When the PlayStation 4 launches this Friday, players will be able to check out a plethora of new games, both downloadable and retail, that should keep them busy for months to come. We're already planning our Killzone: Shadow Fall multiplayer sessions as you read this.
The system is more than just about games, though. In addition to the software being released for it, a number of additional apps and features are also included, in case you're in the mood to watch a movie or kick back with some music.
So, before you pop in your favorite game, check out this list and see what other services are available for the system.
How Does PlayStation Plus Work on PS4?
PlayStation Plus is Sony's "premium" membership program, one that you'll need to subscribe to in order to take advantage of the system's online play functionality. That's a big change from how the policy worked on PlayStation 3, but it has its fair share of benefits.
The main thing you'll notice with PlayStation Plus is the amount of freebies and discounts that you'll get. Right off the bat, two of the PS4's most anticipated downloadable efforts, the platformer Contrast and the space shooter Resogun, will be completely free to download. The games are yours to keep as long as you keep your PlayStation Plus membership active. Other games will be offered as freebies in the months ahead, including a special edition of DriveClub, as well as the hit indie game The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.
Membership costs $49.99 per year, or you can buy a three-month block for $19.99. You won't need to worry about investing in it right away, as a free 30-day trial for PlayStation Plus will be included right inside the box.
What Apps are Available on PS4?
Upon launch, 13 interactive applications will be on hand in the PlayStation menu, with many more to be added in the months ahead. These apps provide a number of viewing services, whether you're into sports, movies or your favorite TV shows. There's something here for everyone.
Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, CrunchyRoll (a dedicated anime channel), EPIX, Hulu Plus, NBA Game Time, Netflix, NHL GameCenter LIVE, Redbox Instant by Verizon, VUDU and YuppTV are within reach, along with Sony's own Video and Music Unlimited, which we'll talk more about below.
Out of all of these, Netflix and Hulu Plus are the most popular, providing access to hundreds of thousands of on-demand movies and favorite TV shows, as well as original programming. Like most online apps, these require a subscription, but they're usually offered for a small monthly fee. Simply download the ones you want to use and have a viewing party afterwards.
How Does Video Unlimited Work on PS4?
If the on-demand apps don't have what you're looking for, Sony's Video Unlimited channel has a number of premiere programs to offer, including current episodes of hit shows and movies that usually premiere before their home release date. For instance, this week saw the release of the new Superman movie Man of Steel, as well as the sequel Red 2, among other fare.
What's cool about the PlayStation 4 is that it comes with a $10 PlayStation Network code, so your first rental or most of your first purchase will come at no charge. Simply enter the code into the required menu, find a movie or show you want, download and enjoy.
It's a great service on the PlayStation 3, and chances are it'll grow even more on PlayStation 4 – possibly with original programming down the road. After all, Microsoft already has plans to do so for Xbox One.
How Does Music Unlimited Work on PS4?
Music Unlimited is a streaming digital music service with thousands of songs, available on demand. Users can simply browse the kind of music they're looking for – or jump right to their favorite bands – and play it however they please. In fact, the PlayStation 4 also enables music to be played in the background while playing your favorite games. So if you're in the mood to blare Linkin Park as you lay waste to everyone in Call of Duty: Ghosts, you can certainly do so.
There's a small membership fee per month, but it's definitely worth it if you're a fan of music, as the PlayStation 4 currently doesn't allow CD play or MP3 port-overs. A patch may fix that in the future, but as far as day one entertainment goes, Music Unlimited is currently your only option. Thankfully, it's loaded with enough tunes to keep you occupied – even if Barry White is your thing.
The PlayStation 4 arrives on store shelves November 15th.