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  • Featured ImagePlaystation 4: Why I won’t be buying one right away

    I was super excited last week at work when I logged onto my corporate credit card account and found that I could get 7 $100 Best Buy gift cards because of the points I had earned.  See, where I work, we get to keep the points we earn and use them for whatever we like.  Yup, you guessed it, the PS4 immediately popped into my head (along with a couple of other things from Best Buy).  My gift cards showed up yesterday!

    I stopped at Best Buy yesterday to pick up a couple of things.  First, I got a Call of Duty: Ghosts season pass.  Bought through the Playstation Store, this would have been $60 but, buying it at Best Buy, it was $50.  So there was that.  Second, I picked up the Call of Duty: Ghosts game guide.  This book has some awesome information in it but mostly…the maps rock!  Finally, I was able to score a sweet Call of Duty: Ghosts poster from the cashier!  It is proudly displayed on my bathroom door as we speak!  Thanks for that Best Buy guy!

    While I was there, I was also able to test drive the Playstation 4.  This was the first time that I had seen one out on demo and I jumped at the opportunity to play around.  The first thing that I noticed was that the controller wasn’t bad like I thought it was going to be.  Even through it was tethered to the display, it was relatively comfortable in my hands.  From the photos that I have seen, I was really concerned that it would feel way different than the PS3 controller and, as such, I either wouldn’t like it or would have to get used to it.  Honestly, it fit into my hands like it was supposed to be there.

    The demo game selection that they had was horrible.  Seeing that I like playing first person shooters, and so many other people do as well, I would have expected some version of an fps to be on demo.  Maybe not Ghosts or BO2, but something that would show the game play.  Nope.  There was some silly mining game and a couple of kids games.  Nothing really excited me so I just played the mining game…for about 30 seconds.  It was the epitome of stupid.

    So, I left the store convinced that I would be returning later next week to buy one of the new PS4 systems.  But this is where the story turns.

    When I was at the store, I was looking at games and game cards.  I looked at the Playstation Plus card and almost bought it but then realized that I really don’t care about the features that it would offer at the price I would have to pay.  I thought I had seen something about the PS4 requiring Playstaion Plus to play online but I thought, oh Sony wouldn’t do that to us.  After some research, sure as heck, they did that to us.  This is when I started looking closer at the PS4 out of horror.

    I headed over to the Playstation 4 website to research a bit more.  I am uber disappointed in Sony.  Just looking at the specs alone, I would call the PS4 a failure.

    ps4 specs
    Screen shot from Sony’s Playstation 4 web site for consumer educational use

     

    Above, we find the specs of the new Playstation 4.  Normally, I would expect to see a much longer list, one that I can’t screen capture in one image.  This is vague to say the least.  However, it does give me enough information so I have decided to wait to pick up the PS4.

    Let us start at the top and go from there…

    Main Processor

    This section doesn’t tell us crud.  It basically tells us, “yes, it has a processor” but doesn’t give us any specs.  I would really like to know how fast it is, how much cache it has.  Just telling me that you used an 64 bit AMD processor with 8 cores tells me that you have used a “current world” processor.

    After some digging, I was able to find that IGN had more complete information and specifications for the PS4 here.  This shows they they believe the processor to run at 1.6Ghz on a processor capable of 2.75 Ghz.  Why did they do that I wonder?  To save power?  I know they are focusing more on the GPU than the CPU (GPUs are often faster and more powerful than CPUs for those that are less geeky).  Curious.

    Memory

    With 8 GB of RAM, I am not really impressed although I am not completely disappointed.  I would have expected to see a bit more crammed in there since they are going to be expected to run some killer games with killer graphics.  A lot of the responsibility for making these games run smoothly falls onto the GPU but there is quite a bit of requirement for the RAM to put things on the plate for the GPU to process.  I would have like to seen at least 16 GB.  My laptop has 32 for Pete’s sake.

    Hard Disk Drive

    LOL.  That is all I have to say.  Really Sony?  The hard disk is built in?  Is that new technology?  How innovative of you!  I understand there might be several different storage space options but, for crying out loud, tell us what they are, or at least what you expect them to be.  Built-in.  Really?  IGN’s article also specified that the PS4 will have a 500 GB hard drive.  With the price of storage space being as low as it is, I am super surprised that Sony elected to use such a small drive.  I would have expected at least 1 TB of storage, especially seeing the size of games has been increasing.  The Call of Duty: Ghosts download ended up using 12 GB of storage on my, already full, PS3 hard drive.

    Optical Drive

    Yup, it plays BluRay and DVDs.  Next…

    I/O

    Yup, it has USB 3.0.  Next…

    Communication

    Right.  Fail.  Big time!  I wonder if Sony has heard about this new thing called wireless?  I wonder if they have heard that it has just exploded and demand continues to grow every single day.  It baffles me why manufacturers continue to do exactly this.  They put a 2.4GHz only wireless card in the PS4.  No, seriously…that happened!  Ok, so I accept that most people don’t understand what I am talking about, so I will explain.

    Currently, there are two frequency bands that are available in the US for wireless networks, the 2.4GHz band and th 5GHz band.  What you are used to hearing is the letter so I will associated them for you.  The standards of 802.11b and 802.11g operate on the 2.4GHz band while 802.11a and 802.11ac operate on the 5GHz band.  The 802.11n standard operates on both bands.

    Why is this an issue, you ask?  Well, first and foremost, the 2.4GHz band is overloaded.  There are so many devices out there that operate within this band, both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi, that the spectrum is packed.  On top of that, we have a very limited amount of space for wireless networks on the 2.4GHz band.  There are only 3 non-overlapping channels within this frequency space and, as such, there is a ton of interference.  This is why more and more devices are moving to the 5GHz band.  Just look at the 802.11ac standard.  It is a 5GHz only standard but that is a whole separate topic and subject of rant for me.

    In addition to the limited amount of space that we have on the 2.4GHz band, we are also going to have slower over all speeds.  Not good when you are trying to play a first person shooter with friends online.  Yuck.

    I know that isn’t a complete explaination but this is a gaming blog, not a wireless blog.  If you want more information about that, please let me know and I can give you the full run down.  Oh, in case you didn’t know, I am a wireless networking engineer IRL.

    Long story, well, not much shorter, they should have busted out the extra nickle that it cost to put a dual band wireless NIC into the system so that we could take advantage of the 5GHz spectrum.

    Good thing I don’t use wireless for my PS3.  I am happy they put a gig Ethernet card in however.

    AV Output

    Alright, this is the section that really grinds my gears!  On the PS3, the HDMI output is protected.  This means that you can plug your PS3 into your TV using the HDMI cable but, if you like to record your game play as I do, it won’t worked plugged into a capture card like the Elgato Game Capture HD (this is what I use and highly recommend).  In order to record or stream from my console, I have to use the composite cables.  Most people would recognize these as the red, green, and blue cables that look just like the ones that you would plug into the back of your stereo years ago…as a matter of fact, they are the same connectors…RCA.  This does not appear to be an option with the PS4.

    If the HDMI output from the PS4 is still protected, and there is no reason that I can imagine that Sony would have changed that, then game capture is dead on the PS4 unless someone comes up with a work around solution.  This is the number one reason that I will NOT purchase the Playstation 4.  If I cannot capture my game play, then I have no desire to play games on this console.  I share what I play…plain and simple.

    So, the combination of having to pay $60 a year to play online with others and the inability to capture my game play have completely killed any thoughts I once had about picking up a Playstation 4 for the time being.  If new information comes to light, or they change things, that could change my mind…but not for now.

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd