Playstation first hit American soil in 1995, a little over 9 months after its launch in Japan. It’s history can be traced back to a joint project between Nintendo and Sony to create a CD-ROM based gaming system; the partnership died when the two future gaming giants couldn’t come to terms over how to split the profits. Playstation was given the go-ahead for development in 1993, and launched less than two years later with the backing of two now household names, Electronic Arts and Namco.
The Playstation 2, released in 2000, is considered the most successful home gaming console in the world, with over 155 MILLION units sold. Released over a year ahead of XBOX and Nintendo’s GameCube, the PS2 shipped for 12 years until January 2013, when production ended. The PS3 was released in 2006, and the current generation, the PS4, was released in 2013. Considered an “eighth-generation” model (along with the XBOX ONE and Wii U), the PS4 has a Playstation app that allows tablets and smartphones to turn into a secondary controller for the system. Sony is also improving its streaming services and application packages in order to be more competitive with XBOX ONE, and be an all-in-one home device for home users.
WHAT: Playstation 4 (just like it looks like)
RELEASE DATE: November 13, 2013 (North America)
CURRENT PRICE: $399.99 with 8GB Memory, 1 DualShock wireless controller, one game (buyer’s choice depending on bundle), free Playstation 4 Camera
AGE RANGE APPEAL: Tweens, teens, and older — dedicated gamers and those who are able to pick up controls easily
CONTROLLERS: Playstation 4 has one basic wireless controller:
Brand Name DualShock, you get the game feel through two frequencies of vibrations (hence, DUALSHOCK). Similar layout to the XBOX controller, but with more joystick and different button feels; those who are into more RPG (role playing games) or not-shooting games (sports, etc.) tend to like this controller better than the XBOX controllers, but it depends on what your teens have been familiar with.
PLAYSTATION CAMERA: Not automatically purchased with the PS4, the camera is PS4’s version of XBOX ONE’s Kinect or the Wii U’s sensor bar. This is required if you want to utilize controller-less games such as Just Dance.
MOST NUMBER OF PLAYERS IN PROGRAMS: 4 players on one system, some games can take 8 to 16 via online networks. Definitely check the game box for requirements as games can differ greatly from system to system; what works for a PS4 may not work for an XBOX and vice versa.
PROS OF THE PS4:
- Instant familiarity: most tweens and teens will either have had a Playstation or have had experience playing on one, so they will be able to pick up a controller and run with it without an issue. The titles available range from sports to racing to role playing to shooters, so chances are they’re a continuation or a new version of one they’ve played before, and the button usage is the same from game to game.
- Massive stable of games: if you thought that the XBOX ONE has a wide variety of games, PS4 has more. With its partnership with EA it has the corner on specific titles such as Oddworld, Ratchet and Clank, the award winning The Last of Us, and Little Big Planet.
- Multifunctional: the PS4 will stream video for you through Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and Redbox, but it will also stream through Crunchyroll (go anime club!), and is adding more apps all the time. In addition, the PS4 is the easiest to use as a bluray player for movies on disc (bluray or DVD), so you can use it for double duty.
CONS OF THE PS4:
- ESRB Ratings: there are a LOT of popular games (staring at you, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty) that are rated M due to content, although the PS4 does have more Teen and E10 rated games than the XBOX ONE. Still, it would be nice if there could be some FPS games that could fall under the T rating to appease both teens and administration alike.
- Backward-what?: Like the XBOX ONE, the PS4 is NOT backwards compatible with the PS3 games. If you’ve built up a collection of games to use in the library with any previous system,
You can try and purchase previous titles on the Playstation Network, but you’re spending money on titles you already own, and you’ll still have to go through the games to earn the trophies that you’ve already gotten.
- Blue Light of Death: Also known as the Blue Light of Doom, a number of PS4 systems have hardware issues. These were noted on the first day of release, and although reports have slowed, they are still happening in systems. Note: the system that was purchased for my location is having this issue. I am currently in contact with Sony to get it repaired/replaced. You cannot take it back to the store you purchased it from; it has to go back to Sony or a Sony repair shop in order to be fixed; if you hack it yourself, you void any warranty Sony gives and anything else that goes wrong with it is not covered.
OVERALL: If I had to pick one system, this would be the system for library programming. It has the most titles available for a wide variety of ages likely to attend gaming programs, and a controller format that is appealing and familiar. Hardware issue aside (and it is really a minor percentage of amount of units sold), the PS4 is versatile and gets teens interests without being too complex for novice gamers. Support from Sony and expanding apps and games, as well as its popularity, make sure it’ll be around for a long time, so it’s a safe investment for a gaming center.