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Sony releases massive PlayStation 4 FAQ as launch approaches

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We're just over two weeks out from the release of Sony's PlayStation 4, and today the company is setting out to answer any lingering questions you may have. Sony has published an exhaustive FAQ at the PlayStation Blog covering a wide range of topics including the console itself, supported accessories, and new details on the PlayStation Network and digital games availability.

Out of the box, the PS4 will include a 500GB 5,400RPM hard drive that's user replaceable — so long as the new drive is larger than 160GB. Sony says the console's cooling system has been tuned for living room usage and "is generally much quieter than the PS3," so hopefully you'll rarely hear a whirring fan during those lengthy gaming sessions or when watching a movie. Speaking of movies, Sony has confirmed that a software update and one-time internet activation will be required before you can watch any Blu-rays or DVDs. That update, PS4 firmware 1.50, will be available at launch — and you'll be allowed to play a game while it downloads in the background. And while PlayStation Plus is required for online multiplayer, you'll be free to use apps (movies, music) without subscribing to Sony's service.

There's very bad news in store for home theater enthusiasts, though. Sony says you'll be unable to use the PS4 as a client for your media server. The next-gen console is shipping without DLNA support, a significant step backwards for a device that's likely to be a living room centerpiece for many. Even more unfortunate, the PS4 can't play MP3 files, suggesting that Sony wants users to turn to its own store and third-party apps for all media needs. And your CD collection? Useless. Sony has decided that now's the time to end support for audio CD playback.

Cross-platform play between PS3 and PS4 is 'technically possible'

On the gaming side of things, Sony interestingly notes that cross-platform play between the PS3 and its successor is "technically possible." The console's user interface is referred to as the "PlayStation Dynamic Menu." It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but Sony says the menu system has been designed around five principles: simplicity, immediacy, social, integration, and personalization. Somewhat alarmingly, Sony isn't guaranteeing that all games will be available from the PlayStation Store on the same day they hit retail shelves. "Ultimately, the decision lies with publishers on whether to make digital versions of games available on the same release date." Sony says it expects same-day availability to be the norm, and the company's strong showing with its Day 1 Digital program on PS3 sets a good precedent.

The inconvenient delay of downloading game patches is also being mitigated. "Users can continue playing on a PS4 system while the game’s patch is being auto detected and downloaded," Sony says. There's truly a wealth of information to be found here, so if you're at all curious what Sony's latest console is (and isn't) capable of, the entire FAQ is worth a read.

The Verge
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