PlayStation 4 (Sony)
With the exhaustive online (and offline) coverage of the PlayStation 4 for the past few weeks, consumers have a pretty good idea of what to expect. But for all the focus on the system's pluses and minuses and which games are worth your time, there are a few details that may have slipped past you.
While it may not change your mind about wanting - or not wanting - a PS4, it's information that could still come in handy, or at the very least give you a deeper knowledge of the new console's nuances.
1. It won't play 3D Blu-ray movies. While Sony was, at one point, leading the charge for 3D in the gaming world (even going so far as to manufacture a 3D monitor for the PS3), it's seemingly less bullish about the technology in the next generation. Games can still be played in 3D on the PS4, but people who want to use the system to watch Avatar or some other film in 3D at home are going to be out of luck.
2. It won't support universal remotes. The focus of the PS4 is heavily on games, but the system also supports many general entertainment apps -- such as Netflix and Hulu Plus -- and Sony’s pushing its own Video Unlimited service. While gamers might be fine with navigating these via their DualShock 4 controllers, other members of the household might prefer a traditional remote. For now, though, they're out of luck.
The PS4 doesn't support infrared (IR) remote control commands, meaning it won't work with any universal remote control on the market. And while the PS3 had a dedicated remote control available for general-entertainment needs, Sony has not yet announced one for the PS4.
3. You can't game in 4K. Admittedly, not many people have ultra-high-definition TVs in their homes, but manufacturers are betting on the technology to be 'the next big thing'. Sony, which makes some of those sets, is hedging its bets, though. Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton earlier this year confirmed that while the PS4 is 4K-capable for movies and still images, it won’t be for games. That said, if you've got one of those high-end sets, they automatically upconvert video signals -- so the games will still look really, really good.
4. It won't play CDs or MP3s - for now. Sony surprised a lot of people when it said media server functionality would not be a part of the PS4. In short, that meant people couldn't stream their home videos or music through the system. Additionally, CD playback wasn't built into the machine, presumably because CDs aren't nearly as popular as they were eight years ago.
The outcry could prompt changes, though. Shuhei Yoshida, president of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, told GiantBomb the teams are already working on a possible fix, saying "the system guys are discussing how and when we can put these features on PS4."
5. You can shop around for digital games. Digital distribution is a big part of the next generation, but you won't be forced to buy your digital PS4 games exclusively from the PlayStation store. Amazon has opened an outlet in the PlayStation Network, and others may follow. That's good news for people who want to bargain-hunt for the best deals as in the brick-and-mortar retail world.
6. There's a reason it's slanted. The parallelogram design of the PS4's hardware was done for a specific reason, say Sony officials. The front is angled upwards, to make it easier for users to press the power and eject buttons. (That's assuming you can find them, as Sony has made them nearly invisible.) The back of the system slopes down to better hide the cables and make your entertainment cabinet appear less cluttered.
7. It has its own app. Second-screen gaming isn't limited to the PS Vita for PS4 owners. Sony has released a companion app for the console for both Apple and Android devices. That will let players check messages while they're away and access the PlayStation store.
Select games will also incorporate the app into gameplay. (In the bundled game The Playroom, for instance, you can draw a picture on your mobile device and flick it onto the screen for the robots to play with.) You'll be able to watch live and recorded PS4 games through the app as well.
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