Customers will need to download a software update to use any of those online features, including any activity synced to their Playstation Network accounts. However, Sony has planned to simplify the downloading of software updates and game patches by allowing them to download while the player is away. The console can be placed in standby mode, or it can be customized to turn on in the middle of the night, for the purpose of downloading and installing software updates.
In addition to the console's menu is the Playstation App, now available for iOS and Android devices. According to Sony, the Playstation app can be used to purchase and download games for the PS4 while on the go. So if you've been eager to play a game available through PSN, you could make the purchase on your lunch break and possibly have the game ready to go by the time you get back from work.
The PS4's processing power is about ten times greater than that of the PS3's, but how does that ultimately affect how games look and play? Games like Knack, a family-friendly action game, and Killzone Shadow Fall, a first person shooter, run beautifully. Though screenshots of those games show off the amount of detail went into the games' animations, it doesn't show off just how smoothly it runs.
The games also take advantage of the improved motion detectors of the controllers, as well as the touchpad and light bar. Certain weapons and gadgets in Killzone can be activated with a swipe of the touchpad. However, it can be a little awkward to swipe the touchpad while simultaneously gripping the controller by its handles.
Games are automatically installed to the PS4's 500 GB hard drive when inserted into the disc drive. The installations only need a couple of minutes before they're ready to run. However, with many games requiring over 30 GB of storage space, the PS4's hard drive could be completely filled quickly. Playstation users may have to keep an eye on how much hard drive space they have, though thankfully deleting games and reinstalling them is easy and quick.
Sony's Lasting Impression
The Playstation 4 is a solid video gaming system, even without any comparison to the Xbox One. There's no one feature that could be called the Playstation 4 selling point, but instead, it's several smaller upgrades, like better graphics and improved controllers, that together create a gaming experience greater than the sum of its individual parts.
But that's not to say that Sony's console will end up being the number one gaming stocking stuffer this year. We'll have to wait and see what Microsoft's Xbox One fires back with at the Nov. 22 release.
Update: ABC News has received a new PS4 review unit from Sony. We have experienced no hardware issues with the new unit.