The PlayStation 4 is coming. Gamers know it. Gaming Illustrated knows it. While there might be plenty of amazing games to experience, that jet black beauty is going to get lonely. Soon enough it will need some stuff to keep it company. And no, we’re not talking about a PS3 or Xbox 360 or Wii on the next shelf over. Ew, those guys are old.
The PS4’s launch will be complimented by a solid list of accessories that will hopefully enrich Sony‘s next gen experience. For our list of PS4 accessories any gamer should check out, read below. (And don’t forget to read our Penny Pincher’s Guide to the PS4 Launch for how to best save money after spending hundreds of dollars on a new console.)
Let’s be real. The PlayStation Eye (in conjunction with the Move) was severely underused. Things like Wonderbook certainly never helped it look like anything more than a gimmick. Then again, the same thing could also be aimed (albeit less heavily) at the Xbox 360’s Kinect. Enter the PlayStation Camera – Sony’s next attempt at trying to figure out something to do with voice controls and player movement.
Our hope is that it will be the former. The PlayStation Camera is full of potential. Right now, out of the box it has one very attractive feature with the ability to use video of yourself while live streaming games. Both Sony and Microsoft are hedging several of their bets on gamers becoming more social during the next gen. It’s justifiable because services like Twitch have become incredibly popular in the industry. The PS4 allows players to stream gameplay but the Camera will add video (hopefully of your face) and a voice to that stream, making it more personable. Some of the most popular streamers give a face to their gaming and with a Camera, similar success might be had. The current suite of Twitch streaming options is a bit limited at launch. Players will be able to broadcast a full screen of gameplay, have the screen bordered with chat and viewer count, or have video incorporated into the gameplay.
Voice controls are in place using the Camera but limited. Booting up games, navigating menus and a few other basic functions are available but so far, nothing as elaborate as Kinect. Sony plans to add more functionality in the future and hopefully it will grant players more voice control when accessing various apps like Netflix.
Finally, players will have access to The Playroom, a free “game” preinstalled on the PS4. Most aspects of The Playroom are meant to show off the possible uses of the Camera and the DualShock 4. More than anything, it serves as a fun kind of tech demo, a toy players can experiment with. The Playroom is mostly bare bones at the moment but Sony says that developers like Double Fine are working on DLC for it. Check out the trailer below for a taste of what The Playroom can do.
The PlayStation Camera might seem like an accessory to buy only if you want to broadcast your face while streaming games. Based on what it is currently capable of, that might be true. But the device does have potential and much of that potential will be measured with how developers use it over time. If a large enough install base of PlayStation Cameras is built, Sony might want to place a bigger emphasis on it and push developers to be creative. For hopeful game streamers, though, the Camera is definitely cheaper than some of the more advanced capture hardware out there.
Please, bear with us. Though the Vita is technically a handheld, it is primed to be one the best accessories for a console next to a controller and television. First and foremost, the Vita’s capabilities as a handheld gaming system can’t be ignored. Sure, the Vita has had a rough start due to lack of sales and what some might consider a “system seller” but it is home to some great gaming experiences.
But we’re not concerned about the Vita’s capabilities for good games, we’re focusing on how it will supplement the PS4. Remote Play is Sony’s secret weapon in unifying the entire PlayStation experience. Having the ability to play nearly all of the PlayStation 4 library remotely on the Vita has gamers excited. The days of always tying up your television to play a console could disappear. Gamers won’t have to hog the set to have their Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty fix. It’s an interesting concept. The question is, will it work just like Sony says? Most signs point to yes. Homes with a stable enough internet connection should experience little lag when using Remote Play.
The power of the PS Vita as both a fully capable handheld and accessory is hard to ignore. With a Vita in their arsenal, players will be able to take the PS4 experience from the living room to the bedroom to the kitchen and a few other reasonable locations. Maybe one day when internet speeds are blisteringly fast, Remote Play could be used more than halfway across the world. But even before that dream is achieved, look into investing in a Vita.
A New Hard Drive
This one goes without saying. Gamers who plan on investing a lot of time and money into purchasing games on the PS4 will either need to constantly delete game data or upgrade the system’s hard drive. Next gen games are visually impressive but they are also enormous. Some launch titles for the PS4 are upwards of 40GB. The PS4 ships with a 500GB hard drive but with an operating system and a bunch of other pre-installed stuff, the real amount of available space will be significantly lower.
In total the PS4 might only hold around 15-20 full-sized games before running out of space; and that doesn’t even include downloadable titles, recorded game footage and more. Gamers planning on upgrading their hard drive need to make sure it is compatible with the PS4 (no thicker than 9.5mm and larger than 160GB). Currently GameStop has 1TB and 1.5TB hard drive options available online but many gamers might already have a better outlet for purchasing such hardware.
A PlayStation Camera, PlayStation Vita and a new hard drive are certainly priority when it comes to accessorizing the PS4, but there are some other items to look out for. The PS4 includes a very simple mono headset that will allow players to chat with friends and others during online multiplayer. Regardless, the headset is very basic and many gamers will likely seek out a better option. The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX4 was designed with the PS4 in mind and is a significantly better option. Over time, more headset options will be available for players and some older USB headsets will also work after patching.
Got a partner for some co-op? Might as well pick up a second DualShock 4. A vertical stand is great for those who don’t want to tuck their PS4 into a tight shelf on an entertainment center. Though the DualShock 4 can be charged while plugged into a PS4 on stand-by mode, a charging station is always a safe option for those with multiple controllers and a little extra cash to spend.
Over time, items like custom PS4 skins and different colored DualShock 4 controllers will more than likely be available. Some sites are already creating custom controllers but they do get pricey. So on Nov. 15, be sure to show your PlayStation 4 some love and keep it company with some of the accessories we listed. They will be a great way to add to the fun of your next gen gaming experience.