PS4 tips and tricks
That lovely parallelogram has been snug under your TV for a number of months now and you've probably discovered all kinds of tricks it can do.
But a slew of software updates since release mean you might have missed some vital points.
Despite a few E3 promises still working on being fulfilled, Sony's 8th generation console has been gifted some spectacular features so far and whether it's making the most of sharing or discovering the PlayStation app, we've gathered 25 must know tips to make the most out of your PS4 right now.
1. Make headphones wireless
Well, wireless when it comes to stretching between the sofa and the screen that is. A 3.5mm jack handily positioned on the DualShock 4 means you can plug your own headphones or headset into the controller. The default setting is for chat audio only but this can be easily tweaked by holding down the PS button in game and selecting 'adjust devices' on the resulting menu. Select the 'output to headphones' option and choose 'all audio'. Voila, the digital crackling of Watch Dogs is in your ears and, if you have an inline mic you can use this for in game chat or even commentary recording for Twitch.
2. Use your phone as a keyboard
Previously it was a serious slog to enter messages using the analogue sticks on PS3, with only an ugly wireless keypad peripheral available to ease the pain. Thankfully, PS4 delivers a choice of interfaces and, as well as a helpful touchpad input, allows you to use the PlayStation App as a second screen for text entry. With your phone and PS4 on the same Wi-Fi network you can pair them via the PlayStation App connection settings on the PS4. Then, with both logged in to the same PSN ID, select the second screen option, choose the keyboard icon at the top left and, as if by magic, PlayStation messaging becomes fun again.
3. Pre-load your games
It's not here just yet but come Destiny time – that'll be September the 9th this year – the ability to pre-load games won't just belong to smug PC gamers. Starting with Bungie's futuristic FPS, PS4 will allow us to pre-load all games that can be pre-ordered on the PlayStation Store several days before the release date. With no more watching a loading bar on launch day this is a much needed addition that'll remove a lot of the desire to venture out on day one when games will be ready to play as soon as the clock passes midnight.
4. Start remote playing
If the last entry wasn't enough of a reason to stay in bed then the remote play features of PS4 should seal the deal. Whether someone else wants the TV or you just fancy playing 8th gen games in the bath, the capability to stream to the PlayStation Vita is a slick process that just requires you to have both devices signed into the same PSN ID. You can connect directly to the PS4 or via your wireless network if you are too far away from the console itself. Make sure that 'enable turning on PS4 from network' is selected in your power save settings and you'll be able to turn on the PS4 remotely from the Vita.
5. Use your Vita as an extra DualShock
If you've not shelled out for an additional controller yet and fancy some two player action on PS4 then you'll be happy to hear that your trusty Vita doubles up as an additional DualShock. Set up remote play as usual with the Vita. This will automatically turn off any connected controller and allow the handheld to control the on screen action. When you want a friend to join in, have them press the PS button on the DualShock and log in as another user or guest and you'll have co-op Lego Marvel on the go in no time.
6. Record your skills
PS4, whether you tell it to or not, always diligently records the last 15 minutes of your gameplay just in case you perform some incredible feat and fancy showing it to the world or just want to keep it for yourself as a digital memento. To hoard a period of gaming history all you need to do is hit the share button or opt to save a video to your captures folder. This can then be uploaded directly to Facebook and thus, the world. If you actively want to record something, press the share button twice to start recording and once when you want to end the clip. Again, this can only be up to 15 minutes in length.
7. Take easy screenshots
The default set up of the share button means that a quick press will bring up the share menu and a longer press is needed to take a screenshot. However, an 'easy screenshots' mode is available that allows you to reverse the settings and means you'll never have to leave the action if you want to take a quick snap of the scenery/carnage. This setting can be found within the options menu of the share screen.
8. Let viewers interact via livestreaming
With both Twitch and Ustream support built into the PS4, it's easy to get your gaming online for all to see. A press of the share button in-game will give you the option to stream on either platform and a helpful settings screen allows you to add footage and audio from the PlayStation Camera, display comments from viewers and change the quality of the upload depending on your network speeds. Some games even allow Twitch viewers to have a say in the action with commenters adding more horror to the procedurally generated scare-fest Daylight and deciding Lara's fate when she is wounded in Tomb Raider.
9. Prepare for Project Morpheus
It's not here yet but the Oculus Rift-rivalling virtual reality headset is on its way to PS4. A little Daft Punk in its stylings, Project Morpheus impressed at its initial showing and already has games confirmed for the platform, as well as the usual tech demos. It was also recently revealed to be the reason behind the DualShock 4's distinctive colour changing light bar so expect plenty of motion input as well as traditional Dual Shock controls.
10. Use the Share Factory
A big part of the recent 1.70 update was the Share Factory. A free editing app, it delivers more personalisation options for your videos with the ability to add commentary, soundtracks and effects to your footage. You can add a unique PS4 intro and outro to each video you post and it delivers a user friendly interface for editing and splicing clips together. Videos can be uploaded directly to Facebook from the PS4 or alternatively you can save them to a USB stick in order to upload to YouTube via your computer.
11. Get social
Hooking up your PS4 to Facebook is a great way of importing a profile photo and ensuring easy sharing with friends without having to make much of an effort. It also means your real name can now be revealed to the world if you accept specific requests from your PSN friends. A Facebook settings page allows you to make sure that you aren't spamming friends with every single trophy pop and you can easily personalise who sees what activity. A new update also means you can post multiple images to both your Facebook and Twitter profiles. So much for not spamming your non-gamer friends…
12. Charge while you sleep
While in standby mode – indicated by sleepy orange lighting – the PS4 is happy to download updates, games and, usefully, charge those ailing DualShocks. Make sure that supply power from USB ports is selected within your power savings settings and you shouldn't find yourself running out of juice after an hour's game time. Also worth keeping in mind is the new micro USB socket which means compatible phone chargers will let you charge a controller on the fly without having to stretch a cable from the console.
13. Use voice commands
Not just a feature of the Xbox One's Kinect, PS4 also responds to voice commands. Prefacing each statement with "PlayStation" you can tell the PS4 to take screenshots, play games (by saying the game name and then "start"), go back to the home screen, select applications and power off. Excellent recognition software even means it's possible to say different versions of a game name ie. "Black Flag" or "Assassin's Creed" and the PS4 will respond accordingly. There is a mic built into the optional PlayStation Camera but this will work equally well with the headset microphone. Voice commands can also be used in game such as Thief, which allows you to sneakily whistle to distract guards.
14. Quick-switch between your apps and games
It's not full multitasking but if you want to flick between applications on the PS4, a double tap of the PS button will quickly switch between the two most recent apps. This means if you are checking the trophies required for an elusive platinum you can switch easily between the game and the trophy application without having to go to the home screen and trawl along to the desired section. As a side note, if you press the home button once mid game, the game will be paused and you are free to browse to other settings without the game closing.
15. Make the most of PS Plus
PS Plus has always been a great source of free games and PSN discounts for its £39.99 a year price tag but as of June 2014 the service is getting better for PS4 users with two guaranteed games every month. New games appear on the first Wednesday of the month (Tuesday in NA) and will be free until the first Wednesday of the following month so make sure you get downloading during that time. Even clicking buy and not downloading immediately will make sure the game is yours as long as your subscription lasts.
16. Download games remotely
Not just a pretty keyboard accessory, your phone can also set your PS4 to download new games while you are out and about. Using the store on the PlayStation App you can browse for new content and if your PS4 is on standby with its power save settings with 'connect to the internet' selected then you can set games downloading immediately after purchase so they are ready for you arriving home.
17. Do touch
Initially a questionable addition to the DualShock 4, the touch pad is a surprisingly useful interface now that developers have started to embrace more interesting uses. First party games such as Killzone Shadow Fall use the pad for control of the OWL Drone while Infamous Second Son utilises it as a finger print scanner. Plus, if you're looking for some touch controlled air hockey – exactly what your eighth gen console was made for - look no further than the ridiculously addictive version within the free AR PlayRoom application. You can also flick robots from your controller in a considerably more surreal version of your living room.
18. Turn down the light bar
Unavailable as a feature at launch but implemented at the request of the community after TV reflection issues and questions about battery life, you can now change the brightness of the light bar on the DualShock 4 between three settings. While it can't be turned off entirely due to its use by the PlayStation Camera for recognition, if you hold the PS button and select 'adjust devices' you'll find the menu to let you select between bright, medium and dim settings.
19. Get moving
The PlayStation Move wand and its accompanying motion controller are both compatible with PS4 and especially exciting for use with the unique Johann Sebastian Joust in new release Sportsfriends. However, Move on PS4 is not compatible with the PlayStation Eye PS3 camera and now uses the optional PlayStation Camera instead. Make sure the controller is calibrated properly before each use to minimise any changes you need to make once the game has loaded up.
20. Don't be camera shy
It might be an optional extra but investing in the Wall-E alike PlayStation Camera brings the PS4 a number of exciting extra features as well as the standard movement control for games such as Just Dance. You can teach the PS4 your facial features from various angles and it will always log you in automatically if you are holding the controller. Ideal, as even if you have a number of registered users sitting on the sofa together, the PS4 will cleverly pair the light bar up with the face above the DualShock. The PlayStation Camera is also excellent for adding both audio and video during livestreams.
21. Admire your trophy cabinet
If your desire for shiny treasures resembles Lara Croft's then the trophy section on PS4 is a very attractive glistening cabinet of precious metals. Not just allowing you to see your own achievements, PS4 lets you to see the rarity of each individual trophy on a worldwide scale. Ranging from common to ultra-rare, you can see the percentage of other players who have unlocked a particular achievement. Comparing with friends is also now within the app itself, so you can measure up to your PSN rivals with a press of a button.
22. Visit the library
Storing all your purchased apps and games, the Library section is where you can view everything linked to your PSN ID without the hassle of having to visit the store and check your downloads. All your DLC is here too and if you are looking for other related items, then you'll find them here as well as your recent activity and your trophy progress in game. It's an ideal place to find everything in one location.
23. Set up a passcode
If you're looking for an extra layer of security that isn't just your face then you can easily set up a passcode in your login settings. Parental control settings also utilises a passcode procedure where you can restrict games, applications and Blu-Rays that have age ratings, disable the internet browser and block user generated video and pictures. You can also restrict the content shown in the PlayStation Store and set store spending limits to make sure no one's buying what they shouldn't.
24. Keep up to date
PS4's equivalent of your Facebook wall but without the 'most recent' problem, the activity feed shows off what your PSN friends have been up to. Initially just showing everyone playing the exact same four games on launch, it's now much more interesting and gives you information on what trophies have been earned, what new releases are being played and any shared video content from your online friends.
25. Watch PlayStation Live
Scrolling along to the end of your line of applications, you'll find Live from PlayStation where you can watch other PS4 users on both Twitch and UStream. A search function means you can hunt for specific games and a handy interactive section means you can choose to opt into participate rather than just view the action from afar. Plus, if you have the particular game that you are watching someone stream there's a link to start the game yourself if you feel like you could be doing a better job.
26. Add voice overs to your footage
The PS4 is always recording so at any time you can save your previous 15 minutes of footage and start recording more. If you want to voice-over when you're recording - whether it be to make a walkthrough, a guide or simply goad your mutilated enemies - go Options > Share Settings > Video Clip Settings > Microphone Audio to add your voice over in realtime.
27. Tweak your power settings
If you're the type of gamer who falls asleep in front of the TV or if you're prone to just walk off and leave your gear switched on, you can tell your PS4 to auto-poweroff or go to sleep after a set length of time. If you don't want it to do so, you can choose that also.
28. Save to a USB stick or the cloud
PlayStation Plus subscribers can save space on their PS4's HDD by saving to the cloud and all PS4 gamers can save to a USB hard/thumb drive. Just go to Settings > Application Saved Data Management to choose where to put the various files on your system.
- Check out our PS4 review