The PlayStation 4 has grown to become one of the top consoles you can buy today. What started out with an interesting lineup and a competitive edge over the Xbox One has grown into a powerhouse that boasts several must-play exclusive games and a vast network of extra services and online memberships. While PC seems to be taking the gaming community by storm, there’s a lot of support and love for the PS4 and what it brings to the table.
Now that the console has been out for several years, reasonable price drops and a massive library have made it a worthy purchase for anyone wanting to get into the gaming world. We’re not going to spend time arguing over it or the Xbox One, but it’s worth noting that the PS4 is a simply worthy purchase at this point.
However, there’s more to a PS4 than just playing games on it. There are all sorts of tricks and nuances that other consoles don’t have. There are features that aren’t available that may even surprise you. It’s important when trying to make a decision on which console to buy that you have all your facts straight. That way, your purchase is much more educated.
Tons of people have PS4s but are figuring out all the neat little tricks and frustrating little quirks long after the initial purchase. If you’re thinking about getting one for your home, then you may want to consider these 25 things we wish we knew before buying a PS4.
24 Disc Downloads Can Be Really Annoying
A lot of current-gen games are massive. Some can easily clock in at over 40 GB a piece. Because of this, the PS4 requires that players install games on their console even if they have the disc version. This is done so that the gameplay experience can be smoother, but it also means that you’re going to have to be more conscious of your storage and how much you’re using. Discs don’t save space either way, so it might even be better to go completely digital.
23 PS Plus Isn't Just A Suggestion Anymore
During the PS3 days, it was free to play games online. That changed with the launch of the PS4 though. PlayStation Plus is now a service that you have to pay for if you want to play certain games online.
It is priced at the same level as Xbox Live, but it also gives you some free games and discounts along the way.
If you’re into consistently getting new games to try out, the service almost pays for itself at some point.
22 No Backward Compatibility... At All
The PS3 was impressive with how many other games it could play. There were even versions that could load up classic PS1 discs. However, new hardware on the PS4 led Sony to not add any backward compatibility into the system. This means that your old games will only be playable on older Sony consoles. The only discs that go into the PS4 are Blu-Rays, DVDs, and PS4 games. Strangely, this is one area where Microsoft seems to have the upper hand, with expansive backward compatibility on the Xbox One.
21 Navigating The Menu Is Surprisingly Annoying
For people used to cleaner and more succinct menus for their game consoles, the adjustment to a PS4 might prove a bit problematic at first. The menu is fairly straightforward, but everything of interest is lumped together on a single row with seemingly no rhyme or reason. The settings and communities are then segmented to a higher row, but there’s also an option for quick settings with a menu that pops in from the left. It can be a bit disjointed.
20 Classic Games Are There, But At A Price
While the PS4 offers no backward compatibility, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to play all sorts of older games on the system. The PlayStation Store has a respectable backlog of beloved PS2 games for players to download. They include both popular and more obscure titles, and each is at a fair price of around $14.99 on average. The sad part is that older PS1 and PS3 games didn’t get the same treatment, leaving some of those games seemingly lost to time.
Price Drops Make Waiting Worth It
There are a lot of big games that come out every year for the PS4. Before rushing to pre-order them to play on day one, it’s worth noting that a lot of those games don’t stay at $59.99 for long.
Wait about a year and those games drastically go down in price.
For example, Horizon Zero Dawn was a $60 game when it first released in 2017. Now, players can get it with the Frozen Wilds DLC for a total of $20.
19 Hard Drive Space Runs Out Pretty Quickly
Because the PS4 insists on making players completely download their games whether it be through digital sales or on disc, knowing hard drive space is more important than ever. Getting a PS4 with less hard drive space might prove a bit more cost effective, but you’ll likely have to go through and manage the games you have much more frequently. You can upgrade your PS4 storage with external memory, but do you want an extra block on top of your sleek console?
18 There Are Many Absent Franchises
If you’re getting a PS4 because you’re expecting a new Sly Cooper or possibly a remake of Jak and Daxter down the line, you’d be sorely disappointed. There are several popular PlayStation franchises that haven’t quite made their proper return on the PS4. Ratchet and Clank only had one major release on the PS4. If you’re looking into series like God of War and Uncharted, though, you won’t be disappointed. It’s just a bit sad to see that some franchises haven’t made the leap to current-gen hardware.
17 The Touchpad Is Useful, But Not Intuitive
The Dualshock 4 controllers are interesting pieces of tech. While they retain the design and shape of older Dualshock controllers, they have two notable additions, the first being the touchpad. It doesn’t offer much in terms of new gameplay experiences, but it does lead to some innovative ways of playing games. Some games have you drawing with the touchpad. Others hide menus and maps behind a single click of it. It may not be for you, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
16 Using Ethernet Is Essential
While a lot of online gaming comes from the PC side of the industry, there are plenty of online games available for the PS4. If you’re planning on doing any heavy online gaming, though, it might be advisable to get an Ethernet cable to have a wired connection. That way you won’t experience as much lag or interruptions. We all know that a game can go sour if everyone is using wireless connections for their internet access. It just makes things easier to use a cable.
15 PS4 Pro Isn’t Necessary
When looking at different models of the PS4, you’re bound to come across a PS4 Pro and get it just because it’s the best version.
While it does have the most power, it’s not that big of an upgrade from a regular PS4.
Most players won’t notice the difference in most games. If you don’t even have a 4K TV, the benefits won’t be there for you either. The only reason you would need one is if you’re planning on getting the PSVR at some point.
14 Setting Up The PSVR Takes An Absurd Amount Of Time
The PSVR has slowly built up an impressive library of games that some have touted as the best on any VR headset. While some aren’t in love with a PSVR, you might be interested in checking it out. However, if you plan on getting one, it’s important to remember that they’re not easy to set up. Most times, setting up a PSVR can take hours. That’s time that some would deem not worth it. It’s essentially an add-on that should only be purchased if you’re really into VR.
13 Sharing Your Moments Is Actually Easy
Instead of a general start and select button, the Dualshock 4 controller has a share and options button. The share button allows you to capture certain images or videos of whatever game you’re playing and distribute them via social media linked to your PlayStation Network account. It makes it easy to get a major play in Overwatch and share it with your Facebook friends or get a beautiful landscape in God of War to show your followers. If you’re a social butterfly, the PS4 may just be for you.
12 PS5... When?
Something to consider before you buy a PS4 is that its life seems to be slowly fading out at this point. There are plenty of rumors about a PS5 on the way, and Sony had already talked a bit about it. With a little number of games shown off at last year’s E3, it seems that new hardware is just around the corner. Sony is even skipping this year’s E3, so it stands to reason that they’re preparing for something massive. If you’re getting the PS4 because of its long life, you may want to rethink.
11 FFVII Remake Still Hasn't Come
One of the ways Sony marketed the PS4 was by having Square show off a remake of Final Fantasy VII for the console.
This led some to double down on the console in the hopes that they’ll be able to relive their days in Midgar.
Unfortunately, the new Final Fantasy VII fell into the spot that was previously occupied by Kingdom Hearts 3. There has been little talk about it and we’re not even sure that it’s going to be released at all.
10 There's Help Finding Trophies
Trophies are a cute way of encouraging players to keep playing through a game. There are all sorts of challenges to overcome, but certain trophies can be a bit difficult to obtain. That’s why Sony has a feature where players can look up trophies and search for them on the built-in browser to try and get some advice on how to acquire them. If you’re an achievement hunter, this feature was practically made for you. Finding all the dragon eggs in Spyro suddenly became possible.
9 How To Quick Swap Apps
There are a few new shortcut commands added to the Dualshock 4 to make navigating the PS4 a bit of an easier process. While a player is running a game or app, they can double tap the home button to immediately go to the app they were using last. There is a caveat, though. This feature doesn’t allow for players to instantly switch between games. Instead, they can use it to switch from a game to an app and vice versa.
8 The Light Means Something
One of the biggest additions to the Dualshock 4 is the light on the top. This light can be customized for different menus and changes depending on the battery life of the controller. It also interacts with certain games, changing colors when abilities are charged or perhaps when a player takes damage. It’s a nice feature, but it’s not all that useful. It simply has the same aesthetic appeal of using an RGB keyboard. It’s just there to look cool.
7 Get PS Plus For Free-To-Play Games
Games like Fortnite and Smite are extremely popular among console players. PS4 owners might immediately get a PS Plus subscription just to get a chance to play those games. However, a PS Plus subscription isn’t required to play free-to-play games online. This is the case across all consoles. If you have a kid that wants to play Fortnite, all you need to do is download the game, set up an internet connection, and you’re good to go. If you have to buy the game, it’s a different story.
6 Maybe Wait For A Sale
If you’re looking to buy a PS4, you might want to wait until they go on sale. Sony competitively prices the system during Black Friday to make it practically a steal.
Last year, they were selling the console with Spider-Man for just $200 total.
If you have the patience to wait, it might be best to try and capitalize on a ridiculous deal rather than going out to nab the first one you see on store shelves. You’ll get more for your money.
5 It Has Its Own Cable Service
Cable is something that many people have. However, if you’re itching to finally get rid of the cable box and make your entertainment center a bit lighter, the PS4 has you covered. PlayStation Vue is a cable service where players can subscribe and get tons of channels for a competitive price per month. If there are only certain channels you want, though, there are options to just get standalone channels to call it a day. It’s not much more cost effective than regular cable, though.
4 PlayStation Now Might Actually Be Worth It
If you like the benefit of getting free games every month with PlayStation Plus, you may want to consider getting PlayStation Now. A separate subscription, it gives players access to an online library of games from several Sony platforms. Certain ones can be downloaded straight to the PS4 and others can be streamed to other devices. It’s more expensive than getting PS Plus, but gamers wanting to get a much fuller and bigger experience may want to give it a shot.
3 Remote Play Is Great
One of the more interesting features of the PS4 is that the console can be streamed across PlayStation TVs, Sony Xperia phones, and the PS Vita. It can also be streamed to computers that have the app. All you need to do is plug in your PS4 controller and you’re good to go. This way, the PS4 isn’t bound to a single screen. If you have a lot of people in your house and don’t want to stop playing because the football game is on, remote play probably speaks to you.
2 No AA Batteries Needed
The Xbox One controllers have some excellent tech built into them. The only area where people seem split is on the battery situation.
Unlike most current-gen controllers, they take AA batteries.
The PS4 controllers don’t run those batteries. Instead, they are recharged directly through the PS4 console itself. Plug the USB cable into the PS4 and the controller to charge it. The controllers can also be charged while the PS4 is in Rest Mode. Some people like the convenience that offers.
1 A Way To Replace In-Game Music
If you’re a music lover, then this feature is for you. After PlayStation’s music service didn’t quite take off, the PS4 made Spotify its primary music player. You can have access to all your playlists through your Spotify account. What’s better is that there is a setting to make the Spotify music serve as the soundtrack for whatever game you’re playing. Meanwhile, you can keep all the sound effects without the game’s music getting in the way. That’s a neat feature.