The PlayStation 4 is a compact and advanced digital hub with a growing library of next gen games to choose from. The control pad has increased functionality compared to the PS3, and inside the PS4 packs a noticeably increased processing speed. Sony have made the console compatible with a number of other devices, and by adding RemotePlay and SharePlay, placed more emphasis on the social aspect of gaming.
First designed by Sony as a CD-ROM peripheral for the Super Nintendo, the original idea, named Super Disc, was never made available due to an array of licencing issues. Instead Sony decided to revamp the product and call it the PlayStation. Even at this early stage, the company was planning on the system becoming a multimedia platform, with more engaging and intuitive gaming capabilities.
With a refined design and a new name, the PlayStation was launched in Europe and the US in 1995 – it quickly became a worldwide hit. As part of the fifth generation of consoles, the PlayStation competed successfully with the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn, winning a far greater market share.
In 2000 the PSone – a redesigned version of the original console – and PlayStation 2 followed. These sixth generation consoles were both popular bestsellers, boasting significant aesthetical and technical improvements. According to Sony, the PlayStation 2 had sold over 150 million units worldwide by 2013, making it the world’s most successful home gaming console.
Released in 2006 the PlayStation 3 is the successor to Sony’s previous consoles, the first with a Blu-ray drive for playing games and watching films. It has a suite of innovative software, a high performance cell processor and advanced connectivity, with built-in Bluetooth 2.0 and wireless capabilities. The PS3 has a huge library of titles and remains an excellent media player. Seven years later, in 2013, the Sony PlayStation 4 was launched.
The PS4 originally appeared in a single edition back in 2013, while two additional updates were announced in September 2016: the PS4 Pro and the PS4 Slim, both of which delivered significant improvements on the original console.
A basic PlayStation 4 without a bundled game is available in either Jet Black or Glacier White, with an internal memory of 500 GB, or the more recently released 1TB Ultimate Player Edition. A PS4 can also be bundled with a game like EA SPORTS FIFA 17, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate or Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Some PlayStation 4 consoles are sold as special edition bundles; these include the 20th Anniversary Edition, the Star Wars Battlefront Limited Edition and the Batman: Arkham Knight Limited Edition. Other bundles are sold with additional extra items, like a second DualShock 4 controller or a PlayStation Camera.
Sony has stopped manufacturing the original PS4, but bundles are still available, so buyers can choose between the three models to find one that meets their needs. Here’s the lowdown on what they have to offer:
As usual, both the PS4 Pro and the PS4 Slim are available in a range of different bundles.
The PS4 Pro comes in a standard bundle with 1TB of storage space and a Dualshock 4 controller. However, if you have a favourite gaming franchise, you might want to buy a themed PS4 bundle to save money on setting up your gaming centre. Examples include PS4 Pro bundles with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Star Wars: Battlefront, FIFA 2017 or Grand Theft Auto V, but you can also purchase bundles with NOW TV passes included if you intend to use your PS4 to watch Sky TV content.
The PS4 Slim comes in 500GB and 1TB models, and – again – you can choose from plenty of themed bundles. Fans of Horizon: Zero Dawn, Final Fantasy 15, Uncharted 4, LEGO Star Wars, Grand Theft Auto V or Watch Dogs 2 can buy the console and the games together, making big savings.
It might also be worth noting that you can buy a range of different colours of PS4 – including customised designs from companies like Colorware, which might be a fun way to personalise a gift.
Before you make a PS4 purchase, it helps to know how the various models stack up against each other. This table should help to make sense of what’s on offer:
Firstly, the original PS4:
And the PS4 Slim:
Finally, the PS4 Pro:
The primary reason most people buy a PlayStation 4 is to play video games. As one of the eighth generation of consoles it makes titles like Destiny: The Taken King, Metal Gear V and Black Ops III look incredible. It also supports numerous cross-platform titles, along with remastered PS3 games and many downloadable or streamed games. Unlike the Wii U which is slowing down on the production of new releases, the PS4 has many fresh titles in the pipeline.
The PlayStation 4 and its games are not region locked, so you can play them anywhere in the world. Another revolutionary feature is, that you start a game on the PlayStation Vita or PS4 and just finish it on the other device.