Have you just got a PlayStation 4? If so, welcome aboard. Or maybe you’ve owned one for a while. Either way, the PS4 is a superb console that can do a whole lot more than simply play games.
We’re going to run through some ways to get the most out of your PS4. Because this is a machine packed with features, like listening to music, gaming remotely, or streaming.
1. Play Some Excellent Games
If there’s one thing the PS4 excels at, it’s playing excellent games. There’s no shortage of amazing experiences to dive into. Whether it’s swinging through the city in Marvel’s Spider-Man, uncovering lost treasure in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, or delving into Norse mythology in God of War, there’s something for everyone.
There are plenty of amazing PS4 exclusives, but Sony’s console is also home to cross-platform titles from big developers and indie studios alike. So why not open the PlayStation Store on the PS4 and get browsing.
2. Sign Up for PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that is required if you want to play multiplayer online. It usually costs $59.99 a year, though the first time you pay that you’ll get 15 months.
PS Plus also gives you exclusive discounts and cloud storage. Perhaps best of all, you get two free games every month—and not bargain basement titles, either. You can keep them as long as you remain a member, just remember to add them to your library before they expire.
3. Connect With Friends
If you have friends who also own a PS4, link up with them. Select Friends from the main menu, search the username, and select Add to Friends. Also, go to Settings > Account Management > Link with Other Services to automatically connect with your Facebook and Twitter contacts.
Having someone on your friend list will mean you can message them, share screenshots and videos, view their trophies, add them to a multiplayer party, and more. Go on, be social.
4. Increase Your Storage Capacity
The newest versions of the PS4 have 1TB hard drive space, but you’ll soon find this gets full. Every game has to be installed to the console—even those you have on disc—and there are some games, like Red Dead Redemption 2, that need more than 100GB.
To save yourself having to uninstall games, consider increasing your storage capacity. The easiest solution is to plug in an external hard drive, or you can take it a step further by upgrading the PS4’s internal drive.
5. Broadcast to Twitch or YouTube
Streaming has changed video games and the PS4 makes it incredibly easy to broadcast your gameplay to places like Twitch and YouTube. Simply hit the Share button on your controller, select Broadcast Gameplay, choose a service, and follow the setup instructions.
You can also use a PlayStation Camera and microphone for the full streaming experience. The quality is decent and it’s much quicker to get broadcasting than on a PC.
6. Customize the Theme
The quickest way to add flair to your PS4 is by customizing the theme. Go to Settings > Themes to find all the different options at your fingertips. For example, select Default to simply change the menu background color.
Alternatively, select Custom > Select Image to choose your own image, or Find in PlayStation Store to purchase new themes, many of which are animated. Some games will also come with a theme, sometimes as a pre-order bonus.
7. Play Remotely on PC
You don’t have to play PS4 games on the PS4. As odd as that might sound, a service called PlayStation Now lets you stream a wide selection of PS3 and PS4 games to your PC for $99 a year.
The games are streamed, meaning you don’t need to use lots of hard drive space, and your progress will sync between your PC and console. For more information, and to download the PS Now app to your PC, head to Sony’s PS Now on PC page.
8. Use PlayStation Mobile Apps
You’ve got the console, you’ve got it on your PC—go one step further and take your PlayStation experience on the go with the mobile app. There’s a range of apps available for Android and iOS.
The different apps will let you remotely download games to your console, send messages to friends (quicker than using a controller), and post in online communities. More details and links to download can be found via Sony’s PlayStation App page.
9. Listen to Music
Get your jam on by listening to music on your PS4. Download the Spotify app from the PlayStation Store and you will be able to link your account to the console.
Spotify will keep running in the background, meaning you can listen to your favorite tunes while you game. Hold the PlayStation button on your controller to open a menu to control the audio, or use the Spotify app on your phone and select the console as the streaming device.
10. Track Your Trophies
What’s the point of playing all these games if you can’t brag to your friends about how good you are? Handily, trophies—the PlayStation equivalent of Xbox achievements—let you do just that. They are graded by difficulty, with the platinum trophy being the trickiest.
Select Trophies from the main menu to see all the games you’ve earnt trophies for. Delve into each to see how rare a trophy is (how many other players have got the same trophy), see a screenshot captured automatically when you earned it, and compare your list against your friends’ lists.
Get Extra Kit for Your PS4
The tips here should help you get more from your PS4 straight out of the box, but why not go further? There’s lots of accessories out there, like a headset or the PlayStation Camera, that will enhance your experience even more.
For advice on what to buy, check out our gift guide for the ultimate PlayStation 4 fan.