Upon boot-up, the PS4 will ask you who is using the console and will display a log on screen with high resolution images of all the available profiles. You can set up an auto log-on to one particular profile should you wish to avoid the log on screen each time you turn the console on. If you have the new PlayStation camera, after a one time configuration, you can log on through the new facial recognition system by simply placing your head in the displayed area and showing your DualShock 4 controller to the camera. The reason for these two methods is so that the PS4 does not automatically log on other players who walk into the room and get picked up by the camera.
The UI of the PS4 is an advancement of the XMB from the PS3, for example there is now a new dedicated “What’s New” tab in which all the latesty activity from your friends is displayed. Such as captured video, status updates, and in game-screenshots. What makes this tab so visually appealing is that it’s not cluttered with massive amounts of text, instead it is very thumbnail heavy allowing for instant previews of different events, and provided you have a stable broadband connection, you can instantly play videos that your friends have captured.
What is probably the most significant improvement on the PS4 is the speed, no matter what you choose to do whether you’re browsing on the internet, starting a party chat with your friends or watching a video, the system functions almost instantaneously. As expected there is a delay to loading games but this is understandable due to the larger file size. The best way to compare the new OS of the PS4, is with how the smartphones of today function. Switching between apps is very quick and makes the experience of using the software all the more enjoyable. The PS4’s home button acts as a quick means of getting back to the dashboard, but is also provides a way to multi task. As shown in previous promotional videos from Sony, double tapping the home button allows for users to instantly switch back to their previous activity. So if you’re on the internet reading an article or watching videos on PS4Fans.net, you can instantly switch back to your game with no wait!
Messaging has been drastically changed on the PS4 was frankly much needed. Party chat can include up to 8 players who can all communicate with voice chat no matter what game they are playing which was a long awaited feature since the release of PS3 but was never possible due to technical incapability. Communication will now be cross-platform allowing for users on PS4, PS Vita and on smartphones with PlayStation App to send realtime text, picture and audio between themselves. On the PS4, users can type messages by using the on-screen keyboard or by using the new motion controlled typing mechanism that is available to use provided you have the PlayStation camera.
A new trophy system will also come into play, with your level and trophy count being clearly displayed on your profile, trophies are being encouraged all the more on the next generation. But the PS4 will reward you further, by displaying your trophies in accordance with their rarity level. So if you were to aquire a trophy that is uncommon amongst users on PSN, that trophy will display as either a rare or ultra rare on your profile. If for example a platinum trophy has only been acquired by a small percentage of the total player count on a particular game, it will be assigned ultra rare status.
As was announced a few weeks ago, the PS4’s friends list now accomodates up to 2000 friends and enables playes to identify themselves by their real names. However players must either request to see another user’s real name, or you can decide who sees your real name through the settings. By adding a new friend they will not automatically see your real name, you must enable that feature manually which is a great feature as players can still play using their PSN ID or their real name which ever they choose.
Sharing is a key feature to PS4 as has been the case since the announcement of the share button on the DualShock 4. PS4 makes it incredibly easy to stream your gameplay on Twitch or UStream even with picture-in-picture display allowing for you to display yourselves using the PlayStation camera whilst streaming gameplay. You can decide the quality of the video you want to broadcast which is useful for those with strained internet connections. In addition to this it is also very easy to browse ongoing streams and watch whichever you choose in fullscreen through the Twitch browser. Selecting favourites and other channel shortcuts aren’t available at day 1, but may be introduced in the future.
PS4 allows for players to record the last 15 minutes of gameplay which can be trimmed and edited into smaller clips and then uploaded to Facebook or Twitter. Your friends will be able to see these videos on their news feeds and users can even set the privacy and distribution settings with Facebook. Unfortunately you cannot transfer captured clips to a USB or external HDD, but this feature may be enabled in the future.
The PS store has been improved further by having more image heavy displays allowing for quick interaction between different tabs within the store. Players can decide whether to download singleplayer or multiplayer elements of a game first and after a certain percentage you can play whilst you download. Also the PS4 allows for users to prioritise the download of their content so you can play what you want to play quicker.
Gone are the days of waiting for movies to download before you can watch, movies and media has now been transferred entirely to the cloud. Users will no longer wait ridiculous download times to watch the films they have rented or purchased, instead the stream will be almost instantaneous much like Netflix which has become hugely popular since it’s introduction on PS3.
Lastly, users can configure their PS4 to download updates whilst the system is in standby mode. The PS4 can also be turned on remotely which allows for purchases made on the PlayStation App to begin downloading instantly and pre-load a game should users wish to do so.
All these features are no doubt welcomed with open arms and will greatly improve the user experience. Stay tuned to PS4Fans.net for all the latest on this grand piece of hardware.