Checking in with the PS4 launch

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I expected to do an update on the PS4 launch yesterday afternoon, but honestly in a lot of ways it was kind of a non-event once the midnight launch was over. The only real drama we saw in the following hours was that Sony's PSN network was either down or severely congested for much of the day. That was a drag, to be sure, but not really a problem with the hardware (though it did mean the hardware couldn't do a lot of the things it usually does).

My own PS4 didn't arrive from Amazon until yesterday evening, so I haven't had a huge amount of time to play around with it. My 'gut' feeling so far is one of happiness though; even with the PSN problems I'm glad to be a part of the launch.

A lot of sites seem to be looking hard for something to make some news out of. For instance apparently EA posted a message saying the Day 1 patch causes stability problems with the PS4, then they later retracted that post. The tinfoil hats came on, of course, with people whispering about conspiracies between Sony and EA. But of the people I know who bought a PS4 (a dozen or so), none of them have had stability problems with their systems.

I did have one minor issue around the Day 1 patch. When I first turned the machine on it looked like it was downloading the patch for about 20 seconds and then said it was finished. I thought that was mighty fast for a 300+ meg file on my crummy Internet but I forged ahead. The PS4 reported it was "Preparing to install..." the patch and never got past that point.

Eventually I hit the Option button on the controller and that brought up the option to Delete the patch, which I did. Then I went into Settings and then into Update System Software. This time the patch download took about 5 minutes, which seemed more like it, and it installed with no further issues.

I did finally get logged into my PSN account at about 8 o'clock ET, and I set up a link to a Facebook profile for sharing videos, to Twitter for tweeting screenshots, and went through the handshake protocols between the PS4 and my iPad, Nexus 7 and PS Vita (in each case the PS4 throws up a number on the screen and you have to type it into the app on your device).

My main disappointment right now is that I still can't access the Playstation Store on the PS4. I could access it from a tablet, and I picked up my free copy of Resogun and directed it to download on the PS4, which it did. But when I tried to play I was told I didn't have a license to access it. I'm assuming this is because of the apparent breakdown in communications between my PS4 and the Store and that it'll be fixed in short order. But I thought I'd better report it anyway.

Finally I was ready to play a game. I chose Need For Speed Rivals because to me, racing games are what you break a new console in on. The game started pretty quickly but then I was warned I needed a patch. I could start playing and let it patch in the background but I wouldn't have access to online functionality until the patch was installed. I opted to just let it download.

I'm not here to review software, but I had a blast in Rivals. I didn't yet test the streaming but I did save and upload a 12-ish minute video to Facebook. I was able to suspend the game, do some minor edits to the clip (choose a start and end point and trim the video, basically) and then start the upload and go back to playing. Later I jumped on a PC and checked the video and it looked good (technically...my driving not so much). I really wish I could share to someplace other that Facebook though.

And that's really as far as I've got so far. I think the launch has been a success, with the one (big hairy) fly in the ointment being the issues Sony is having keeping the network up. Hopefully that'll be addressed in short order.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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