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Sony PlayStation (Games) Hardware

Sony Issues Detailed PS4 FAQ Ahead of Launch 312

Posted by timothy
from the setting-expectations dept.
Sockatume writes "Sony has released a detailed FAQ for the PS4 system, which launches in coming weeks. Of particular note: although Bluetooth headsets will not be compatible, generic 3.5mm and USB audio devices will work; the console will require activation via the internet or a special disk before it will play Blu-ray or DVDs; media servers, MP3s, and audio CDs are not supported. The console's "suspend/resume" and remote assistance features are listed as unavailable for the North American launch, implying that they will be patched in before the console launches in Europe later in November."
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Sony Issues Detailed PS4 FAQ Ahead of Launch

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  • by CokoBWare (584686) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:09AM (#45290635)

    So I was excited to buy a PS4 until they announced no media server support. Same with XBone. I guess I'm just one of those guys who will stay with his PS3 for the forseeable future...

    I know why they made that choice, but it doesn't service the customers who put their media library on a server instead of on disc.

    • I had a PS4 pre-order for a while. I cancelled it because likely all the games I enjoy will be out on PS3 for a good while anyway. And while AC4 does look very pretty on PS4, it's "good enough" for me on PS3 right now. I'll probably get a PS4 once it comes down to around 250GBP.

      While I rarely do it, I did actually play an audio CD on my PS3 last week too. Alongside my desktop PC, it's the only device in my house that can play them now.

      • What is this "audio CD" of which you speak?
        • My flatmate got one along with a "book" on teaching yourself Norwegian. It's kind of like Rosetta Stone, but cheaper and with more dead trees.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          What is this "audio CD" of which you speak?

          Something old people like me still use as our primary way of buying music.

          I still trawl through the CDs in the store to buy most of mine. I've discovered more music by looking for specific record labels or just looking through one of several sections to see if there's anything shiny in there. I've discovered a lot of great music that way.

          Every now and then when I'm on a trip I'm lucky enough to find one of the really huge music stores which has just tons of stuff

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            If you just rip them why not buy the songs on amazon as mp3s and back them up yourself? If you wanted to be really hipster you could even back them up to CDs.

            • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:16AM (#45291371)

              because for decent stereo systems, mp3 is not good enough.

              I prefer to buy a cd (used), rip it to flac and play that.

              when I rip, I know its done right and if there are errors, I send the cd back or re-rip until it comes out right.

              allofmp3 used to sell flac. times were good back then. now, to get flac, you mostly have to rip yourself (or have someone do it, but again, you don't have control over the quality and there's a lot that can go wrong when someone careless does the rip/encode/tag).

              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                Lots of websites still sell flac from what I can tell.
                Most CDs are so poorly mastered (loudness wars) that I have trouble imagining it matters if they are ripped to MP3 or not.

                I don't have the hearing for decent sound systems anyway, too many loud concerts and gun fire in my youth.

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              If you just rip them why not buy the songs on amazon as mp3s and back them up yourself?

              Because I still like having something physical, to be perfectly honest.

              Buying MP3s to me feels like I've not bought anything, and the way I buy and find music is usually from sifting through the CD racks in music stores. I don't set out thinking "gee, what I need is what I just heard on the radio" (because I don't listen to the radio), it's more of a "hey, what's this stuff" kind of process. Much more tactile and random

            • Because I can buy CDs on clearance and I like CDs. Why don't you like the same stuff that I do?
            • by cayenne8 (626475)

              If you just rip them why not buy the songs on amazon as mp3s and back them up yourself? If you wanted to be really hipster you could even back them up to CDs.

              I rip my usually to FLAC, a lossless compression for listening to my good audio system in the living room...and also to mp3 for lessor listening environments like the car or ipod in the gym.

              No DRM and freedom to listen in any format I want.

              Not to mention, it won't disappear if a company or company's service goes out of function.

        • CD defined (Score:5, Informative)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:39AM (#45290965) Homepage Journal
          Compact Disc Digital Audio is a lossless audio format introduced in the 1980s. Each disc 120 mm in diameter (the size of the later DVD) stored up to 80 minutes of stereo audio at a sample rate and depth that an adult ear cannot distinguish from any higher sample rate or depth. After the introduction of MP3 format in the late 1990s, people would buy CDs, copy them to computers using a CD-ROM drive, and compress the result to MP3 for later listening in a noisy environment that can get away with lower fidelity. And until the late 2000s when Amazon started selling MP3 downloads, CD was the only way to buy popular music for listening on a computer or pocket device without digital restrictions management.
        • by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:49AM (#45291051) Homepage

          It's the hobbyist way to buy MP3/AAC tracks. They come with their own lossless backup.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Lots of other low power devices make fine media servers.

      I don't know why they made that choice, so please enlighten me.

    • by barlevg (2111272)
      I'm a firm believer in not getting any new console until you absolutely have to (read: until there's a game you really want to play that's only on that console). If good titles are scarce (::cough:: 3DS ::cough::), it means you get to wait for the price drop / patching / additional features / new version.
    • by RogueyWon (735973)

      Yeah, this is pretty bad. Don't get me wrong, I still intend to get a PS4 soon after launch (probably not launch day this time - the fuss and queues trying to get a 360 and Wii at launch are not something I want to repeat) but this is an irritation. Particularly given that the PS3's media streaming functionality was so much better than the 360's.

      Of course, the lack of backward compatibility on both the PS4 and the Xbox One means that anybody intending to buy either console will need to hang onto its predece

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        This is why I have so many consoles still connected. They only get removed when the HTPC can emulate them. I would already have a wii U if it played gamecube games.

        I love a new console coming out, it means the old gen games will get very cheap.

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          If you got a fast enough HTPC you could get a Wii U. But Dolphin is almost as slow with GC games as it is with Wii games. I keep going back and trying Dolphin and realizing that it's too early.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I had the same experience.
            My current HTPC is a Core 2 Quad. So either dolphin needs to get better or I need to keep waiting.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Of course, the lack of backward compatibility on both the PS4 and the Xbox One means that anybody intending to buy either console will need to hang onto its predecessor unless they're willing to discard their entire games library for it

        Which means for some of us, buying a spare last-gen console and ignoring the new ones is a viable option.

        I don't play the latest and greatest games because, well, video games lapped me about 15+ years ago. I also don't play games on-line, so most of the new 'features' don't

        • buying a spare last-gen console and ignoring the new ones

          Until you can't play the game anymore because the last gen console's multiplayer servers have been shut down for good. Even Halo 2 ended [slashdot.org].

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Yet another win for PC gaming.

            The GP stated he does not play online anyway though. I don't either. Not all of us want to hear racist and homophobic slurs being yelled by children while being accused of hacking simply because we have the attention span to learn how to properly play the game.

            • Not all of us want to hear racist and homophobic slurs being yelled by children

              Major video game consoles are made for the profitable majority, not the less profitable edge case. I understand your concern about racial and sexual harassment in online pickup groups of strangers, but another comment [slashdot.org] claims that most gamers happen not to share this problem.

          • Re:Halo 2 ended (Score:5, Insightful)

            by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:58AM (#45291145) Homepage

            Until you can't play the game anymore because the last gen console's multiplayer servers have been shut down for good.

            Which, if you'd read my entire post where I said I don't play games on-line, you wouldn't be suggesting.

            For some of us, video games are played alone/with friends in our basement or living room, with no networking involved -- the way it was meant to be done. ;-)

            For me (and I realize I'm a relatively smaller minority of gamers), on-line gaming carries absolutely zero appeal. And all of the 'social' aspects (like badges and winning coins and spending real money to get better stuff) is equally meaningless to me.

            To me, when I'm in the mood and have time, I'll fire up the video game, play a while, and then turn it off. Driving games, Tiger Woods, Skyrim, the wife's dancing games for the Kinect ... none of these are the kinds of things I want to play against someone on the internet.

            My video game console doesn't get connected to the network, and is completely air-gapped. And I can't say I've ever felt I was missing out on anything. In fact, the brief period I had it on-line was enough to convince me that I definitely don't want it.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Mine would be if not for Netflix and Amazon prime.

              Video game updates are another reason you might want to connect it. Some games really needed the updates, Bugthesda looking at you here.

              • by gstoddart (321705)

                Mine would be if not for Netflix and Amazon prime.

                My internet is metered, and I pay for my bandwidth. So my preference is still to buy the Blu Ray that comes with a Digital Copy (not that evil Ultraviolet) and use that. That way I only download a much smaller amount of files and can watch the disc whenever I want.

                Video game updates are another reason you might want to connect it. Some games really needed the updates, Bugthesda looking at you here.

                When Microsoft started putting ads in my home screen and v

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  What the heck is Digital Copy? Why not just rip the blu ray? I tend to only watch things once so I don't buy a lot of media.

                  I don't think I could cope with metered internet service. I don't have cable or an antenna nor am I willing to watch advertising in my media.
                  So far the PS3 seems free of advertising as far as I can tell.

                  • by gstoddart (321705)

                    What the heck is Digital Copy?

                    Licensed digital copy of movies, downloadable from iTunes-- which I was already using anyway (yeah, whatever). At that point, I can watch it on my iPod or my Apple TV -- sadly, I can't watch on my Android tablet, but can still dust off my first gen iPad to watch movies on planes. But you can usually buy the combo pack which has Blu Ray, DVD, and the Digital copy for only slightly more than just the Blu Ray.

                    When I discovered I could play movies from my iPod onto the TV in the

                    • Honestly I assume that by now it's exceedingly annoying to try to rip those things, and the one I can download from iTunes is pretty much there and good to go in much less time. And spending too much time on it isn't exactly how I want to spend my time these days.

                      MakeMKV makes it trivial to do a 1:1 rip of your Bluray into an MKV container that has the primary video and audio stream. If you need any conversion after that for tablets etc... Handbrake does the job very well.

                      http://makemkv.com/ [makemkv.com] http://ha [handbrake.fr]
            • For some of us, video games are played alone/with friends in our basement or living room

              And others can't coordinate their schedules to play with friends, so they prefer pickup games with strangers.

              with no networking involved

              Fewer and fewer games for Microsoft and Sony consoles support split screen multiplayer for two reasons. First, time is money, and supporting both split screen and online splits the effort between optimizing for split screen and optimizing for online. Second, publishers want to sell multiple copies to a household [cracked.com].

      • If the PC-like architecture of the new systems is going to be the way of the future, then hopefully this is the last time we have to suffer [lack of back-compat].

        The original Xbox was PC-like, with a 733 MHz Celeron and a GeForce 3. Microsoft designed its successor to be less PC-like, using a PowerPC CPU instead of x86, as a cost-cutting measure. Another thing that worries me is reliance on vendors' GPU bugs, something that console games have done for decades and that Mantle is likely to bring to the PC gaming world.

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      I find it interesting they are sustaining the physical disk format as it seems to lend its self to being ripped, while a purely digital format could possibly have "better" drm?
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        That is more about internet access issues.
        These games are huge, downloading them for many would either take days or put them over their quota.

        • by tepples (727027)
          From the FAQ:

          If I rent a game disc, and then decide I want to buy it digitally, can I use the installation to avoid downloading it and just activate my license?
          In this example, you would have to delete the disc install data and fully install the digital version of the game.

          This means rural dwellers and mobile-only Internet users are locked into discs for yet another generation.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Either way that would have been the case.
            Who would want to rent the game just for installation?
            The disks are typically cheaper than digital sales in the sony store anyway.

            Heck, I rather have the disks so that one day I can rip them and emulate the system. Can't do that with the software from the sony store.

            • Who would want to rent the game just for installation?

              The same Internet have-not demographic who paid extra for a copy of OS X on USB media. For a lot of these people, Internet access costs $10 per GB.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I find it interesting they are sustaining the physical disk format as it seems to lend its self to being ripped, while a purely digital format could possibly have "better" drm?

        Well, Blu-ray has several protections for that embedded in the disc itself, including identifying marks (what type - factory, BD-R, BD-RE, etc, including ID codes for factory pressed discs identifying the factory and timestamps).

        And the last time digital only was suggested, everyone was up in arms, despite several advantages to the ph

        • by Jiro (131519)

          nothing was ever out of print - you could simply torrent a copy and pay the digital license fee to get the game

          No you couldn't, since the digital license servers would not be selling licenses forever. For the digital license servers to end would be the equivalent of "going out of print".

          And once the servers die, even disks you bought would no longer be able to run.

    • by jddj (1085169)

      Couldn't possibly buy one of these. My 3 and 5 year old get their TV from our carefully curated media server full of kids' TV. There's a month's worth of episodes of a number of their favorite shows (not just the 90-second clips the kids apps on the iPad want to show).

      The PS3 is about the best frontend you can get for MythTV - navigates easier, more reliable, plays smoother, integrates into the home theater easier and builds the TV recordings into the rest of their entertainment.

      Sony is doing all it can to

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Can't possibly connect two devices to the same TV? I realize that ease of use is an issue for a 3 year old. I am using Plex via Roku as a MythTV frontend. I use a modified mythlink.pl to create a directory of symlinks with season and episode number in the filename and Plex does a great job grabbing the metadata. It does require running a Plex server - and you may or may not have the spare cycles on the MythTV backend.

    • by LordNimon (85072)

      If the PS4 support is anything like the Xbox 360 support, then you're not missing much. I got tired of all the limitations of my Xbox when it came to playing media files, and so I bought a WD TV Live. It's blows away my Xbox. I can attach a USB hard drive to the WD box which then appears as an SMB mount on my Mac. I then rip a Blu-ray to an 20GB MKV file, and it plays perfectly. No transcoding needed.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      It's always possible they intend to stick it in later (I doubt DLNA support was a launch day priority), but it would definitely put me off preordering if I had. But then again, a good reason not to preorder in the first place is because of things like this.

      If it's a good console then it will still be a good console in 6 months from now when there are some actual worthwhile games to play on it and the firmware has gone through a few feature enhancements. It took several major updates of the PS3 firmware fo

  • No media servers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:13AM (#45290661)

    What ever?
    Seems like a backward step to me. If Sony thinks that 1000s and 1000s of its devices are being used solely as media servers, they are right.

    If they think that omitting that feature will mean more games sales, they are mistaken.

    • by Captain Hook (923766) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:50AM (#45291059)

      If they think that omitting that feature will mean more games sales, they are mistaken.

      True, if people were buying consoles as media boxes then you are right, they won't sell more games this way, but they might sell less consoles are loss making prices so they would still be better off financially as a result.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @10:15AM (#45290687)

    the console will require activation via the internet or a special disk before it will play Blu-ray or DVDs; media servers, MP3s, and audio CDs are not supported

    This is why Sony needs to spin off its media division, as Dan Loeb has proposed.

    As long as Sony is both a consumer electronics company and a major movie/recording studio, the consumer electronics division will always be compromised by the need to serve the overall corporate goals rather than the customer's needs.

    You just know that the "no media server" and "have to activate on the Internet for DVD/Blu-ray" restrictions were added at the insistence of the suits on the studio side. These restrictions do nothing for customers, and a pure consumer electronics company would have no reason to hurt the functionality of their product by inflicting them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nah, the activation would be there regardless. It's so that they only need to pay the per-unit DVD and BluRay licensing fees based on how many units are activated, rather than how many units are manufactured.

      They probably figure that a whole bunch of people won't bother activating it since they already have a BluRay player and at least four different DVD-playing devices attached to their teevee already. Saves some money, and the average consumer doesn't really care about a little one-time annoyance (as long

      • by jonwil (467024)

        Actually, I think its not activation, its a day-one patch that is required to enable the functionality.

    • Well, the DVD/Blu-ray activation could theoretically save them couple bucks per console if they don't have to pay licensing for those technologies on consoles that never get activated.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Well, the DVD/Blu-ray activation could theoretically save them couple bucks per console if they don't have to pay licensing for those technologies on consoles that never get activated.

        Who, exactly, does Sony have to pay? Didn't they create the BluRay spec and pretty much own it?

        At which point I should expect some imaginary money to be moved around. Selling you a device which half works sounds like the usual crap I expect from Sony -- which is why I haven't owned anything made by Sony in quite some time.

        Th

  • What's the point of that? As someone who has terabytes dedicated to local media storage rather than counting on the cloud to reliably stream (or even carry) a particular album or movie, this trend is really ticking me off. I'm going to take a guess that XBone won't serve as a Media Center Extender as well. Was hoping for a single device to play games, watch TV, and listen to music, but it looks more and more like I need to get a separate NUC (or equivalent) for the media server access (although that was goi
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      A steambox might be an idea.
      Not sure if they have TV support, heck just adding netflix and amazon would be enough for me.

    • Install Plex server (free) on your server and pick up a Roku 2 for $60 and install the Plex client (also free). Works great for videos, music, and pictures. Also, since the Roku isn't a Blu-ray player, it doesn't prevent you from playing Blu-rays that you have ripped to store on your server. This won't meet your game needs, but it's a tiny, lower power device so it doesn't take up a bunch of space or give off a bunch of heat.

    • by Jethro (14165)

      The media center capabilities of the PS3 never worked for me. It can see my media servers but can't see any of the videos. "Sure," you say, "videos are all kinda weird codecs." And you're right, I don't expect Sony to make something that'll play MKV files. click on Music, and go into a directory with thousands of MP3 files, and it can't see THOSE, either. It wants a very, very specific format for those MP3 files which Google has NOT helped me figure out!

      I have a dedicated media center PC. It's small, quiet,

  • the console will require activation via the internet or a special disk before it will play Blu-ray or DVDs

    Try as I might, I can't figure that one out. It's not like Sony doesn't sell off-the-shelf blu-ray players every day that don't require this (including the PS3). So why require it for the PS4??

    Maybe they didn't have the software finished on time and it requires a downloaded patch?

    • by gnfnrf (39155)

      It's probably a licensing thing. Sony doesn't want to pay the per-player fee on every device they sell, just every device that is activated.

    • Blu-ray players pay $10 in licensing fees, by making you activate it they can defer that cost and only pay it for those who are actually going to use it.

  • Two things about this that worry me. Well, 2 and a half.

    The whole no MP3/audio CDs/DLNA thing, yeah... that COULD potentially be fixed and Sony have addressed peoples' concerns about it. That's my half thing.

    What worries me more is that no current bluetooth headsets nor PS3 controllers will work on the thing. I can see absolutely no reason for that other than Money Grab. Yeah, the PS4 controller has more features, but those things are overpriced half-way to hell and many of us have multiple PS3 controllers.

  • FTA: "Does the PS4 system support analog video or audio output?" "No. the PS4 system's video and audio are transmitted using HDMI"
    "What screen resolutions will PS4 support?" "The PS4 system supports 480p"
    "In PAL Markets, the Vertical Stands for the PS4 system will retail for â19.99 / £16.99."
    [Damnit Slashdot, Unicode! Any year now!]

    Seriously mixed messages here. First, I feel just fine with digital-only, though I expect that will piss off at least a few people. But why does it suppo
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It says "in PAL markets" because that's the version of the FAQ issued on the European PAL region PlayStation blog.

    • But why does it support 480p?

      It's probably an AACS requirement to support at least one EDTV resolution, given the Image Constraint Token.

      But that last line really cinches it... "In PAL markets". WTF? Seriously Sony, what the hell does PAL-vs-NTSC have to do with it, when you only have digital outputs?

      "PAL market" refers to markets that use 50 Hz alternating current and historically used PAL video: Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. These tend to have fewer people per country than North America. This increases cost of licensing works for adaptation when distributors own exclusive rights in different countries. It increases the cost of localization as UI and games must be dubbed in more languages. It increases censorship as some PAL market countries have less comprehensive protection of speech than the United States, allowing no-swastikas policies and refusal to accept neighboring countries' classification for violent, sexual, or otherwise objectionable materials. Finally, Europe tends toward stronger warranty requirements for consumer products than North America.

      For that matter, does PAL-vs-NTSC even exist at all anymore?

      Yes. It would be cost prohibitive for the PAL market to switch to 60 Hz AC and a single media distribution territory, and it would be politically unpopular to adopt English language, free speech, and U.S.-style minimal warranty.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Maybe it's changed since you visited, but I see different.

      "What screen resolutions will PS4 support?" "The PS4 system supports 480p"

      It actually says "The PS4 system supports 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p video standards via HDMI output."

      For that matter, does PAL-vs-NTSC even exist at all anymore?

      Yes - it does. The resolutions might be the same, but PAL video is at 25fps vs. our 29.97 (or double for interlaced). Their SD video is 576p.

  • I find that particularly odd that Sony wouldn't have support for DLNA on the PS4 considering they started the consortium.
  • by umafuckit (2980809) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:34AM (#45291579)
    I almost pre-ordered the PS4 but in the end I bought a PS3 instead. They're only $250 right now and there's a vast games collection with lots of great older titles at under $20. Didn't seem worth paying a premium for a PS4 given the tiny game selection at launch and the fact that I'd be forking out $60 for each game. If I want great graphics, I'll go to the study and fire up the PC. However, I find myself preferring GT5 or Little Big Planet in the living room whilst hanging out with my girlfriend and the dog. The only problem is that the dog is unsettled by video games for some weird, dog-only-knows, reason.

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