The Average Gamer

PlayStation 4 First Impressions

PlayStation 4_Console
We”ve had our PlayStation 4 for close to 48 hours now and given the features a good working out. Here are my first impressions.

The “Wobble”

It”s nice. Really nice. Everything has good, solid build quality and it”s compact for easy storage. There”s no power brick so you can transport it easily as well.

The much-reported wobble if you push down on the corner is a complete non-issue. You have to push down with quite a bit of force – for context, I placed a 750 bowl on the edge and it didn”t budge. You don”t need to worry about it jiggling when you put a disc in or other normal activities.

Sharing and Streaming

It”s incredibly easy to stream onto Twitch or Ustream once you”ve set up your account. Hit the share button, go to the stream option. Your stream title is what people browsing the channels will see so make it something interesting and boom, you”re online. If you want to share it on Facebook and Twitter, there”s a box to set a custom message alongside your link, or you can use the perky-corporate default to be up and running in seconds.

The one problem I have with this is that you can”t share your saved videos and images by anything other than Facebook or Twitter. There”s no email support and if you can transfer them to USB, I couldn”t find it. I exported a bunch of pictures by tweeting them but that”s obviously going to get annoying to my followers. Short-term solution – tweet them directly to another account, so only mutual followers see them.

The out-of-the-box setting for the Share button makes sense for the new user but you”re better off going into the settings and switching into Easy Screenshot mode. When you first use the PS4, pressing the Share button captures a screenshot and the last 15 minutes of video and takes you into a Share menu. Really useful teaching tool but once I”m playing, I just want to take quick snaps and look at them all later.

Easy Screenshot mode changes a short press to Take Screenshot and a long press to open the Share menu. Double-pressing will start recording, so if you”re about to do something epic, you”re prepared. Bringing up the Share menu will still take a screenshot and video, so if you just did something epic, you can capture that too.

The Controller

I like the controller a lot. The Share and Options buttons are a little too high and flat to be comfortable, but the position is understandable, given the touchpad. Until I get used to them, spontaneous screenshots are unlikely for a while as you need to reach up just that little bit too high. Their almost-flush design doesn”t help you find them without looking but it”ll be fine with practice.

PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Controller - Move Light

I”ve written several times about how the concave triggers are a massive improvement over the PS3″s triggers. These are a little on the small side but there”s no fear of slipping off them in a fight. They might be a little too small for comfort if you tend to hover over both the shoulder buttons and triggers at once, but I”ve not found cause to do that yet.

The built-in headset jack was a brilliant decision. It basically a smartphone jack so you can use your existing iPhone/smartphone headset for sound and mic input straight out of the box, or use a normal headset for audio. The console does come with a tiny single earpiece and microphone which I wouldn”t recommend for anything. Feel cheap and falls out of my ear.


The games are beautiful. So far I”ve played Resogun, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and Knack. Each one looks great, sounds great and is interesting in its own way. I”ll have reviews coming in the next few days check back soon. Sorry, I know that”s not very helpful but you can go see the list of PS4 launch games here.

The Playroom casino online is an app that comes with every PS4. You need to use the camera and it”s one of the cutest implementations of of augmented reality (AR) that I”ve ever seen. It”s also the only way for you to stream the full view from your PS4 Camera if you bought one, and people have been using it for all sorts of stuff. One couple set up a call-in stream called The Spartan Show that quickly went viral. I used it to live-stream the unboxing and set-up of my Xbox One that arrived today (340 viewers, 600 comments, woo ;)

What The Playroom actually is, is a set of adorable AR robots that you can throw around. Damn Facebook won”t let me embed the video but here”s a link of me and Nick playing it for the first time.

The Camera

The camera is nice. It”s tiny compared to Kinect and it recognises voice commands reasonably well. It”s not the most hi-def of cameras, but it doesn”t need to be. Microsoft used to make a big deal out of face recognition on Kinect. This camera scanned my face at a few different angles and now recognises me pretty reliably with a range of hairstyles and lighting.

PlayStation 4 Move Camera

The main problem with the PS4 camera that it doesn”t have a proper stand. Most people will probably just plonk it down and be happy but since I stream, this is a bigger issue.

See the thing that it”s resting on in that product shot above? Not part of the camera. You just have the square block on the right and the tilted main section, so there isn”t a truly flat surface for it to rest on. The cable also makes it right bugger to adjust and position.

You see, streaming gives the option of showing your face and in my experience, people do want to see streamers” reactions to games. However, this is done by blocking out all but a small square of the shot and there”s no way for you to set the location of that square. A perfect shot of your couch turns into a perfect shot of the wall behind you so I need to adjust things every time. A software update to allow you to select the part of the shot you want to include would fix this easily.


The one area where the PS4 is significantly inferior to the PS3 is on playing local media. You can”t stream videos and music from your PC and you can”t play them from a USB stick either. The system obviously has a media player or you wouldn”t be able to watch your game clips, but it”s nowhere near as sophisticated as the PS3s.

We use our PS3 every day to watch videos and thanks to this lack of support, we won”t be retiring it any time soon.

In Summary

We can”t comment on the online features just yet as the European servers aren”t online. This means that the HUD looks quite different to it”s final view as well. I can tell you that the system relies very heavily on the Options button, so if you can”t find a feature, try that. A lot of the features are buried in menus, sub-menus and then the Options button, so it”s not very intuitive but there are also multiple ways to reach things so you”ll find it eventually. See my post from yesterday about deleting video clips from the PS4 for an example.

I do not regret buying the Sony PlayStation 4. Or rather – full disclosure – since Sony kindly sent us one for reviewing, I do not regret the fact that we were going to buy one right up until this one arrived on Wednesday. As long as there”s a game in the launch line-up that you want, I don”t think you”ll regret it either.