It's been a rough start for the Sony PlayStation 4: With new users rushing online to update the console and sign into the PlayStation Network so they can access most of its functionality on day one, the network was rocked to its knees. Heck, it was knocked out cold. So these first impressions are very early and very incomplete. And I'll be back with more as soon as possible.
If you don't mind a bit of commentary, I will at least point out that all the pro-Sony stuff that happened since the dual Xbox One and PS4 announcements really confused me. After all, Xbox has the most loyal customers on earth, and Sony ... well, Sony is Sony. Does anyone really trust this company to get anything right? They're like the Blackberry of the consumer electronics world. Sorry, PlayStation fans.
This week's launch is emblematic of the ineptitude that I've come to associate with Sony. The PlayStation 4 launched Friday, and its fans showed up in force at retail locations all over the United States. My console was preordered and arrived late in the day. But it never occurred to me to even check on how things were going. After all, how bad could it be?
Pretty bad. Over a few hours on Friday night I (and my son, who patiently filled in for me for a while) attempted to sign into Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) so we could do anything other than play a single player game. We were utterly and frustratingly unsuccessful.
Waking up Saturday morning, I headed down to the living room expecting to experience the same difficulties. But this time, my PSN sign-in finally worked. Success! Right?
My attempts to launch any of the entertainment titles on the console—Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and so—were all met by a "Network maintenance in progress" error after minutes of maddening and blank blue screens. Failing here again, I booted into the one launch title I bought—Killzone—to check out multiplayer. After all, I'm a first person shooter veteran, and I'm very curious to see how this compares to the games I've played.
Nope. Sony now charges for online multiplayer, like Microsoft has long done, and I was told I needed to join something called PlayStation Plus. But it didn't provide a way for me to go and do just that. Stupid Sony. (PlayStation Plus costs $50 a year, which is a bit less expensive than Xbox Live Gold.)
Sony is so infuriating that my only real surprise is that any of this surprised me. So while I was hoping to provide a rough overview of what the system is like, I instead spent the past 24 hours struggling just to get the basics working. So here are some photos of the device, and I'll provide further impressions, and some screenshots of the UI and software interfaces, soon.