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Platform / PlayStation 4

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The PS4 Slim
The PS4 Pro
The PlayStation VR

"Greatness Awaits."
"(This is) For the Players."

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 (including equivalents and £349 in the UK) and in Japan on February 22, 2014 for ¥38,980.

Previously, Sony developed their own, highly custom chips for use in their consoles. However, developers complained that these chips were hard to program for due to poor documentation and complicated designs. While devs learned to deal with the PS2 because the console was the clear market leader, the PS3 was not the leader for most of its generation and caused a lot of headaches that negatively affected many Multi-Platform games on the system. Additionally, none of these processors went beyond the PlayStation application as Sony had hoped, which not only contributed to the steep learning curve of programming them, but also made it harder for Sony to recoup the huge amounts of money they spent developing them in the first place. 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 2003, 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.

For the first time since 1998, 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" buttons 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 / Color-Coded Multiplayer 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 an "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, which was later extended to Android devices via an App when the Vita tanked. 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 given an official launch date of October 13, 2016. The platform is notable for being targeted as a more accessible VR system than its competitors the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, being initially priced at $399 and later dropping to $299 (and neglecting the need for a powerful PC which the other two require). It also lacks a requirement for numerous sensors (which, for better or worse, results in no room-scale tracking), instead only asking that the user has a PS4 Camera device in addition to the controller of their preference. A minor revision of the hardware came out later (see technical specifications for details) and the units have been confirmed to be part of the backward compatability setup for the PS5.

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 second fastest-selling console of all time. (The fastest is its successor, the PlayStation 5.) 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 made a profit in 2015. By 2021 it ended up as the most successful PlayStation console in terms of software sales with 1.577 billion game units sold, barely scraping by the PlayStation 2 and its 1.537 billion game units.

In March 2016, Sony announced a refresh of the PlayStation 4 hardware, later revealed on September 7, 2016, to be comprised of not one but two refreshed systems. 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 the other one was a larger unit with better hardware called the PS4 Pro, which was made with 4K TVs in mind. Both consoles were released in November, replacing the original PS4.

While the PS4 largely smoothly sailed against its competitors the Xbox One and Wii U, shipping 117 million units in its lifetime, it is not without some controversy. Sony's content restrictions also meant that the PS4 versions of Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has less user mod support compared to the PC and Xbox One versions. Sony has also been criticized for its hostile attitude towards cross-platform gameplay in online multiplayer games, where Sony initially restricted cross compatibility between the PS4 and its rivals Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, viewing it as a challenge to its market dominance. This attracted criticism from developers of live service games like Fortnite, Rocket League, Fallout 76, and ARK: Survival Evolved, as they already have the means to achieve cross-platform multiplayer, only requiring Sony's authorization. With the increasing popularity of live service games by the late 2010s, Sony eventually dropped such requirements. Additionally, longtime PlayStation fans bemoaned the removal of multimedia support and backwards compatibility, both of which had long been selling points for Sony's consoles. The Wii U and Xbox One's backwards compatibility and the open disdain that Sony's new management expressed towards the feature only intensified such criticisms.

On May 2018, Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 is "Entering the final phase of its life cycle", and that focus would now shift to providing a better online experience to users. This was followed shortly after by a cryptic tweet from SCEE mentioning March 2021, and shortly after a bug report filed with AMD regarding the unit running Ryzen architecture by SCEE engineers was leaked into the web. In an April 2019 Wired article, Sony executive Mark Cerny confirmed that the company was working on a successor unit, later identified as the PlayStation 5. Although Sony intended to quickly phase out the PlayStation 4 to focus on the PlayStation 5, they were forced to continue development for both systems simultaneously due to the stock shortages and limited install base of the latter thanks to rampant scalping.

Unfortunately, in 2021, the PS4's DRM was cracked wide open, and soon there was reports that PS4s were being used to mine cryptocurrency in Ukraine. While Ukrainian police later clarified that the outfit was actually mining FIFA loot boxes, the damage had been done and scalpers in certain areas started targeting the PS4 as well, creating yet another shortage. As of 2022, support for the PS4 is alive and well despite its successor being out for two years. This is due to the scarcity of the PS5 but everyone already having a PS4, but also because the PS4 Pro was able to bridge the hardware power gap between the previous generation and the next generation and the PS5's backwards compatibility with the PS4. It's not uncommon to see lower-profile releases come to the PS4 but not have a dedicated PS5 version.

Towards the end of the console's life, Sony Computer South Korea went forward with a hilarious ad called Plash Speed, where a husband buying a PS4 Pro tries to hide the fact from his strict but noticeably IT-ignorant wife by trying to pass it off as a replacement router (calling it the titular Plash Speed). The ad went viral and became a meme very quickly in Asia. In a funny coincidence, the PS5's design when it was unveiled would be compared to that of a router.

Technical specifications

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    PlayStation 4/PlayStation 4 Slim 
  • AMD "Liverpool" Accelerated Processing Unit (A CPU & GPU on a single chip)
    • The CPU has eight x86-64 cores running at 1.6GHz each.
    • The GPU has 1152 GPU shaders running at 800 MHz, for a performance rated at 1.84 TFLOPS.
  • Marvell Armada ARM-type low-power processor, Codenamed “Aeolia”, for background processes, network tasks, security and streaming.
    • Based on the StrongARM architecture, which was a co-development by Digital Electronics Corp and ARM Inc., later sold to Intel and then to Marvell.
    • Connects to the Liverpool CPU via a PCIe 3.0 x4 Interface, effectively acting as a southbridge between the CPU and the devices in addition to performing it’s stated duties.


  • 8 GB GDDR5 system memory running at 5.5GHz with a total bandwidth of 176GB/s.
    • 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. Perplexingly, the hard drive goes through a SATA-to-USB interface, ensuring that the system cannot take true advantage of the speed benefits of SSDs.
  • Blu-ray drive rated for 6x speed, or about 27 MB per second. It reads Blu-Ray and DVD, but unusually, the system could not read standard Audio CDs (possibly due to the declining popularity of the format).
    • Instead of streaming data from the disc like previous-gen PlayStations, the system always required an installation of the game to the system hard drive. To mitigate this, the system would install necessary game files to the hard drive first, enabling the game to be booted for the first time almost immediately while the rest of the game was installed in the background.
    • A first for the PlayStation line, the system features no support for older-generation game discs. Digital versions of PS1 and PS2 games can be bought from the PlayStation Store, but physical media cannot be used. PS3 support was omitted presumably due to the fact that the two systems run on two completely different architectures and the fact that emulation was infeasible. Meanwhile PS1 and PS2 support may have been scrapped because, while those systems can be emulated, the PS4 lacked a CD laser necessary to read PS1 and some PS2 discs.


  • The custom APU chiplet is codenamed “Starsha” and based on AMD's "Sea Islands" architecture.
  • 1080p output standard.
  • 4K Resolution support for some content.
  • OpenGL 4.2 API support.
  • Performance rated at 25.6 gigapixels per second and 51.2 gigatexels per second.
  • HDR image support for games if implemented as of System Software version 4.00.


  • 1 HDMI output port; 1 optical audio out port (removed for PS4 Slim as a cost-cutting measure)
  • 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

    PlayStation 4 Pro 
  • AMD "Liverpool Neo" upgraded Accelerated Processing Unit (A CPU & GPU on a single chip)
    • The CPU has eight x86-64 cores running at 2.1GHz each.
    • The GPU has 2304 GPU shaders running at 911 MHz, for a performance rated at 4.198 TFLOPS.
  • Marvell Armada ARM-type low-power processor, Codenamed “Aeolia”, for background processes, network tasks, security and streaming.
    • Based on the Strong ARM architecture, which was a co-development by Digital Electronics Corp and ARM Inc., later sold to Intel and then to Marvell.
    • Connects to the Liverpool CPU via a PC Ie 3.0 x4 Interface, effectively acting as a southbridge between the CPU and the devices in addition to its stated duties.


  • 8 GB GDDR5 system memory running at 6.8GHz with a total bandwidth of 217.6GB/s.
    • Heterogeneous System Architecture provides a common memory space shared between CPU and GPU.
  • 1GB of DDR3 "scratch RAM" also linked to the ARM processor, background non-game applications can be suspended to this memory space if the console is switched to a game while it's running a non-game app like Netflix.
  • 256 MB RAM chip for secondary ARM processor.
  • 1TB Hard Drive. Can be replaced with any 2.5" hard drive, including SSDs. The Pro uses a native SATA III interface, meaning it will benefit more from an SSD than the earlier PS4 models.
  • Blu-ray drive is the same model used in the original PS4: rated for 6x speed, or about 27 MB per second- a design decision that baffled fans as the drive is not fast enough to handle 4K UHD Blu-ray Discs which goes against what the PS4 Pro stands for, and also against Sony’s own optical media (made worse that rival Microsoft did upgrade the Xbox One X with a faster blu-ray drive to enable 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc playback). note 


  • 4K output standard, using a chiplet codenamed "Starsha Pro" based on AMD’s "Sea Islands" architecture.
    • While games are not necessarily rendered natively in 4K, they are sampled in a way that offers higher resolution visuals than 1080p. Some games do run on 4K, such as PlayStation 3 remasters and downloadable titles, while others use either dynamic resolution which scales the output image depending on load while keeping interface elements at native resolution, interpolation techniques such as reconstruction or checkerboard rendering, or a combination thereof.
  • OpenGL 4.2 API support.
  • Performance rated at 29.15 gigapixels per second and 131.2 gigatexels per second.
  • HDR image support for games if implemented.


  • 1 HDMI output port; 1 optical audio out port
  • 3 USB 3.1 ports
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 802.11ac and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless capabilities
  • 1 Aux port for the PlayStation Eye camera

    PlayStation Virtual Reality 
  • Dual 1080x960 OLED 5.7 inch panels with 90/120 Hz refresh rate and 100° field of view, one for each eye; their spacing can be adjusted to account for user IPD (the distance between their pupils).
  • Requires user's own headset for 3D audio and microphone connectivity. This plugs into a dongle for the HMD, rather than the DualShock 4 (and in fact if one were to plug it into the controller, then 3D audio would not be possible).
  • Single PS4 camera for tracking, which tracks the lights emitted by the HMD and any controllers to help the virtual reality scenario control smoothly for the player. The camera is usually mounted under or above the user's TV (if they in fact have one; it isn't required for non-VR/"flat" play) and the user is best placed sitting about 2m away from it.
  • If the user does have a TV, then it can either project one of the OLED panels ("flattened" to remove the 3D effect and suit a display which is, well, flat) so that observers can see what the VR gamer is experiencingnote , or a different perspective suited for flat TV gamers who play alongside/against the VR gamer. This is one of the functions of the breakout box.

Controller options

  • Essentially, any input which the PS4 already permits, which the developer deems appropriate for their software and the scenario portrayed. This could include flightsticks, steering wheels, firearms (i.e. lightguns) and even an unconventional foot motion controller.
  • The DualShock4 tends to be an option universally catered for. Combines light tracking to show movable elements in the HUD with the device's movement controls. This is good, for example, for when the user is in a situation whereby their hands are nearby each other (e.g. binded in handcuffs).
  • PlayStation 3's Move controllers (their answer to the Nintendo Wiimote) were brought out of retirement to allow for ambidextrous mapping of hands in the VR world. These are not as decked out with tactile sensors as other VR platform's controllers, but still allow for perfectly adequate manipulation of the environment. Very useful for e.g. dual wielding of guns or melee weapons. Can be rigged together with connectors e.g. for the Beat Saber method of emulating Darth Maul. One disadvantage is that the Moves do not feature an analog stick, and the Move Navigation controller was not brought into the VR realm (probably to emphasise ambidexterity with the main Moves). This requires that to navigate the gaming world, developers instead accommodate the ability to do "teleportation movement" whereby the gamer points to a location, presses a button and they are warped to those coordinates. Also, see the 3dRudder section below.
  • Thrustmaster HOTAS flight sticks, compatible with games such as Eve Valkyrie and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for immersive cockpit controls.
  • PSVR Aim. A submachine gun-esque lightgun, with an integrated Move orb for tracking. Like the Moves, it can fully map rotations and other movements from it onto the in-game firearm. Fully ambidextrous, with an analog stick and several other buttons. Packed in with Farpoint, but compatible with numerous other first person shooters.
  • 3dRudder foot motion controller. A third party peripheral, also with a version designed for both flat and VR PC games. Rather than mapping footsteps, it works by allowing the user to tilt it with their feet to sense direction, and forward or backward movement (including velocity) via leaning on foot bars. A good alternative to Move-only teleportation. However, games must be built from the ground up (or patched) to support itnote 

Games announced or released

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    PS2 Games on PS4 

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