Useful Notes / PlayStation 4
aka: PS 4

Greatness Awaits.

The PlayStation 4 is Sony's entry into The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games. It was released in North America on November 15, 2013 for the retail price of $399, in Europe on November 29, 2013 for the retail price of €399 (£349 in the UK) and in Japan on February 22, 2014 for ¥38,980.

Traditionally, Sony developed their own chips for use in their consoles. However, developers complained that these chips were hard to program for due to poor documentation and complicated designs. Additionally, none of these processors went beyond the PlayStation application as Sony had hoped. The Cell processor in the PlayStation 3 for instance failed to break into the supercomputer market despite various attempts.

As a result, Sony asked what the developers wanted in their new system. This led to AMD's Jaguar platform being selected, along with 8GB of very fast GDDR5 memory. Each has its own advantages: AMD's platform uses the x86-64 architecture that powers most PCs. Since x86-64 is a popular, long-running architecture (debuted in 2004, with x86 itself debuting in 1978), there's plenty of developer experience with it. Meanwhile, 8GB of GDDR5 deals with issues of both the size and speed of memory budgets, a constant bane to video game programmers.

The DualShock controller also received an overhaul. The DualShock 4 is more ergonomic, with slightly bulbous handles and concave triggers and thumb sticks. The "Start" and "Select" button were replaced with an "Options" button for game menus and a "Share" button to access sharing features. A clickable touch pad and speaker were added to the middle of the unit. The bottom of the controller features a headphone jack for voice chat or full audio. Lastly, the controller features a light bar on the top, similar to the PlayStation Move's scepter for move support or general status / mood indications depending on the game.

The console is region free, and launched without the online DRM that Microsoft planned to implement for Xbox One in 2013 (which Sony used to mock in their troll ad a while after the announcement). While game installs are mandatory, PS4 supports a "install as you play" feature on digital and retail games. As with the PlayStation 3, the hard drive is user replaceable. A PlayStation Vita remote play feature adds similar functionality as the Wii U's tablet controller. The PlayStation Now service provides streaming for older generation games. Also, a software emulator allows for users to play digital, enhanced copies of PlayStation 2 games.

Online multiplayer, except for "free-to-play" or subscription games, requires a PlayStation Plus subscription. However, only one subscription is required per console, meaning multiple user accounts can use the same subscription. The subscription also carries over from the PlayStation 3 and Vita. Benefits like free monthly games, discounts and early access content are also provided with the subscription.

Support for VR head mounted displays such as Sony's Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift was in development. Eventually Sony's own Project Morpheus was chosen and it was rechristened PlayStation VR, and has been given an official launch date of October 13, 2016.

Unlike the PlayStation 3, which didn't produce a net profit until 2011, nearly five years into its lifespan, Sony broke even on PS4 at launch through the sale of online subscriptions, accessories, and games. Sony sold 4.2 million units by January 1, 2014, and 6 million by March 3, 2014, making it the fastest-selling console of all time. In fact, due to Sony's external financial troubles in their other fields, the excellent sales on the platform were responsible for serving as the only area where the company has made a profit in 2015.

In March 2016, Sony announced that they're working on a refresh of the PlayStation 4. Unlike refreshes of previous generation PlayStations, however, the refresh won't just be a size-reduced version of the console but will also include a hardware upgrade to handle 4K and VR more efficiently. While fans are indifferent of the news, some developers are developing Hype Backlash over the fact that their games will now need to be able to support the new PS4 in addition to the original one, which is puzzling since Sony announced that the new PS4 would be fully backwards compatible with all existing games, and the only thing that's changed is how the console has a faster CPU and better GPU.

Sure enough, not one but two refreshed PlayStation 4 systems were announced on September 7, 2016. One of them was a size-reduced version of the original console called the PS4 Slim, which was heavily leaked days before the announcement, and a new bigger version with better hardware called the PS4 Pro.

Technical specifications

  • AMD "Jaguar" Accelerated Processing Unit (A CPU & GPU on a single chip), Liverpool variant
    • The CPU has eight x86-64 cores (consisting of two quad-core silicon fused together) running at 1.6GHz each.
    • The GPU contains 1152 GPU shaders and runs at 800 MHz, for a performance rated at 1.84 TFLOPS.
  • ARM-type low-power processor for background processes, network tasks, security and streaming.
  • An improved version of the Liverpool Jaguar APU is used in the PS4 Pro version.
    • The CPU has eight x86-64 cores, likely running at a faster clock rate.
    • The GPU officially is rated for a performance of 4.2 TFLOPS and uses the Polaris GPU architecture.

  • 8 GB GDDR5 system memory running at 5.5GHz with a total bandwidth of 176GB/s. PS4 Pro may have more bandwidth.
    • 2.5 to 3.5 GB reserved for the operating system.
    • Heterogeneous System Architecture provides a common memory space shared between CPU and GPU.
  • 256 MB RAM chip for secondary ARM processor.
  • 500 GB Hard Drive. Can be replaced with any 2.5" hard drive, including SSDs.
  • Blu-ray drive rated for 6x speed, or about 27 MB per second.

  • 1080p output standard.
  • 4K Resolution support for some content.
    • PS4 Pro can output 4K for all content.
  • OpenGL 4.2 API support.
  • Performance rated at 25.6 gigapixels per second and 51.2 gigatexels per second.
  • HDR image support is available now for all PS4 models as of System Software version 4.00.

  • 1 HDMI output port; 1 optical audio out port
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet port.
  • 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless capabilities.
  • 1 Aux port for the PlayStation Eye camera

Games announced or released

Alternative Title(s): PS 4, Play Station 4