The Next Generation
The PlayStation 4 is the next generation of gaming console from Sony and it’s clear to see that Sony is in touch with the needs of its customers and users. Each generation of Sony PlayStation products integrates new features and functions making the gaming experience better and provides more tools to allow designers to produce new games and features. The PlayStation has become the central entertainment hub for any living room and continues to evolve with its functionality and features. Sony has not tried to force the adoption of any technology but have instead focused on the fact that it is a gaming console and not tried to be something else, this focus gives Sony an edge in gaming but may have reduced the creative thinking of their design team and limited innovation.
Console design and hardware
The Sony PlayStation console is designed to be an attractive and functional system that will integrate unobtrusively into your home entertainment system. The low-profile design has black, angular look with a light bar that provides status of the unit and how it’s performing. The back panel of the unit is entirely digital with HDMI optical ports and there are no video or audio ports anymore. The power supply is now integrated into the console which saves even more space in your home entertainment system. There are a few features that are no longer supported in the PlayStation 4 including 802.11ac wireless and no 5 GHz support either. Additionally, Sony has discontinued the IR port and adaptor features so that you can no longer use universal remotes or other controllers to interact with the PlayStation.
With the removal of Bluetooth headphone support users are not required to use the audio/microphone jack connection on the upgraded DualShock 4 game controllers. Now all communication is through the controllers rather than through the console.
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DualShock 4 controller
One of the biggest improvements in the PlayStation 4 system is the introduction of the DualShock 4 controllers. Sony has listened to gamers everywhere and has introduced new features and completely redesigned the controller making it more functional, comfortable and easier to use for long gaming sessions. The first improvement in the design of the controller is that Sony has introduced the ability to recharge the controller via a USB connector to the PlayStation 4 system. This is critical with the DualShock 4 since the battery life has gone down with this generation of controller. Second, the controller sticks are now further apart making it easier to use for people with larger hands. Third, the controller is slightly heavier but overall more ergonomically correct making it more comfortable for longer use. There are some button placement issues that can make the controller difficult to use but overall, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages in the new design. Gamers all know that the DualShock 3 controller was not a popular feature of the old PlayStation 3 so they will be happy to know that Sony listened and has improved the design with the next generation controller.
Gaming and User Experience
The PlayStation 4 has made improvements in the aesthetics and the controller but they fell short when it came to the user interface and games. The user interface is very similar to the previous generation which will be disappointing for many gamers. The menu system is very rigid and cumbersome to interact with. It uses a very strict hierarchy that does requires considerable scrolling and few organizational features. There are new chat options available for in game conversations and there is no the option to have up to 2000 friends in a friend list where you can also use real names. There are new in-game features that allow you to suspend a game with just the touch of a button and you can search for games to join from your friends list. You can also toggle more quickly between apps and games making the system more flexible to use. When the PlayStation 4 launched it was well ahead of the game developers but as time as gone on more and more gaming options have become available for this system giving players more options to enjoy.
The PlayStation 4 has now followed the general trend of other online gaming products and charges users to uses the online gaming feature. This will be very disappointing for fans of multiplayer games but to offset the fees Sony promises a more fluid gaming experience since you must pay for the service.
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