PlayStation 4 owners will not be able to access all of the system’s features out of the box. Sony has announced PS4 System Software Update 1.50, a 300 MB update available on November 15th (launch day in North America) that adds the following features:
- Remote Play
Users will be able to access PS4 titles displayed on their living room TVs and play them on a PS Vita system over Wi-Fi networks by using PS4 Link (Depending on network environment or titles, remote play performance may vary outside of the home). We anticipate that most PS4 titles will be playable on the PS Vita system through Remote Play. The latest PS Vita system software version, to be released soon, will be required to use PS4 Link.
- Second Screen
Users can use the PS4 Link application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation App for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on The Playroom, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.
- Record, take screenshots, and upload gameplay effortlessly
The PS4 system provides dedicated, “always on” video encoding systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay. Users can share their epic triumphs by simply hitting the Share button on DualShock 4, take screenshots or scan through the last 15 minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game—the video uploads as the user plays. At the PS4 system’s launch in North America, users will be able to share their images and videos with friends on Facebook and screenshots with followers on Twitter, though users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Facebook and Twitter.
- Broadcast and spectate gameplay
The PS4 system also enhances social spectating by enabling users to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to game fans around the globe, using Ustream and Twitch live internet streaming services (users will need to sign up for individual accounts to use Ustream and Twitch). There are two ways for users to view live broadcasts. First, the Live from PlayStation application on PS4 aggregates streams from all PlayStation users. Second, users can spectate friends’ PS4 gameplay from PCs, and applications such as Ustream, Twitch, and browsers, which are installed on their mobile devices. These applications can be easily started up via PlayStation App, and users can also use these applications to post comments to gameplay broadcasts. Furthermore, users with PlayStation Camera can stream camera images and microphone sounds along with their live gameplay broadcast.
- Play as you download
This feature enables users to play supported digital titles as they are being downloaded. The time it takes to begin playing will vary depending on game data size and network environments, and not all titles will support this feature When a game is purchased, users can start playing after PS4 downloads a portion of the data, while the rest of the game is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay. Games may be downloaded in stand-by mode.
- Multi log-in
A maximum of four users can log-in to a single PS4 system simultaneously. These players can use their own save data to play games, and also earn trophies on their own Sony Entertainment Network accounts even when playing a multiplayer game together on a single PS4 system.
- Party (Voice chat)
By using the Mono Headset bundled with the PS4 system, users will be able to chat with up to eight friends enjoying different applications or games. Furthermore, users can use Party to chat between PS4 and PS Vita systems.
- Face recognition and voice commands
Users with PlayStation Camera will be able to register their facial image onto their PS4 system, and login to their system using facial recognition instead of DualShock 4. Furthermore, users can use either the microphone of the Mono Head set connected to DualShock 4, or PlayStation Camera to navigate through the PS4 home screen (PlayStation Dynamic Menu) with voice commands to start up games and shutdown the system, among other features; please refer to PS4’s online manual for recognizable voice commands.
- Background music player
Users can enjoy gameplay while listening to music in the background with Music Unlimited, a cloud-based digital music service. Users can also voice chat with friends while listening to music. Learn more about Music Unlimited here.
- Online Multiplayer
PlayStation Plus members will be able to play PS4 titles online with other players via the network. PS Plus makes it easy for members to join available online multiplayer matches in a variety of ways, including the ability to easily join a game from a live stream broadcast or Party voice chats.
- Blu-ray Disc and DVD player
Users can enjoy not only gaming on their PS4 system, but also Blu-ray and DVD video contents. When using for the first time, users must connect to the internet to activate this feature.
Sony also noted that some features would not be available at launch even after the update, singling out “suspend/resume mode”, which allows the PS4 to go from a low power mode directly back to gameplay, as an example.