Buying A PlayStation 4? Here's 10 Things You Need To Know (1/2)

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 is rapidly approaching its third anniversary, and with over 40m units sold around the globe it’s become the games console of choice here in the UK as well as many other parts of the world.

That said, the prospect of buying a new system is still daunting for many. Luckily we’re here to help. Whether you’re a lapsed PlayStation fan, a parent, or completely new to the gaming scene, this two-part guide provides everything you need to know in ten handy tips.
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1. What You Need

Before buying a PlayStation 4, there’s a few things required to get up and running. Chief among these is an HD-ready television. Although all brand new TV sets are HD compatible, some older models may not be able to run a PlayStation 4. There’s an easy way of spotting: simply look at the ports on the back of your display for one that reads “HDMI”.

To get the most of your gaming experience, you’ll also need an internet connection. Most broadband customers will have a wireless router at home which the PS4 will be able to detect. For a more reliable connection, you may want to plug the console directly into your router using an "ethernet" cable instead.

There are plenty of other accessories and services described throughout this guide, although none are necessary to start gaming on your brand new PlayStation 4.
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2. The Games

Games for the PlayStation 4 can be purchased in supermarkets and high street outlets as well as online shops such as our own. The following image on the right shows how a PlayStation 4 game should look with its official blue coloured packaging.

Buyers should note that games for previous PlayStation consoles are not compatible with the PlayStation 4 and will not be recognised if inserted into the system.

Another great thing about the PlayStation 4 is being able to import games. Whether shopping in Japan or the United States, all games are completely region free!
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3. PlayStation Plus

Playing online with friends is one of the biggest features modern gaming has to offer. By connecting your console to the internet, this will allow you to play with and against others from around the world across a growing number of titles.

However, in order to access these features, buyers will need to create a PlayStation Network account. There’s a handy step-by-step guide available via the console itself. In addition, you’ll need to buy a membership for PlayStation Plus, ranging anywhere from a 30 day pass to a whole year.

Buyers should expect to pay roughly £40 for an annual pass, though there’s an added bonus. Each month, PlayStation Plus members are given a selection of new games to download and play on their systems for free (as long as their subscription is active). These free games vary in size and quality though easily justify the fee to play online.

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4. Where Can I Play Older Games?

As mentioned before, your old PS2 and PS3 games won’t work on PlayStation 4. This is one of the console’s only major drawbacks though there are still a couple of ways to access some of your favourite classics.

A growing number of PS2-era games are being made available to download directly from the PlayStation Store. These includes popular hits from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Ape Escape to Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. These versions has been reworked with enhanced visuals while also taking into account the design of the new DualShock 4 controller.

Those with a high speed internet connection may also want to explore PlayStation Now. Similar to services such as Netflix, it allows users to stream a huge library of PlayStation 3 titles for a monthly fee.
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5. When Should I buy one?

Sony has just launched a newer, lighter PlayStation 4, commonly referred to as the "Slim". Aside from being smaller and more energy efficient, it comes with several bonus features, such as a 5-Ghz wireless card.

Priced at around the £250 mark, this new model is primarily targeted at those buying into the PlayStation ecosystem. Although it has a few notable revisions, gamers looking for a proper upgrade are better off waiting 'til November.

Alongside the Slim, Sony announced the PlayStation 4 Pro - think of it as a PS4.5. Going on sale for £349, this bigger, more powerful version of the console allows for improved performance at the cost of more energy consumption.

More importantly, the PS4 Pro will make full use of new display technology with its 4K output and HDR. As its name implies, this model is meant for hardcore gamers, not to mention those who have the money to blow on a 4K television set.

In short, those looking for an affordable entry point can easily find pre-owned PlayStation 4s for roughly £195 or buy a new Slim for an extra £50. Although future-proof, the Pro is much more of an investment.

And so concludes the first half of our handy buyer's guide. Next we'll be discussing more essential tips, from watching films and television to buying additional accessories.

For the second part of this guide, click here.
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