If you are new to the world of PlayStation or even to the world of gaming, it can be pretty intimidating to go about buying a new video game console, let alone buying a PS4.
Information overload can easily happen when you’re trying to do online research so it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
I experienced this recently as I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s worth upgrading my console or not.
That is why I decided to put together this helpful article which will show you the top things you should know before buying a PS4 (PlayStation 4) console.
We’ll be taking a look at the different types of PS4 consoles, some of the features of the console as well as talking about the types of games available.
This guide should have everything you need to get started with the PlayStation 4 console.
So, let’s get started.
Watch the Video Here
1 Console variations
The first thing that is worth talking about here is the different variations of the PS4 that are currently available.
Throughout the life cycle of a console such as the PS4, it will go through a number of iterations.
This can include changes to the size and shape of the console as well as to the storage capacity and performance.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the different console variations of the PS4. We’ll also look at what are the best ones to buy.
Release date: November 15th 2013
Pros & Cons:
+ They are found more commonly second hand as they have been around for longer
– It’s the first iteration of this console which can be prone to issues
Amazon Link: Sony PlayStation 4 500GB Console (Black)
Release date: September 15th 2016
Pros & Cons:
+ It has much the same specs as the Original PS4 but with a smaller form factor
+ The PS4 slim is typically the cheapest option especially when bundled with games
+ Has a large library of special edition variations
– Not as powerful as the PS4 Pro in terms of performance
Amazon Link: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare PS4 500GB Bundle (PS4)
Release date: November 10th 2016
Pros & Cons:
+ It has the best specs of all of these consoles in terms of performance
+ Has a fairly large library of special edition variations
– It has the largest form factor of the PS4 consoles
– Most expensive PS4 console
Amazon Link: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare PS4 Pro Bundle (PS4) + Dualshock 4
In addition to these console variations, it is worth mentioning that there are also special edition consoles.
Without confusing things here, these are basically special designs of the consoles mentioned above.
These consoles are often released in conjunction with a new game and contain the special edition console as well as a collector’s edition of the game and potentially some other items.
My favorite example of a special edition console is the Kingdom Hearts edition, which you can see in the image below:
2 What comes with the PlayStation 4
In most cases the standard PlayStation 4 console will come with:
- PS4 Console itself
- Dualshock 4 Controller (1 or 2 depending on the bundle you’ve bought)
- HDMI Cable – this connects to your TV to provide display
- Power Cable – this provides power to the console when plugged in
- Manual / Instructions
In some cases, it’s likely that the console will come bundled with a number of games in addition to the console.
This is a great option for people new to a console as they are usually pretty well regarded games to get you started.
A good example of this would be this bundle which you can find on Amazon: PS4 500GB with 3 PS Hits Game Bundle (PS4)
3 Hard drive space availability options
Something worth considering when buying a PS4 is the amount of hard drive space it contains.
This is basically the space on the console that stores all of your games and other content.
Many of you might be asking, well isn’t the game just stored on the disc? What do I need hard drive space for?
This is a fair question, especially if you are used to a PS1 or PS2 where you simply pop in the disc and start gaming.
Contrary to this, when you pop your game disc into the PS4, the game will begin installing onto your console, taking up hard drive space.
Additionally, any updates or patches released by the game’s developer will also need to be installed to improve the game.
This all adds up so it’s worth considering storage when buying a PS4.
The PS4 hard drive space comes in the following capacities:
As you can imagine games can vary widely in size so I’d highly recommend getting the max size you can to make life easier.
4 Hard drive space can be increased
It’s possible to add additional storage space to your PS4 in 2 ways depending on your skill level:
1 By replacing the internal hard drive
2 By using an external hard drive.
You could do both or choose just one option depending on your requirements.
By simply plugging in an external hard drive you can add Terabytes of additional space.
You can also choose to replace the internal hard drive which requires more effort but can be a cleaner approach.
This can increase your storage by up to 2Tb.
Here is a link to the internal hard drive I used and would highly recommend it:
Sony PlayStation 4 500GB Console (Black)
Below you’ll find an easy to follow video walking you through the process of replacing your PS4’s hard drive.
5 PS Plus is needed for online features
PlayStation Plus is a service offered by PlayStation that allows you to use the online features of PS4 games.
In addition to this, you’ll be able to avail of the free PS Plus monthly games, extra discounts on games and 100GB cloud storage for your game saves.
Let’s break this down.
Online features of games include the multiplayer modes of games i.e. the ability to game with other gamers. Not all games have this feature so it’s worth checking this before you buy any games.
PS Plus free monthly games are a small collection of games (usually 2), offered to you for free from the PlayStation store. These games vary widely in terms of genre but are usually pretty well regarded games.
Even without doing anything else, simply availing of these games with PS Plus will make this subscription worth while.
Cloud storage gives you the ability to store your game saves in the cloud for easy access. This allows you to switch between consoles while maintaining your game saves which can be extremely useful.
6 Playstation Now
The PlayStation Now service has really come to the forefront in recent months due to its range of over 700 games at a competitive price.
Signing up for the PlayStation Now service gives you access to stream or download games on demand. Games include those from PS4, PS3 and PS2 consoles.
You can play these games not only on the PS4 console but also on PC using the PC app.
I’ll admit I don’t have a subscription to PS Now as of yet but considering it’s high publicity at the moment it’s definitely something I’m considering.
7 Playstation VR
PlayStation VR (PSVR) is the virtual reality experience designed for use with the PlayStation 4 console.
By wearing the specially designed headset you become completely immersed in the world of the game you are playing. You can also combine this with the PlayStation Move controllers to add to the experience.
I can’t do this justice by simply explaining what this entails so make sure you watch the video below!
There are a growing number of games available for PSVR including my personal favorite which is Skyrim in VR.
PSVR is a very accessible way for gamers to get into the world of Virtual Reality in terms of its ease of use and price.
8 Sharing and streaming features
The PS4 allows for a whole host of social sharing and streaming features without the need for other peripherals and software.
There’s such an emphasis on social sharing and streaming that this functionality is accessed from the DualShock 4 controller share button.
By pressing the share button during a game play session, you can take screenshots and save video clips and share these on social media.
By double pressing the share button, you can start streaming your game play to YouTube or Twitch.
All of these options can be explored and adjusted in the sharing menu which makes this all very easy to use.
This functionality is something that has allowed a community of gamers access to share and stream their game play with their communities in an easy way.
9 PlayStation trophies
The PlayStation trophy system was started in 2008 during the time of the PS3.
A trophy is earned by completing a goal or target set by a game.
As you earn trophies you can see your score/level increase from the trophies menu of the PS4.
The types of trophies that can be earned are Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Platinum trophies are unlocked once you’ve earned all of the other trophies in a game. The other trophy types signify the difficulty of achievement.
10 PlayStation Hits Games
The PlayStation Hits range of games are a curated collection of great PS4 games sold at a reduced price.
With this in mind, if you’re looking at experience the best that PS4 has to offer, you can’t go wrong with a game from the PlayStation Hits range.
These gamers are slightly different per region but here is a link to the EU PlayStation Hits collection: PlayStation Hits Collection – EU
11 PlayStation App
The PlayStation app is the best way to check in from a mobile device.
Using the app you can access your account details, the PlayStation store as well as chat with your friends.
This app features on my list of best productivity apps for gamers which you can read here: 7 Best Productivity Apps Used By Gamers
Phew! that was a lot to take in! If you enjoyed this guide, feel free to download this handy dandy free summary PDF using the sign up below.
Download this PDF summary to use as a reference guide whenever you need it. Simply print it out or save it to your documents folder for use when needed.
Download the free PDF summary of this guide
We’ve reached the end of this article and I hope you found this helpful and informative.
Hopefully now you’ll be much more informed and prepared for buying a PS4 console.
If you have any questions or you think there’s something worth adding to any of these points, let me know in the comments below and I’d be happy to answer.
Thanks for reading!
So if you’ve decided to buy a PS4 or if you’ve just purchased one, I highly recommend reading this post to get you started on your gaming journey: 6 Best games to play if you are new to PlayStation 4
Prefer to listen?
If you prefer listening to this content, check out the podcast I made on this very topic.
Question Of The Day
What is your favorite PS4 special edition console?
Do a quick Google search, you’ll be surprised at how many there are!
Let me know your answer in the comments below or on social media!