Recently, the discussion over the PS4 has been boiled down to whether or not this feature, or that feature, would be ready by launch. It started with the revelation that USB and Bluetooth headsets would not be supported, and has continued on since then.
Today, however, Sony has decided to get out in front of any additional rumors and confirm which features will be making the PS4′s launch date. And, as it turns out, most of the console’s more exciting features will be available in November.
The one caveat to this news is that gamers must first download a 300MB Day 1 Patch before they gain access to these features. It’s not uncommon for a new console to feature a substantial patch on launch day – the Xbox One will also have one – but it definitely means that the PS4 hardware is coming in hot off the assembly line.
The good news, though, is that the PS4′s new Remote Play feature, which allows gamers to stream their PS4 games to their PS Vita console, and the ability to record gameplay will both be available at launch. Although the PS4 boasts a handful of unique features, these two seem to be the biggest draws for gamers, at least from a gameplay perspective, and will likely get a ton of use out of the box.
Additionally, the background downloading feature will make the Day 1 cut, ensuring gamers can purchase a digital copy of their most anticipated launch title and be off and playing in no time. We didn’t expect the feature would miss launch, as the PS4 is built with a dedicated processor for background downloads, but this confirmation is reassuring nonetheless.
For a full list of the PS4 features available at launch see below:
- Remote Play: Users will be able to access PS4 titles displayed on their living room TVs and play them on a PS Vita system over Wi-Fi networks by using PS4 Link (Depending on network environment or titles, remote play performance may vary outside of the home). We anticipate that most PS4 titles will be playable on the PS Vita system through Remote Play. The latest PS Vita system software version, to be released soon, will be required to use PS4 Link.
- Second Screen: Users can use the PS4 Link application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation App for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on The Playroom, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.
- Record, take screenshots, and upload gameplay effortlessly: The PS4 system provides dedicated, “always on” video encoding systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay. Users can share their epic triumphs by simply hitting the Share button on DualShock 4, take screenshots or scan through the last 15 minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game – the video uploads as the user plays. At the PS4 system’s launch, users will be able to share their images and videos with friends on Facebook and screenshots with followers on Twitter, though users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Facebook and Twitter.
- Broadcast and spectate gameplay: The PS4 system also enhances social spectating by enabling users to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to game fans around the globe, using Ustream and Twitch live internet streaming services (users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Ustream and Twitch). There are two ways for users to view live broadcasts. First, the Live from PlayStation application on PS4 aggregates streams from all PlayStation users. Second, users can spectate friends’ PS4 gameplay from PCs, and applications such as Ustream, Twitch, and browsers, which are installed on their mobile devices. These applications can be easily started up via PlayStation App, and users can also use these applications to post comments to gameplay broadcasts. Furthermore, users with PlayStation Camera can stream camera images and microphone sounds along with their live gameplay broadcast.
- Play as you download: This feature enables users to play supported digital titles as they are being downloaded. The time it takes to begin playing will vary depending on game data size and network environments, and not all titles will support this feature When a game is purchased, users can start playing after PS4 downloads a portion of the data, while the rest of the game is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay. Games may be downloaded in stand-by mode.
- Multi log-in: A maximum of four users can log-in to a single PS4 system simultaneously. These players can use their own save data to play games, and also earn trophies on their own Sony Entertainment Network accounts even when playing a multiplayer game together on a single PS4 system.
- Party (Voice chat): By using the Mono Headset bundled with the PS4 system, users will be able to chat with up to eight friends enjoying different applications or games. Furthermore, users can use Party to chat between PS4 and PS Vita systems.
- Face recognition and voice commands: Users with PlayStation Camera will be able to register their facial image onto their PS4 system, and login to their system using facial recognition instead of DualShock 4. Furthermore, users can use either the microphone of the Mono Head set connected to DualShock 4, or PlayStation Camera to navigate through the PS4 home screen (PlayStation Dynamic Menu) with voice commands to start up games and shutdown the system, among other features; please refer to PS4′s online manual for recognizable voice commands.
- Background music player: Users can enjoy gameplay while listening to music in the background with Music Unlimited, a cloud-based digital music service. Users can also voice chat with friends while listening to music.
- Online Multiplayer: PlayStation Plus members will be able to play PS4 titles online with other players via the network. PS Plus makes it easy for members to join available online multiplayer matches in a variety of ways, including the ability to easily join a game from a live stream broadcast or Party voice chats.
- Blu-ray Disc and DVD player: Users can enjoy not only gaming on their PS4 system, but also Blu-ray and DVD video contents. When using for the first time, users must connect to the internet to activate this feature.
Again, these features will only unlock after gamers download PS4 update 1.50 a.k.a. the Day 1 patch. We’re sure most gamers are eager to see how Sony has improved the system update process, and, lucky for them, that will likely be the first thing they experience.
In the interest of transparency, Sony also revealed one feature – the suspend/resume option – that will not be making the cut for Day 1. That means gamers will not be able to halt gameplay in, say, Killzone: Shadow Fall, head to the SEN store to purchase and start a download for Knack, and then hop back into Killzone. The suspend/resume option will be extremely useful, and is one of the more useful features in both the PS4 and the Xbox One, so the hope is that Sony can get it going sooner rather than later.
With less than a month until the PS4 hits store shelves, it appears Sony has locked down most of their more promising features for gamers to test out at launch. At the same time, the Day 1 patch suggests the hardware was in development up until the last minute, which means the likelihood of launch day snafus is much higher than normal.
Which of the PS4′s features are you most glad to see will be available at launch? Are there any features you were looking forward to that won’t be available on day 1?
Sony’s PlayStation 4 releases November 15, 2013.
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