In depth: 5 Reasons to buy a PS4 today (and 5 reasons to wait a while)

In depth: 5 Reasons to buy a PS4 today (and 5 reasons to wait a while)

5 reasons to buy a PS4 today

With the PlayStation 4, Sony hopes to correct some of the mistakes that it made with the PS3.

The new console features a tried and tested 64-bit x86 architecture, making it easier to develop for, and Sony has trimmed its machine of media frills to concentrate on delivering a pure gaming experience.

Best of all, perhaps, the PS4 is cheaper than the rival Xbox One by £80 in the UK. Should you buy one now? Or bide your time? Let’s discuss…

1. The PS4 is the most powerful next-gen console

Despite the fact that Microsoft boosted the CPU and GPU performance of the Xbox One before going into production, the PlayStation 4 is still the more powerful of the two next-gen systems.

On paper, the specs show that it’s got an eight core x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU, 8GB of DDR5 memory (the Xbox One uses older DDR3), a 500GB hard drive, and a powerful 1.83 TFLOP Radeon GPU. In practice, developers have suggested that the PS4’s memory reader is 40-50% faster than the Xbox One and its Arithmetic Logic Unit is 50% speedier.

How does this shake out in terms of performance? With the confirmation that Call of Duty: Ghosts only runs at 720p natively on Xbox One but runs in full, glorious, pixel-perfect 1080p on the PS4, we think you have your answer.


2. The PS4 is the best games machine

Sony has gone back to its PlayStation roots. The PS4 is a pure games machine, unencumbered by the media frills that adorn the Xbox One. The launch line-up offers some spectacular 1080p gaming experiences at 30fps, such as fighting the Helghast horde in Killzone: Shadow Fall and sailing the beautifully-rendered seas in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag.

There’s more to come in 2014 too, with DriveClub, Watch Dogs, Destiny and the tasty prospect of a PS4 Uncharted title. And don’t worry if the 500GB hard drive seems a little small for all these AAA games. The PS4’s internal HDD can be upgraded. The Xbox One’s can’t.

3. The PS4 has the best sharing features

The PS4 ships with Sony’s new DualShock 4 controller, which benefits from a higher-quality design, superior feel/grip, a MicroUSB port for easy charging and a 3.5mm headset jack. It also has a dedicated ‘share’ button that enables you to share screenshots and gaming videos across the PlayStation Network, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch and Ustream.

This social aspect is right at the heart of the PS4 experience. The PS4 makes it easy to see what your friends are up to, chat and even extend your gaming to a PS Vita. While the PlayStation app lets you use your smartphone as a second screen to manage your content. Take that SmartGlass.

PS4 interface

4. The PS4’s launch day bugs have been exaggerated

There are bugs and niggles with any new product, especially one as complex as the PlayStation 4. Reports of ‘blinking blue light of death’ that caused some PS4s to shut down due to connectivity problems are nowhere near as catastrophic as the Xbox 360’s fatal ‘red ring’.

In fact, Sony has revealed that only 0.4 per cent of launch consoles have suffered from it. With one million units sold on day one in the US, that’s a tiny number. Nothing to be worried about. Most modern products aren’t perfect from the get-go and so being an early adopter means that you have to take these problems on the chin. You are, after all, one of the first to own a product that will be fixed, improved and refined as time goes on.

5. The PS4 is the best value console

Easy one this. Priced at £349, the PS4 is £80 cheaper than the £429 Xbox One and represents tremendous value for money. Yes, you could argue that every Xbox One ships with a Kinect as standard. But early reviews suggest that the new Kinect is imprecise and that it will take some time before games and apps make full use of it. Even if you add in the equivalent PlayStation Camera (£44.99), you’ve still got £35 and a penny left to put towards a next-gen game or a couple of Blu-ray flicks. Nice.

5 Reasons to wait before buying a PS4…

ps4 game

1. Ho-hum PS4 launch games

For a ‘pure’ games machine, the PS4’s line-up of launch titles surprisingly lacks a game that makes Sony’s system feel unmissable. Like any new console launch, the first batch of games – Battlefield 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Resogun, Need for Speed: Rivals, Call of Duty: Ghosts, FIFA 14 – don’t make the most of the power bottled up inside the new machine.

Many of the games are also available on the PS3, albeit graphically less impressive. It’s going to take a while before there’s a better balance between 1080p next-gen prettiness and compelling gameplay. Show us games that deliver something new and innovative, not just games with fancier lighting, higher-resolution textures and more realistic physics.

2. Never buy version 1…

A product as complex as the PlayStation 4 is bound to have some teething troubles, from hardware incompatibilities (the ‘blinking blue light of death’) to hardware failures (overheating, faulty HDMI connections and disc ejection problems). While Sony has obviously done its best to battle test the PS4, it can’t anticipate every problem.

Games are also far from perfect. Battlefield 4 has suffered crashes, while COD: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed IV have already been issued with fixes. By waiting, you let other people suffer these version 1 bugs and give Sony – and the various game developers – time to smooth out the rough gaming edges.


3. Missing PS4 features

While the Xbox One continues Microsoft’s digital assault on the living room, Sony’s PS4 ignores many of the PS3’s media hub talents. For example, there’s no 3D Blu-ray support and you can’t plug in an external hard drive. MP3 playback isn’t supported, neither is DLNA media streaming.

That’s not to say that these things won’t be added in the future. Sony’s proposed cloud streaming feature, powered by Gaikai, wasn’t ready to launch with the PS4. It will reportedly debut in 2014. For now, the PS3 makes a better media player.

4. The PS4 is sold out

If you haven’t already ordered a PS4, then you might not be able to get one in 2013. Thanks to its generous price point, Sony’s machine is proving popular with gamers – it racked up over one million sales in the US/Canada alone after its 15 November launch.

Amazon can promise you a PS4 in time for Christmas, but only if you ordered it before November 13. Game too can whisk you a next-gen PlayStation before January, but only if you drop £500-£670 on one of its gaming packs. It’s why waiting a while might be the sensible option.

Yes, there are plenty of bundles around, but few really feel like a great deal. Prices will remain inflated while demand for the hardware and software remains high.


5. We don’t know which console is better (yet)

The PS4 might have sold over one million units on its first day of release, but so did the Xbox One (albeit in more countries). While the Xbox One impresses with Forza Motorsport 5 and Dead Rising 3; the PS4 shows its enormous potential with Killzone: Shadow Fall and Resogun.

Both machines have eight core processors, Blu-ray players and huge 500GB hard disks. Both will be able to play highly anticipated games like Watch Dogs and Destiny… Taking all this into account, it’s too early to close the Xbox One vs PS4 debate; too soon to call a winner in the next-gen war.

Are you buying a PS4 as soon as you can get your hands on one? Or do you plan to wait? Let us know by leaving a comment.