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At a pre-launch PS4 event in New York, Sony showed off some of the neat little things the PS4 can do in a few morning presentations. We’ve only grazed the surface with what little they’ve shown us, so we’ll lay out what we’ve learned, and then continue to update this list in the coming days as we come across more neat tricks, tips, and features.
We’ll do a deeper dive in a couple of days with retail PS4 units. Stay tuned.
Double-tap the PS button to jump to the last app used
You know that ‘last channel button on your television remote. Think of the DualShock 4’s PS button double tap function the same way. The last app you’ve used will instantly return with a double tap. In our demonstration, we saw how doing this brought the system out of the game and instantly into the web browser. How great would that be for checking FAQs?
Charge your controllers via USB even with the power off
In some of the menu deep dives we did, we saw one checkbox that has the PS4 sending power out its USB ports, even with the system power off. This will let you leave your controllers plugged in to keep them charged up. Sony tells us that this option is off by default, so you’ll have to go in and turn it on when you get your PS4 later this week.
PS4 can upload and download while in standby mode
If you turn on the option, PS4 can pull down and upload content for you while the system is in standby. This option is not on by default. Similarly, the network remote wake up is not on by default.
Broadcast to your heart’s content
As far as Sony is concerned, there’s nothing stopping you from broadcasting all day, every day if you’d like. Sony told us that once you hit the broadcast switch on, you can stream as long as you’d like. The only thing that would stop you would be device-based limitations, so you’ll have to take it up with Ustream or Twitch if you get cut off.
Trophies have different rarities
Viewing your Trophies on PS4 also shows your PS3 and Vita haul, which is really nice. They’ve added a new rarity rating for trophies, with the four ranks (common, rare, very rare, and ultra rare) that change dynamically, depending on how many people unlock the Trophy.
You can log in with your face
Registering your face is pretty easy (PlayStation Eye Camera required). The system asks you to tilt your head three different ways and then generates a profile from that. To log in, simply show your face to the camera while holding a controller. To confirm, the system will ask you to move the controller you’re holding to line up with the one pictured on the screen. Once that’s done, you’re instantly logged in.
You can send voice messages and attach screenshots
PS4’s messaging system will let you send messages to PS3 and Vita systems. You can add image attachments to these messages if you’d like. If you’re sending messages to other PS4 users, you can add up to 15 seconds of voice. While listening to voice messages is not possible on PS3 and Vita, you can use the PlayStation App to do so.
Party Chat is really that
Party chat works for up to eight people, and you can include PS Vita users in that mix. This is a system-level function, so you can be playing anything while in party chat.
The on-screen keyboard can use motion control to type
While you can still use the d-pad to scroll over to letters to highlight and accept to type, a new method lets you move a target over the on-screen keyboard with the DualShock 4’s motion sensor. This point and push method seems to be a bit faster than using the d-pad. Sony says that they are working on touchpad typing, but it’s not ready yet.
You can select from customized audiences for your shares
When you choose to share videos or screenshots, you can pick from customized audience lists to determine who will see your uploaded content. For example, you could set a group of Facebook friends that play Killzone, and then use PS4’s share to send your content only to them.
PS4 PlayStation Store:
Play as you download feature lets you pick where you’d like to start
We saw the PlayStation Store up and running, and for an example of how the play as you download feature works, we chose to buy Call of Duty: Ghosts. The store asked if we would like to start playing single player or multiplayer mode first, letting players choose where they’d like to start.