:55 AM

            Yeah, I had the same issue with my PS3, on Verizon FIOS.

            PSN was horribly slow. No PS4 yet though, so I cannot tell you if it's improved.

            • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
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              November 13, 2013 8:58 AM

              PS3 wireless was bad for me on Fios but when I wired to the router it went really fast

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                November 13, 2013 9:01 AM

                This was all gigabit lan. The Xbox was on the same switch and didn't have these issues. It was just the PS3. By the end I was downloading firmware releases on a USB stick because it would take an hour on the PS3.

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            November 13, 2013 8:56 AM

            That's weird, it seemed like PSN downloads were usually (not always, but most of the time) slow as hell for about the first 2 years of the PS3's life, but after that they seemed comparable to 360 for me. Maybe performance for PSN is spotty based on location.

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              November 14, 2013 6:06 AM

              It also doesn't help that some of the downloads (game patches) are so much bigger on PS3. On Xbox they're generally limited to a few MB; gigabyte-plus patches on PS3 are not unheard of.

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            November 13, 2013 9:56 AM

            Same. They were quicker than Wifi, but still slower (and often significantly so) than other digital platforms.

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          November 13, 2013 9:18 AM

          I've found the PS Store to be laggy since Sony last overhauled the UI. Did you notice any lag on PS4's version of the store?

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            November 13, 2013 9:19 AM

            It's a lot faster. But, still not as "silky smooth" as I would like.

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          November 13, 2013 10:15 AM

          PSN downloads, wired, on a 100mbit line, as slow as shit.

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          November 13, 2013 10:54 AM

          PS store is slow as molasses. Please tell me that isn't the case now

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            November 13, 2013 3:08 PM

            Does it still take 30 seconds to load into it? Terrible.

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        November 13, 2013 8:24 AM

        I really hope they buried Playstation Home in a shallow grave in the middle of a swamp. It was such a bad idea that is only around because people like buying digital clothes.

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          November 13, 2013 8:46 AM

          It's still active and thousands of people play it. Does that somehow hurt you?

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        November 13, 2013 8:35 AM

        not sure it'd be a very realistic assessment until PSN is under the full load of millions of customers not just prerelease units

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      November 13, 2013 8:24 AM

      wait, you can't even watch mp4's off usb sticks? WHAT????

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        November 13, 2013 8:29 AM

        it's a better value this way

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        November 13, 2013 12:00 PM

        I couldn't care less about playing off USB, but not being able to play files on my network kinda blows

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      November 13, 2013 8:32 AM

      I really think that most people are blowing this whole no playing videos off external media/no MP3 support thing out of proportion. Things are clearing moving more towards a streaming model as far as digital media goes. I think they covered their bases as far as video streaming goes right out the gate, but I can't believe they don't have any kind of Pandora, Spotify, or Rdio apps. As long as they give us options, I'm OK with just having streaming media on PS4.

      Now as far as CD support...I really wish they had added that in. The CD was developed in part by Sony. CDs are still sold in stores...they aren't exactly dead yet.

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        November 13, 2013 8:36 AM

        it gives lazy game journalists a checkbox to tick off in the negatives column. it will get patched in in a month or three.

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        November 13, 2013 8:49 AM

        sorry, i watch videos off usb stick on my ps3 almost everyday. no mp3, dlna, and video off usb out of the box is truly terrible. it's like buying a commuter car and then finding out it doesn't come with a stereo.

        • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
          reply
          November 13, 2013 8:50 AM

          lol what, no one does that

          • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
            reply
            November 13, 2013 8:52 AM

            Can't believe I can't stick in a VHS tape into my PS4

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              November 13, 2013 8:55 AM

              Hah!

            • reply
              November 13, 2013 9:34 AM

              VHS tapes aren't sold new in stores every day. Millions on CDs are sold EVERY DAY around the world.

          • reply
            November 13, 2013 9:51 AM

            can't figure out how to stream from my pc to ps3. *shrug*. it never connects properly.

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 8:55 AM

          I use my PS3 for DLNA sometimes (though it's always been kinda shitty at it), but who the fuck copies all their media one by one to a USB stick? That's crazy talk.

          • reply
            November 13, 2013 11:04 AM

            Back in my old house the wifi sucked for my living room setup so it couldn't stream HD quality video reliably. Instead I'd put the movies we wanted to watch on a USB stick and played them that way.

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              November 13, 2013 11:43 AM

              But how? The PS3's native codec-reading ability is fucking terrible. I've never been able to watch anything without transcoding.

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                November 13, 2013 2:43 PM

                I'd use my 360 and put them in MP4 format - it worked fine that way. Some things I'd have to transcode into a different format to get it working properly but I'd just do that on my PC first.

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          November 13, 2013 9:04 AM

          I use mine to watch tv shows all the frickin time this way, so I too am bummed they didn't have that available on ps4 at launch. Pissed in fact. Thank god I still have my ps3 to use for this.

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          November 13, 2013 9:05 AM

          you are the 1%

          • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
            reply
            November 13, 2013 9:11 AM

            .00000001%

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              November 13, 2013 9:19 AM

              That's trivializing the issue. I watch video off of USB drives constantly; it's more reliable than streaming due to our shaky WiFi.

              The point is, why take away features? Yesterday, I think it was, Sony backpedaled and assured gamers that many features such as MP3 playback were due in a patch down the road.

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                November 13, 2013 9:30 AM

                I would guess it's a matter of priorities.

                If you look at the game related features, they all seem to be there and they actually work. They also seemed to have spent a lot of pre-launch time developing and providing a solid development environment.

                Yoshida seemed to have expressed genuine surprise that there was an actual demand for stuff like MP3 playback and DNLA so they probably just weren't planning for it since realistically it's probably not very highly utilized by their current PS3 userbase.

                The only real WTF launch issue I've seen with the PS4 is the lack of the low power/suspend state considering that it was a major talking point at the reveal and the thing has dedicated hardware to support this feature. They must be having major issues with getting it working correctly.

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                November 13, 2013 10:07 AM

                You say "take away" as if the PS4 just gets all the PS3 features for free and then Sony actively spends work removing things. It's not like that. Everything has a cost to design, develop and test and there are only so many man hours available to do so and more desirable features than time. If only 1% of people play media off a USB drive then how important is that feature for launch? Not very. If it's a deal breaker for someone then that person can buy the console later, it's not like Sony is going to have trouble moving stock in the first 6 months without it. Even more so when it's a feature that should be used even less in the future than it is now.

                They're advertising features like Vita remote play, if your WiFi can't even stream a video reliably within the house you're far from their ideal customer right now...

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                  November 13, 2013 10:22 AM

                  Media like MP3 and Compact Discs, its such new and cutting edge stuff . It would certainly take months of development time to implement that could be better used to work on their marketplace.

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                    November 13, 2013 10:32 AM

                    it certainly isn't free to develop and test (what's the UI look like to interact with the drive? can it keep playing in the background with the OS? how does it do that? does the OS properly handle reading/writing to the drive without corrupting it if powered off mid read/write? etc, etc). Features aren't free, even ones you think are old and simple. If very few people use it, and fewer still in the future, then it is not a high priority. Sony is absolutely better off spending those man hours on making the marketplace or some other core feature better, more responsive, more featureful, etc.

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                      November 13, 2013 11:50 AM

                      Cmon, everyone knows you just program CD.play() into the OS and it's done.

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                        November 13, 2013 12:37 PM

                        I can't remember the last time I played a CD. I've bought maybe two CDs in the past year, and they've only been out of their casing for me to rip them to iTunes. Everything else I buy digital. Does anyone really use CDs anymore? Outside of old people who don't buy game consoles, maybe?

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                  November 14, 2013 6:08 AM

                  Unless they're idiots and started from scratch, instead of evolving the PS3 codebase, then yes, they do get them all for free.

                  And if they did junk it... well, seeing as how well that's turned out for software companies in the past (hint, it hasn't: see Netscape), they deserve the flak they get.

          • reply
            November 13, 2013 9:59 PM

            I bought my ps3 30% for the video and ended up using it for video much more than gaming. this is not a smart move...

            • reply
              November 13, 2013 10:37 PM

              great, you are also the 1% if you regularly played legitimate video off of a USB device. Others feel free to chime in and I will also call you the 1%.

              Were you going to buy a launch PS4 until you learned this? Doesn't matter, there's no shortage of early other customers who care more about a ton of other features that actually exist. Are you now never going to buy a PS4 even after they add it post launch? Unless there are a lot of people like you, that also doesn't even matter.

              • reply
                November 13, 2013 11:56 PM

                What I am saying is that nixing this feature was a bad choice considering that it is not due to technical limitations. If possible this box should have replaced my apple tv and my xbmc.
                I don't think that asking for a feature that the ps4 predecessor had to be unreasonable.

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 11:01 AM

          I do the same on my Xbox 360, it's not ideal but it's better than hooking up my laptop.

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          November 17, 2013 2:48 PM

          didnt you have a huge ass led tv?

          just connect the flashdrive into one of its USB ports.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 8:57 AM

      This thread... Console warriors battle ground.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 8:58 AM

      Fantastic review.

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      November 13, 2013 9:12 AM

      Nice review

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      November 13, 2013 9:43 AM

      Great Review!

      Good job not giving the system a pass for not supporting the functions that are currently available on the PS3. I was also not aware that the PS4 would support any sort of multiple app function. so that's great news.

      One question: It's always bothered me that the PS3 doesn't support a party chat feature like Xbox. Does PS4 support a chat system like this or is it still a separate function?

      Maybe I missed this information over the last few months so if anyone can clear it up that would be great.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 9:55 AM

        PS4 does have cross-game party chat.

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          November 13, 2013 11:38 AM

          Cool! Thanks! That was one of my big peeves about the PS3.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 10:10 AM

      Nice review Mr. Yoon. Is it known if the 30 day voucher can be used if you are already paying for a Playstation Plus membership? With Xbox Live trials they could only be used with new accounts.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 10:11 AM

        Both the Music Unlimited and PlayStation Plus trials only work on new accounts.

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 10:53 AM

          That kind of sucks, but good for anyone who has held off for whatever reason

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        November 13, 2013 12:45 PM

        You've been able to do so in the past, as I took the 30-day voucher on my Vita and piled it onto my existing membership, so I'd venture to say yes.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 10:37 AM

      IM ANGRY!

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 10:52 AM

      I'm really glad to see the speed of the UI and the ability to freeze games and access other content. That is pretty much all I wanted in addition to better looking games. Oh and the ability to play while things download.

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      November 13, 2013 11:05 AM

      Great review Andrew! Can you give us an idea of your wifi/ethernet set up for Remote Play? Do you have the PS4 hardwired with ethernet? What is your average up/down home internet speed?

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        November 13, 2013 11:25 AM

        I'm not home right now so I can't give you Speedtest numbers. My PS3 is hardwired, however.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 11:13 AM

      Good review, looks pretty solid. I do wish you'd slow down/smooth out the camera in the video when panning & showing the ports.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 11:25 AM

        Yes, I didn't do the video, but I will certainly let our video guy know in time for our Xbox One review!

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 11:37 AM

          I like that you did an unboxing, nice to see the hardware :)

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 12:19 PM

      Nice review, terrible thread.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 12:33 PM

        I don't understand how a console fight thread on the frontpage would turn bad

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 12:46 PM

      Great review.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 1:30 PM

      Any plan for a review update since the 1.5 update was released today?
      http://us.playstation.com/support/systemupdates/ps4/index.htm

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 1:31 PM

        On another note. Have you tried making a false EU, JP, or HK account to access their PSN store like you can with the PS3? I don't recall if the PS4 was region locked or not.

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 2:13 PM

          I haven't tried making another region's account. Good thing to figure out! Given that the console isn't out in other territories for a few weeks, it's unlikely to work for now.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 2:12 PM

        Actually, this review is based on the 1.50 update. Our video was produced before the update was released, but the text reflects all the changes.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 1:36 PM

      nerd console war: FIGHT! Mancide and watherxp suiting on the Blll Gates Pauldrons of Doom. The rest of you fags need to stop being fags or else

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 4:45 PM

        Nah, I could not care less about consoles

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 4:50 PM

          You have something critical to say about the PS4 and/or Sony's business practices, OF COURSE your nothing more than a M$ shill.

          • reply
            November 13, 2013 5:25 PM

            Actually I am critical of the review, if Andrew used the same statement about XBone, i would have responded the same way,.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 2:40 PM

      I see the Xbone defense force is all over this one. Good stuff.

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        November 13, 2013 3:02 PM

        Yah the 2 people lol,

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 4:06 PM

          I was going by volume of posts, and simply remarking that I was entertained. Your mockery cuts me to my very soul.

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        November 13, 2013 3:05 PM

        "Xbone defense force" This is definitely the best approach to curtail console warrioring. nagenift I am employing the conversational contrivance known as sarcasm here in case it ain't obvious.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 3:48 PM

      Nice review! When is the Xbox One review embargo lifting?

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 3:51 PM

      Do you have any numbers on battery life for the DS4?

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 4:10 PM

        It's definitely shorter than DS3. I would guess... 8 hours?

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          November 13, 2013 4:12 PM

          ew

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 4:14 PM

          holy shit, how long did original ds3's last, like 24 hours or more?

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 4:15 PM

          yeah, that is also what polygon said 7-8.

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          November 13, 2013 4:16 PM

          mother fucker the usb cable is 2m again. fucking useless.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 5:26 PM

        you'd think either of these consoles wouldve put inductive charging straight into the console

        idiots both of them

        • reply
          November 13, 2013 8:55 PM

          Yea that would be nice. Or offer a deluxe edition controller that comes with a powermat.

          • reply
            November 13, 2013 10:48 PM

            Except that has been proven to lose energy in the process and damage batteries due to heat. Hence forth why nokia doesnt even have it on the latest phones. Gimmick city

            • reply
              November 13, 2013 10:59 PM

              Could they just lower the charging voltage to reduce heat? I wouldn't need it to charge the controller in 30 minutes it would just be something that does a trickle charge overnight/during day when you aren't playing.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 4:00 PM

      reading reviews makes me feel like that squints kid in 'the sandlot' who goes nuts at the swimming pool because the lifeguard is lotioning. i can't take this anymore!

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 5:14 PM

      I bought my PS3 when Dark Souls came out. All I can think of when I see PS4 is Souls 4 Souls 4 Souls 4...even if it's another 4 years away :(

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 5:25 PM

      dat mano headset

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      November 13, 2013 5:54 PM

      Good stuff man \m/, Friday is almost here.

    • reply
      November 13, 2013 7:39 PM

      It seems you never say you're talking about the light bar in the following sentence: "While it may seem gimmicky at first, it does add an extra layer of immersion."

      Good review.

      • reply
        November 13, 2013 8:32 PM

        It's actually in reference to the built-in speaker on the controller. The lightbar is also great.

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      November 13, 2013 9:16 PM

      Personally the ps4 seemed rushed. But if they had to rush in areas I feel they rushed in the right ones. Everything I dislike about it so far other than the awful launch titles should be possible to fix with software updates later. If they don't add those features though they won't see my money.

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      November 14, 2013 12:17 AM

      Remarkably, I really enjoyed this review ;)

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      November 14, 2013 6:34 AM

      Really nice review. Although I'm not jumping for either of the new consoles right now, I feel like this first impression write-up gives all the "need to know" stuff as well as highlighting some pet peeves (like the seemingly superflous voice commands and the new layout of the dynamic menu).

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      November 14, 2013 11:16 AM

      Time to incite a riot ;)

      PS4 - Greatness Awaits
      Xbox One - Greatness has Arrived

    • reply
      November 15, 2013 2:14 AM

      Who did that unboxing video? That was quite a lot of mumbling... had to turn up volume pretty much ^^

    • reply
      November 16, 2013 8:09 AM

      Im still... awaiting... I got fastest shipping and it didn't arrive Friday and wont see it till Monday at the earliest.

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      November 20, 2013 12:29 PM

      "Crucially, PS4 is a powerful system with a terrific controller. For gamers, that's all that matters. "

      No, the games actually matter too, and other features also matter.

      "Coming in $100 cheaper than Xbox One, it's undeniable that PS4 should be the next-gen console of choice for gamers that are mindful of their budget"

      You haven't provided an analysis of what the Xbox One offers for the extra $100. Without looking at that you can't proclaim something to be a better value. Just like a $5 game is not always a better value than a $20 game if the $20 game offers something unique. The word is "cheaper".

    • reply
      November 22, 2013 7:25 AM

      Need some more PSN friends!! I'm apoc_reg if you want some extra filler for your 2000 slots :-)

Hello, Meet Lola