Since the inauguration of the eighth generation, Sony has dominated the console market. Launching at a more accessible price point than Microsoft's Xbox One and packing more juice under the hood, the PlayStation 4 could not have asked for a stronger deck! In hindsight, Sony's highly regarded exclusives did not truly start to emerge until a few of years into the console's lifespan; nevertheless, the PlayStation 4 established itself as the definitive device for multiplatform properties. Now, in all fairness, Microsoft hit back with the Xbox One X, but the world's most powerful console targets a less casual audience and dropped a little too late into this generation's run.
Consoles offer simplicity. While $399 can scarcely be characterized as loose change, the PlayStation 4 requires a far smaller investment than a mid-tier computer. "Plug and play" cemented consoles as an enticing option for those seeking to avoid the hassle that comes with PC gaming. Admittedly, each new generation blurs the lines separating consoles and computers, but accessibility remains a key marketable component of the PlayStation 4. The term "media device" may annoy certain people, but modern consoles must be equipped to entertain across multiple fronts. Consequently, the PlayStation 4 comes packed with numerous features designed to facilitate, promote, and improve the device's versatility.
Sony's current console hides many neat innovations, with some being rather easy to miss. The PlayStation 4 is more than a one trick pony! Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Here are 15 things only experts knew the PS4 could do (and 10 features it’s still missing)!
25 Absent: PSN Name Change
Now, in all fairness, it has to be stated that Sony seems set to remedy this shortcoming in the following months. Nevertheless, gamers have been asking for the opportunity to alter their PSN names since the launch of the PlayStation 3.
There is absolutely no justification for this feature requiring more than a decade to implement!
Finally, adults can change their cringe-worthy adolescent username into something that does not reference posteriors or Naruto. We really are living in the future! While the first alteration will be free of charge, any subsequent changes cost $9.99. PlayStation Plus members received a 50% discount. Make the next one count!
24 Awesome: Hide Games
At launch, a console is merely a stripped-down version of the final product. Rightfully so, the compatible games hog most of the attention, but each platform steadily injects seemingly insignificant quality of life improvements that ultimately offer a more enjoyable overall package. The PlayStation 4's 5.50 update added an array of neat options, and the ability to hide purchased games was certainly among the more appreciated.
November 2018 marked the console's half-a-decade anniversary; after all these years, many personal libraries are packed with hundreds of games. The PlayStation 4 has always been slightly lacking in content management, but this feature helps reduce the clutter. In the purchased section, press the Options button to bring up the necessary menu.
23 Awesome: Voice Control
Voice recognition tends to be associated with Microsoft's defunct Kinect accessory, but the Xbox One is not the only console which happens to be a decent listener. Voice control can be activated through the settings' "system" menu, but an additional piece of hardware is required. Obviously, Sony would love for this device to be the PlayStation Camera, which is also useful with the PS VR.
Thankfully, a compatible headset can also get the job done. Once everything is set up, clear your throat and prepare to utter a resounding "PlayStation" to spark the console into action. Alternatively, pressing the L2 button turns on voice commands.
22 Absent: Refund Policy
Steam's bargain bin approach to game distribution necessitates a generous refund policy. In theory, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only accept titles that reach their standard of excellence. Or, that used to be the case, but we live in a post-Life of Black Tiger world! Technically, Sony does have a 14-day cancellation policy; however, this only extends to purchases that have yet to be downloaded or streamed.
Essentially, this is merely for impulse buys. A refund might be permitted if a title happens to be faulty, but these decisions are made at Sony's discretion. A two-hour refund policy would be amazing!
21 Awesome: Manually Eject A Stuck Disc
Generally, the PlayStation 4 is a competently put together machine with barely any glaring technical weak points. Unfortunately, nothing works perfectly all of the time, therefore, preventive measures should be implemented with the assumption that something will go wrong. With each passing generation, consoles are steadily shifting towards a digital-only market; nevertheless, physical games remain relatively popular.
While this does not seem to be too wide-spread of a problem, occasionally, a disc refuses to eject.
If such a situation happens to arise, the PlayStation 4 can be dismantled to allow for the manual removal of the culprit. Sony has a detailed guide on the console's website.
20 Awesome: A Smart Remote
Anyone with a Sony console needs to download the PlayStation App. On the surface, the application acts as a link to the PSN community and an extension of one's PlayStation account. Among other features, the app allows downloads to be remotely activated and comes with a messenger system similar to Facebook.
Digging deeper into the app's benefits reveals an array of awesome features designed to heighten the console's productivity. Alongside to serving as a second screen, the smartphone can be transformed into a remote for the PlayStation 4. This feature is indispensable when browsing through Netflix and other similar media services.
19 Absent: Backwards Compatibility
Here is the big one! Regardless of personal preference, the Xbox One's backward compatibility is an incredibly attractive trait exclusive to Microsoft's current console. PS Now attempts to offer something similar, but the PlayStation 4 simply cannot emulate its predecessor's games. The PlayStation 3 amassed a respectable line-up of titles, but the console's peculiar hardware effectively exhausted any hope of Sony embracing backward compatibility.
This feature might be impossible during the current generation, but the PlayStation 5 needs to address this issue. At the very least, the next console must accept PlayStation 4 titles. Sadly, the PlayStation 3 seems to be a lost cause.
18 Awesome: Change The Share Button's Functionality
Nowadays, sharing is nearly inseparable from gaming. Why play alone when one can entertain strangers from all around the world? The PlayStation 4 enables content to be broadcast directly to Twitch, and the DualShock 4 set aside a separate switch solely for the purpose of sharing content.
The Share button comes with three default operations; a quick push opens the menu, holding down the key takes a screenshot, and a double-click records a video. Alternatively, these commands can be altered via the settings' "sharing and broadcasts" menu. Depending on the circumstances, one might prefer to allocate a single press to either a screenshot or video clip.
17 Absent: A Half-Way Decent Store
The PlayStation Store is a laggy mess on consoles. While the web browser version is slightly less headache-inducing, we would not wish the PlayStation 4's alternative on our worst enemies! Gratefully, Sony has somewhat improved the store's design in recent months; nevertheless, it is comfortably the least recommendable venue for scouring through the platform's catalog.
At the end of the day, consoles ship with limited resources, and allowances must be made in certain areas to facilitate a more cost-effective final product. The PlayStation 4's store seeks to accomplish the bare minimum, but frequently falls shorts of meeting even the most forgiving of standards.
16 Awesome: Fuse The PlayStation 4 And TV
"Enable HDMI Device Link" pairs the PlayStation 4 with the TV. Prior to proceeding any further, it should be noted this feature is primarily designed for Sony's screens, although there is always the chance that a non-official TV will play ball. Listed under settings' "system" category, activate the option shown in this entry's associated photo to link the two devices.
If the console and TV are determined to be a decent match, then the TV's remote can be used to browse the PlayStation 4's interface. Furthermore, turning on the PlayStation 4 should automatically initiate the TV. This feature literally shaves seconds from the boot-up process!
15 Absent: Wishlist Notifications
Periodically, Steam sends an informative message advising that a sought-after game is currently on sale. Taking into account the store's frequent price drops and overwhelming catalog, such a system is incredibly helpful. The PlayStation 4 has a half-hearted alternative to Steam's Wishlist system.
Available exclusively through web browsers, games can be added to a Wishlist via the PlayStation Store.
Steam's feature ensures customers do not miss out on any potentially interesting sales; conversely, Sony's Wishlist amounts to little more than a collection of desired titles. Unless someone has a particularly terrible memory and regularly forgets which games they might like to own, the PlayStation 4's Wishlist is pointless. An alert system would go a long way.
14 Awesome: Dim The Dualshock's Light
Even though accessories exist that reduce the frustration resulting from the controller's brief lifespan, the DualShock 4 demands a recharge after practically every session. Efficiency is not the priority. Dimming the controller's light does not drastically elongate the average charge, but affords a minimal boost in life expectancy. Crucially, the DualShock 4's light is somewhat obnoxious and annoying!
Listed under settings' "devices," one can access the controller's options and reduce the overall brightness. While the light cannot be completely switched off, the default setting can be changed to two less blinding alternatives.
13 Awesome: Motion Typing
Here is a tiny but useful feature that tends to slip through the cracks. Typing on consoles is the worst. Somehow, entering a username turns into a test of patience and precision. Glacially skipping across the keyboard is about as enjoyable as filing a tax report, and seems to require approximately an equivalent amount of time.
Clicking the R3 button activates motion typing, which unchains the cursor and permits one to go directly to the desired key. Depending on the person, motion typing is either the PlayStation 4's standout feature or utterly useless. There are only two types of people in the world.
12 Absent: Customizable Interface
Sony and Microsoft's user interfaces both leave something to be desired. Neither are downright terrible, but they are restricted by an inflexible design and a surprising absence of customization options. The PlayStation 4's library permits games to be categorized into specific folders, a trait that slightly negated the console's lackluster content control options. Furthermore, these folders can be added to the user interface, permitting a quicker access to specific apps.
Nevertheless, an ability to alter the interface's layout would be more than welcome. The PlayStation 4's menu exists to get someone from point A to B; consequently, customization is not especially relevant.
11 Awesome: Install Games On An External HDD
Implemented as part of Sony's 4.50 system update, at long last, games and applications can be installed to an external hard disk drive. Prior to this addition, one was left with no choice but to install a larger internal HDD or constantly delete games to vacate space for a new download.
Games are only expanding in size, and the console's default 500 GB drive fills in a heartbeat. With regards to the external HDD, certain requirements must be met before the device can be used as storage. The USB has to support 3.0 or later, while the HDD must be capable of storing 250 GB.
10 Awesome: Take A Break, Start From The Same Spot
Rest Mode is mainly intended to avoid delaying play sessions due to a vital system or game update. So long as the PlayStation 4 is not totally switched off, the gears continue to churn away behind the scenes. A lesser-known but nevertheless cool benefit of Rest Mode is that games can be left paused, allowing for a near-instant return to the previously left spot.
Please note, this feature is not automatically activated and must be selected from the settings' menu, alongside a number of other options. Players are extended the privilege of selecting which benefits remain effective while in Rest Mode.
9 Absent: Online Platform For Screenshots
Screenshots can be viewed via the PlayStation Network or transferred to a USB device. Alternatively, clips and images can be shared through select services. As made abundantly clear by the DualShock 4, screenshots and clips are meant to be shared with the larger community.
Sony cares not about one's personal collection; consequently, browsing your own saved content is an arduous task.
Sony should consider teaming up with a service that automatically uploads screenshots to a digital platform. After a session, players would be able to view their screenshots on a PC or a mobile device without requiring the use of a USB accessory.
8 Awesome: 2-Step Verification
Hacking has never been simpler. The digital age has brought forth countless positives, but everyone is at the mercy of con artists and criminals. A PlayStation account contains sensitive data that must be protected at all costs. Available across many platforms and services, 2-Step Verification should always be activated.
Passwords can be deciphered, but this security measure adds an extra defensive layer to the process. Alongside a normal password, a verification code is sent by text before permitting access to an account. Nobody believes they can be a victim of fraud until it happens to them. 2-Step Verification provides a safety net.
7 Awesome: Double Tap The PS Button
Holding down the PS button brings up the Quick Menu, while a brief tap sends players back to the home screen. For the most part, people are familiar with these specific operations; however, the DualShock 4 contains an additional shortcut that might very well rank as the most convenient of the three.
Double-clicking the PS button alternates between the two most recently accessed applications, with one of them possibly being a game. Flip-flopping between Netflix and Horizon Zero Dawn has never been easier! While this feature does not quite qualify as multi-tasking, it is the closest the PlayStation 4 is likely to get!
6 Absent: Delete DLC, Keep The Game
Has a situation ever risen were solely a DLC needed to be deleted? Whether such an event exists is irrelevant, as the PlayStation 4 does not permit downloadable content to be uninstalled. The entire game must be deleted for the DLC to be removed. Considering certain expansions can be rather huge, removing unwanted DLC clears space better left for other applications.
Harboring back to the console's restrictive customization options, this serves as another example of the PlayStation 4 failing to present players with the sufficient tools to dictate their preferred experience. Hopefully, the PlayStation 5 does not follow suit.
5 Awesome: Automatically Shut Down Console
Have a habit of falling asleep amid a marathon session of Orange is the New Black? Set the PlayStation 4 to automatically turn off after a definite amount of hours. This action can be scheduled to react differently depending on the active application, although Rest Mode circumvents the need to delay the hardware's deactivation until the end of a download.
Nevertheless, an automatic shut down can be handy during media sessions. Pressing a single button on the controller resets the timer, so there is little to no chance of the PlayStation 4 turning off in the middle of a movie. Lawrence of Arabia and Spartacus are exceptions.
4 Awesome: Tailored Notifications
Those blessed with friends tend to be flooded with constant pop-ups ann0uncing the arrival of a companion. Unless their appearance means it is time for an Overwatch or FIFA match, we recommend disabling all notifications to avoid any unnecessary distractions.
There is also the option to Appear Offline, which eliminates the risk of drawing any unwanted invitations.
If there happens to be a single friend whose arrival is a cause of celebration, then visit the PlayStation 4's settings and select this person to permit any associated pop-ups. Notifications are only as intrusive as one allows them to be.
3 Absent: Playtime Tracker
Periodically, Sony sends out an email containing data associated with an account. Besides listing the number of trophies obtained over the last year, these messages list the total play time. Regardless of whether met with a quick chuckle or an existential crisis, these notifications proof Sony does track playtime statistics.
Surprisingly, the PlayStation 4 does not offer the opportunity to view this data through any other means. Why is this information not available via the options menu? In the grand scheme of things, a tracker is hardly the most indispensable feature affiliated with gaming, but the information should still be accessible.
2 Awesome: Button Mapping
Do you wish to remap the DualShock 4's control scheme? Sony has your back! Listed under "accessibility," buttons can be reassigned to suit someone's fancy. With the exception of the slightly more restrictive L3 and R3 buttons, any of the keys can be swapped as desired.
Any changes occur on a system level and extend to all applications, but games do not reflect these alterations. Prompts will continue to recommend the original button, therefore, it is up to the player to remember the new scheme. So long as permitted by the game, remapping the buttons from within an application's settings might be preferable.
1 Absent: Native 4K
The PlayStation 4 Pro delivers a moderate boost in performance and visuals, but few titles are genuinely 4K. Generally, the console upscales the resolution to strike a middle-point between 1080p and 4K. Sony's upgraded console lacks the power to run the most demanding titles at a Native 4K resolution, and many developers opt against optimizing games to satisfy this element.
At the moment, 4K screens are steadily growing in popularity, and Sony's next console needs to reflect this technological shift away from Full HD. The PlayStation 4 launched at a time when 4K was little more than a light in the distance.