I recently got a PS4. The world of console gaming has changed quite a bit, so I figured it was about time I started catching up…at least for a while. I’m sure I’ll soon be behind the times again and this brand-new console will be considered “old”, but until then, I’m going to enjoy it!
One of the big changes with today’s consoles is digital versions of games. Every game can now be purchased as digital, which means you no longer need a CD or–God forbid–a cartridge–to play a game. When you purchase a digital game, you simply download and install it directly on your console’s hard drive, and can play it whenever you want. This also means you can install it on multiple consoles, and as long as you’re a user on that console, you can play it there.
Today’s games can sometimes be ENORMOUS, however, so the digital versions can consume a lot of hard drive real estate quickly. Even most disc-based versions of today’s games require installing to the hard drive anyway though, due to the speed advantage it provides when loading and playing the games, so there isn’t even much benefit gained by having a disc-based game over a digital version. If fact, these days I find it much less convenient to have to insert a disc to play a particular game rather than just choosing it from a menu to play–just like today’s digital movies. I haven’t played a physical DVD or Blu-Ray disc in AGES, it seems like! But that convenience doesn’t come without a price: SPACE…the final frontier… Having all digital games will quickly consume all of the hard drive space you have on your console, requiring you to either upgrade to a larger-capacity hard drive or you’ll have to remove older games you aren’t currently playing to make room for the new ones you want to play.
Luckily, right now hard drive prices are ridiculously cheap compared to what they were in the past and the amount of space they provide. It would cost me less than $100 right now to double the size of my PS4’s hard drive, and eventually I’ll probably do that. Right now I’m at about 50% full on my 1TB drive.
Sony also makes the process as painless as possible, only requiring the removal of one screw to pull the hard drive out and replace it. Re-installing all of your data and games is another story. You can’t simply copy your installed games from your old hard drive, even if you install it in a drive enclosure and connect it to your PS4 via USB. Sony doesn’t allow this. Only your game save data and settings can be backed up and restored from USB media. All of your games and addons have to be re-installed from the Playstation Store…or they can be transferred over your network from another PS4 system. The latter is the easiest option, if you have another PS4 on your network. The data and game transfer is blazingly fast–much much more so than re-downloading everything from the Playstation store–so if this is an option for you, it’s definitely recommended over the re-downloading option. Remember when using this option, however, that anything that you haven’t purchased yourself–like any games or addons that were purchased by another user–will appear as “locked” on your PS4. You will have to either purchase that content for yourself in order to use it, or that user can still use that game or addon when they are using your PS4. You’re also free to uninstall or delete any locked content on your PS4 at any time as well.
There is one odd way that two PS4 users can share purchased content, but it only works with exactly two people–and you better trust that person very much too, because you’d be opening up your entire account access to them. You just have to activate the OTHER PS4 (the one the other person uses) as your PRIMARY PS4, and activate YOUR PS4 as the other user’s primary PS4. Then you just use your account on your PS4, like normal, and since it’s his primary PS4, his purchased content is playable by all users on your console and you can play your own purchased content on it as well. And because his PS4 is set as YOUR primary PS4, he can play his content on his PS4 as well as yours. It works great. But like I said, just make sure you trust the other user completely, because they have full access to your account and content!