The time has come my friends. The endless war, the countless struggles we have endured, it was all leading to this. Soon, we will be standing, or sitting if you prefer, face to face with the next generation of entertainment. The PlayStation 4. It seems like just yesterday that Sony revealed it, with the executive on stage wielding this titan of the industry like it was Simba from the Lion King. Holding it high into the air for all to see. Soon it will be in your home, and yours, and everyone else’s with any desire to truly experience the next generation of gaming.
I would first and foremost like to recommend that you do not, in fact, hold up your PS4 like it’s Simba from the lion king. It may be a god of gaming made flesh, but it still breaks when you drop it. And with that, allow me to welcome you, one and all, to the greatest New Owner’s Survival Guide this side of Bear Grylls. This article will be a living, breathing entity. A constantly updating, expanding and growing piece that will bring you everything you need to know about your new console.
A new accessory releases? Check here for the impressions and recommendations on only the must have items for your PS4. New game came out, but you’re not sure if it’s worth your time? Check for a review, and then come here to see if it cracked my ever updated top five games to buy first on your PS4. This guide is meant to help new PS4 owners, both early adopters, and newly christened fans to our cause. Here you will find all the information to get you started, and from here, the journey is yours to take. If you ever falter, or if your find yourself wondering where to go next, come back to me and this article. We will guide you home.
Chapter one: The Perfect Living Room
In my recently released guide to the PS4 launch, I talked about prepping your living room for the PS4’s imminent arrival. These were important tips including dusting, freeing up and HDMI port on your television, and having a surge protector to ensure the newest member of your family is safe. Let’s say your home from the midnight release and the PS4 is in front of you, still caged and sleeping. Like King Arthur’s sword Excalibur, it merely waits for someone worthy to pull it from the stone (box) and give it life (turn it on) so that it may lay waste to it’s enemies (works either way).
Look around your living room though, it is the glorious environment, the picture perfect house for your PS4? Is your TV equipped with HDMI? Is it massive? How about an entertainment center, and surround sound? If you answered yes to all of these, what are you a doctor or something? How did you afford all that? Doesn’t matter, these things take time and when you put the final pieces into place, you want to be confident that you bought the best. Let’s start with TV’s.
Top Gaming Televisions
Your TV is the window with which you will gaze into the worlds of the PS4. Obviously you don’t want something that is smeared or caked with dirt. You want to see every detail, and constant resist the temptation to set your controller down and reach through the screen, because then you will have to wipe the fingerprints off. The top brands right now in the television market are Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung. After doing some research, these are three really strong candidates for the best gaming TV you can own.
1. Sony’s W905 Series: these televisions will run you upwards of three thousand dollars but they are top of the line LCD screens with everything you could want. 3D enabled, featuring a new technology called Triluminos that brings color and detail through in a incredibly rich way by utilizing quantum dot color filters. This feature brings through true colors for a incredibly vibrant image. These televisions also feature the lowest input lag (10ms) of any television to date. It comes at a high price, between two and three thousand dollars depending on the model, but it is clearly worth the money.
2. Panasonic’s GT60 series: Here we have a range of televisions that, while not being the best Plasma TV’s that money can buy, they require significantly less of the green stuff to obtain one, which earns them points. The picture on these is still stunning and motion blur is no where to be found. Hovering around a thousand dollars, these models are expensive, but less so and still provide top performance.
3. Samsung’s F8000: To feature another type of television, Samsung’s LED TV is a slim, high performance television with a touch pad remote, fantastic color and picture quality, and a variety of options for size and pricing. The low end size is still about twenty five hundred dollars though, so this one isn’t cheap, but it stands tall amongst the best televisions to bring you the experiences of the PS4.
So you’ve got the best TV that money can buy, or at least the best on that your money can buy. I understand, so the key here is to find a nice sized television with 1080p resolution and those lovely HDMI ports. That’s the basic requirements for entry, anything past that and you're just gaining bonus points. It is also worth noting that the PS4 is 3D capable, but nothing at launch will have the option, so 3D isn’t completely needed, but it is awesome.
Surround Sound, or a Headset?
Trying to argue whether or not headsets of surround sound systems are better is like arguing over the pronunciation of tomato. You know, like tomato, and tomato. Oh wait, that doesn’t help. Anyway, I digress. We all want great sound to go with our phenomenal picture quality, and TV stock speakers are okay, but we’re looking to experience our games, not just play them. Let’s start with some options for surround sound, I’ll give two examples of a low price and a high price setup, both of which will have their pros and cons.
1. VIZIO S4251W-B4 5.1 Home Theater Soundbar W/Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth: This nifty little setup is sold through Costco, so you’ll need a membership, but the price is right here. For $279, you’re getting a complete 5.1 surround sound theatre setup with a forty two inch sound bar with left right and center channels, a wireless subwoofer, and rear satellite speakers. Granted, this isn’t the latest and greatest, but for that price it’s a fantastic package offering all the basic requirements for a surround sound experience.
2. Lifestyle® 535 Series II home entertainment system by Bose: Now this is the king of all home entertainment systems. Bose is a highly respected brand, and with that comes a highly respected price. The setup here includes five premium Jewel Cube speakers, a control console with six source connections, a universal remote and a AM/FM tuner. It includes an easy to setup virtual guide, dynamic surround sound, and works seamlessly with all the electronic devices in your living room. It can be yours for the low, low price of three thousand two hundred and ninety nine dollars and ninety nine cents. But hey, the shipping is free. This is what you want if you want to go all out.
What if you live in an apartment? Or if you have roommates? You still want to enjoy crisp and powerful sound quality, don’t you? Of course you do. That’s where headsets come in. Not only can these things bring you surround sound quality in a smaller form, but they also allow you to chat online and defend your mother’s honor while playing Call of Duty. So what headset should you get for your PS4? Again, I’ll show you several options varying in price and feature sets.
1. Sony Pulse Headsets: Sony proprietary headsets are fantastic, and while they won’t work immediately on PS4, a free update after the launch will allow them to work. This means you may want to wait, or you can pick them up now and try them out on your PS3. There are two headsets on offer here. One is the Pulse and the other is the Pulse Elite. Both of them are wireless stereo headsets that feature virtual 7.1 surround sound. and the elite version has an additional feature called BassImpact. This feature brings powerful bass tones, triggering pulses in the ear pads so you feel the sound. The standard pulse headset features everything but this feature. For the standard pulse, I’ve seen prices as low as eighty dollars, and for the elites, they usually run about one hundred and fifty dollars. These are great options for headsets and the prices are reasonable.
2. Astro A50’s: These headsets are the top of the line in the industry. They have Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound, 5.8GHz wireless technology to avoid interference from other electronics, a twelve hour battery life, comfort and immense sound quality. These will also run you three hundred dollars. A massive price tag for a headset, but worth every penny if you want the best experience money can buy. Astro has said that their headsets will “most likely” work on the PS4 so this may be another one that becomes functional after the post launch update.
3. Universal Afterglow Headset: This headset is popular where I work as it provides one device that is usable on your PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and even your phone. It’s a sleek, well built headset with good sound quality. At just under a hundred dollars, it’s also a good price for what you’re getting. This headset has been, and will continue to be, the one I recommend the most because it provides both quality and value. Being that it’s USB receiver based, you’ll probably have to wait for that post launch update to use it.
Find Your PS4 a Home...inside your Home…Homeception.
So, you’ve got the perfect living room setup, including a headset for those late night gaming marathons. But where do you go from here? Your PS4 is out of the box, it’s looking sexy like your lady on a date night and you want to make sure she’s comfortable. The PS4 I mean, not your lady. Well, I want your lady to be comfortable, but, okay, I’m stopping before this goes too far. What I’m getting at, or more accurately, stumbling at here is that you want to place your PS4 in the ideal place.
I recommend placing your PS4 down flat for stability, and in a well ventilated area. Sony has expressed that the system features additional fans and ventilation to better maintain the core temperature of the system, but you can never be too careful. As the weeks turn into months and things get serious, remember to keep the place free of dust. Pressurized dust cans are good for clearing out the dust from your systems vents and should be used every month or so, perhaps once a week if you have pets, just to keep everything running smoothly.
Chapter two: Space, the final frontier.
Let’s recap here, this is what you get in the box with your PS4:
- PlayStation 4 video game console (With 500GB hard drive)
- An HDMI cable
- A Dualshock 4 PS4 controller
- A mono headset
Now, this section of the guide is going to discuss space, specifically the kind where you store data, not the kind where you blow up from being in a vacuum. The PS4 comes with a five hundred gigabyte hard drive. This may sound big, but let’s consider the fact that several launch games are asking for upwards of fifty gigabytes per title. Yeah, that’s not going to last long. So, looking long term you have two options. One, you buy a new hard drive, or two, you just manage the space, deleting old installs as need. The PS4 is supposed to allow you to begin playing without having to wait for the entire install, so this may not be a problem.
Paranoia Pays Off, be Prepared, or be Sorry
If you are worried (like me) about using up that initial hard drive faster than a backwoods hillbilly uses a mason jar of moonshine, I understand. Also I like moonshine, but that’s not the point. The PS4’s hard drive can be replaced with any standard 2.5 inch hard drive that is more than one hundred and sixty gigabytes in size. If you’re going to upgrade I recommend going with a terabyte or more, anything less is a waste of time. Keep in mind, you may be spending upwards of a hundred dollars or more, so this can wait if need be.
Chapter Three: Give me Games or Give me Death. Preferably games.
Here are the games, both physical and digital download, that will be available at launch:
1. Killzone: Shadow Fall
5. Sound Shapes
6. Angry Birds: Star Wars
7. Assassin's Creed IV
8. Call of Duty: Ghosts
9. DC Universe Online
10. Fifa 14
11. Battlefield 4
12. Just Dance 2014
13. Injustice: Gods Among Us
14. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
15. Madden NFL 25
16. NBA 2K14
17. Need For Speed: Rivals
18. Skylanders: Swap Force
19. Blacklight Retribution
21. Super Motherload
22. Trine 2: The Complete Story
That’s a lot of games. Some of these will even be free to play regardless of your status as a PlayStation Plus user. If you are a Plus member at launch, you’ll also be getting Resogun and Contrast for free. You’re probably thinking right now that you can’t afford all these games. It’s okay, you just bought a new TV and a surround system after all. It’s quite alright my faithful readers. The following is a custom tailored, top five must have games list that I will continue to update as new and possibly better games come out.
1. Killzone: Shadow Fall
3. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
4. Battlefield 4
So why these titles, you ask? These games represent a wide spectrum of genres and all have exhibited quality beyond what this generation could ever have achieved. These are the titles to own and the titles to love. Embrace them, and they will embrace you. Like a good hug that doesn’t last too long and get awkward.
Chapter Four: Should I Order Dessert?
We’d like to think that the PS4 has everything you need in the box. Its got a lot, that’s for certain, but dinner is nothing without a strong dessert. So, this section will help you figure out if you should order the triple fudge chocolate sundae, or the peach cobbler. (For the record, it’s always the sundae.)
To expand on my ongoing dessert metaphor, I’m referring to the wealth of accessories you’ll see at launch. Again, this is something that will be updated as we go on. To start, these are my picks for accessories you should consider getting.
1. DualShock 4 Controller (59.99): Split screen gaming isn’t as popular as it used to be, but several launch titles feature the option, so don’t leave your little brother/sister/girlfriend/regular friend/family pet out of the picture. A second controller means that no one pays alone, unless it’s single player.
2. PlayStation Eye Camera ($59.99): Who needs a Kinect? You don’t because you’re on the PS4. Save some dough and pick up an Eye Camera to enjoy features such as voice recognition, motion tracking, facial scanning, and bragging rights when your PS4 Eye Camera becomes sentient and destroys all mankind. Trust me, being the owner of Skynet will make you hugely popular in a post-apocalyptic world.
3. Charge Station ($29.99): Your PS4 comes with a micro USB charge cable, so no sweat, but if you want to make sure your controllers are a hundred percent when you get home from work, this charging station plugs into the wall and charges your controllers when you’re gone. It does, not, however, have dinner ready for you when you get home. Sorry.
Chapter Five: Payment for Services Rendered
There are people in this world who hate paying for things, but I think all of us can appreciate value in something. PlayStation Plus is fifty dollars a year. Not many people understand what this subscription provides. No problem, this all inclusive guide has you covered.
1. Improved Online Multiplayer: PlayStation 3’s network was shaky, but it was also free. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Well, there you have it. So, PlayStation Plus is required to play online with PS4, but that means a better experience.
2. Free Game Downloads: At launch, the Plus subscribers will have two free games to download. Resogun and Contrast. Each month you get more, many more. These downloads are a huge value to the consumer, and represent a significant increase in said value over Xbox Live’s offerings.
3. Discounts: PlayStation Plus members enjoy additional discounts on the PlayStation Store, including bonus discounts during sales. So you’re saving while you save. Xhibit would be proud.
If you don’t get it at launch, get it on the next paycheck. PlayStation Plus is a great value for fifty dollars a year. You need it, you want it, so don’t hold back.
Chapter Six: I got 99 problems but features ain’t one!
A few final notes here for the new members of our PlayStation family. First of all, your family can be bigger this generation. In fact, twenty times bigger. The PS4 allows two thousand friends on your list. Yeah, that puts my Facebook to shame. So, just accept all those friend requests. Who care if they constantly ask for your social security number, they’re just playing around! Okay, seriously, they’re not playing around, delete them immediately. The point it, you can be friends with as many people as you want, so share the love!
PS4 games are not region locked. That means that if you’re in Japan, brushing up on your japanese, and you see an exclusive sushi making simulator for PS4, you can bring it home and play it! Yeah, California roll it up!
If you are a proud Vita owner like myself, then good job, what are you playing? Nothing? Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s okay though, because your Vita can access your PS4 through a Wifi connection and turn it on from standby mode. Most of the launch games will support a feature called Remote Play where you can stream this content to your Vita and play around the house, or on the go. It has been confirmed that this works best at home on the same network, but I will update this article with some impressions on the subject once I get my hands on the PS4.
Finally, there are a number of third party apps at launch. Here’s the list:
Amazon Instant Video
NBA Game Time
NHL GameCenter Live
Redbox Instant by Verizon
In addition, the free PlayStation app for smart phones will allow you to buy games and start downloading them so when you get home, it’s all gravy. Add in that two PS4’s can access the same account at once, and you have savings, value, and everything great in this world all packed into one box that doesn’t start with Pandora’s, so you’re good.
Here is the PS4 Manual, bookmark it for a later date!
That’s it, for now…
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for reading my article and for all your support. I do this for you, and I hope I give you everything you need to enjoy your PS4 properly. Remember, this will be updated, constantly if need be, so check back often. In the meantime, bookmark the page, share it with your friends, and spread the good news that PS4 is here, and it’s going to be amazing.
Want to know more? Have a suggestion for a future update? Tell us in the comments!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 11/09/2013