If you plan to buy a PS4 in 2014 there are some things you should know before you head to the store and load up on PS4 accessories and games.
The PS4 is cheaper than the Xbox One and with a better controller it is appealing to a lot of gamers who are looking for a console that skips over live TV for a game focused experience.
Read: PS4 Review
Shoppers looking to buy a PS4 in 2014 should check out these details that make up the PS4 experience. While the PS4 remains unchanged from its launch in late 2013 there are several updated details that will help shoppers find a PS4 in stock and to avoid wasting money.
The Good Games Are Coming Soon
The number of PS4 games will soon grow as big titles like Watchdogs, Diablo 3, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn and others are on the way. Looking further out there are big names like Destiny and The Crew, which will arrive later this year as flagship gaming experiences on the PS4.
The current crop of PS4 games is a little slim, but there are fun games to be found and the gameplay is quite fun. Gamers that like first person shooters should check out Killzone: Shadow Fall and open world gamers will find Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag a fun adventure.
If you only see a few games on the store shelves, keep in mind the PS4 is a console that will see new games arrive over the course of the next five 5 to 10 years.
Still Hard to Find a PS4 in Stock
The most important thing to keep in mind for the early part of 2014 is that it is still hard to find a PS4 in stock at a local store or online. Many GameStop, Walmart and Best Buy locations cannot keep the PS4 in stock, even though it is relatively easy to find a Xbox One in stock.
Shoppers should keep their eyes on in stock checking services for alerts when the PS4 is in stock at an online retailer and be ready to act fast. Keep in mind that it is not worth paying for overpriced bundles now unless you actually want the games included and need an extra controller. The PS4 stock shortages can’t last forever.
If you are trying to find a PS4 in stock at a local store the best bet is to stop in and ask an employee when the best time to come by is. They might not always know, but occasionally one will tell you when new shipments are most likely.
No Reason to Buy the PS4 Camera
Unlike the Xbox One, Sony does not include a camera device in the PS4 box. Instead Sony is selling the PS4 Camera for $60. The camera will work with some games and can detect where the controller is as well as other features.
For now, the PS4 Camera can essentially play a few small games that are more proof of concepts or humorous experiments that might interest kids for a few days or adults for 15 minutes. It’s ok to buy the PS4 on the promise of more games, but it’s not worth buying the PS4 camera on the promise of future support. Wait for Sony to deliver PS4 camera games worth buying, then go pick one up.
PlayStation Plus Offers Some Free Games
You need PlayStation Plus to play PS4 games online, which is a big change from the PS3. A PlayStation Plus membership is $50 a year, but there are occasional sales on membership at Best Buy and Amazon that help cut the price a little. One account offers benefits across the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita.
There are two free PS4 games now, Resogun and Don’t Starve: Console Edition. Resogun is a fun arcade style shooter and Don’t Starve is, “uncompromising wilderness survival game full of science and magic.”
The PS3 and PS Vita currently offer a bigger and better selection of free games, and there are more free games coming to the PS4, but the details are sparse.
PS4 Price Drop Not Coming Soon
If you are thinking of waiting for a PS4 price drop to buy, plan to wait a long time. The PS4 is already $100 cheaper than the Xbox One and Sony can’t keep up with demand for the console. Even if Microsoft shocked consumers with a price drop later this year Sony wouldn’t need to match it to stay competitive.
If you want a PS4 price drop before you buy the new console you will be waiting until 2015 at the earliest according to Matt Matthews of Gamasutra who tells CNET, “The two new consoles will likely not have official price drops until spring 2015, at the earliest”
Better Software & Accessories are Coming
Sony is continually updating the PS4 software to deliver a better user experience and to make it easier to share game clips and use the software for other purposes. There are an array of entertainment apps available now including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant and many others, but for now there is no HBO GO, which is a major missing feature. Look for updates to the entertainment apps and to more PS4 system updates to deliver a smoother experience.
Read: Best PS4 Accessories
From a PS4 accessory standpoint we can expect compatibility with third-party headsets in 2014 and we will likely see an array of other third-party PS4 accessories like racing wheels and arcade sticks arrive this year.
PS Vita Is Hit or Miss
The PS Vita allows for PS4 Remote Play, which lets users play their PS4 games on the PS Vita. This is a nice feature that works at home or on a network outside of your home if the home internet connection and the PS Vita connection are both strong enough. In the past several months we’ve used the PS Vita to play parts of Assassin’s Creed 4 and Need for Speed Rivals from the PS4 with mixed results.
When on strong connections the games stream smoothly to the PS4, but the biggest challenge is using the PS Vita controls to play games designed for a PS4 Dualshock controller with many more buttons. The touchpad on the back is tricky to use in place of some buttons and ultimately resulted in frustration points where the game was simply not fun to play on this modified control scheme.
Some gamers will love this feature, but unless you can also bring a PS4 controller and pair it with the PS Vita it falls short of being a truly mobile PS4 gaming experience.