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Beginners Guide To Playstation

playstation symbol

The PlayStation 4 is still a fantastic gaming machine, whether it’s your first console or you’re a gaming veteran. Here we’ll walk you through a brief history of the PlayStation brand and its manufacturer Sony. We’ll also help you decide which version of the PS4 is for you, what exclusive games are available for the console, how to use its interface and more.

The History Of Sony & Playstation

The company we now call Sony started out as TTK (Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K.) just as the Second World War was coming to an end. Their first office was in the third floor of a department store that still had visible bomb damage. Their first products were Japan’s first ever tape recorder and a rice cooker that never worked!

From these humble beginnings Sony grew and grew. Over the decades they turned to making cassette and CD players, televisions, cameras and video equipment. By the early 90s, Sony had established themselves in the Music & Film production industries. This already cemented their place as a powerhouse in the entertainment industry.

In one of the great big “What Ifs?” of videogaming history, Sony did not originally intend to enter the videogame market directly. They were approached by Nintendo to produce a CD drive for the SNES. When the deal fell through Sony took their work and continued to develop a console prototype on their own. This console was the Playstation and would go on to dominate the fifth-generation console war. Their success continued with the PS2, which went on to become the best-selling videogame console of all time. The PS3 and now the PS4 have enjoyed similar levels of success.

In the mid-2000s and early 2010s, Sony produced two handheld consoles: the PSP and the PS Vita. Consumers and critics both praised the technology and library of games available, although these handhelds were vastly outsold by their Nintendo counterparts.

The PlayStation legacy consists of five home game consoles, two handheld consoles and one Media Centre.

PSOne - 1994

PS2 – 2000

PSX - 2003

PSP - 2004

PS3 - 2006

PS Vita - 2011

PS4 - 2013

PS5 – 2020

Exclusive Games

Some of the most popular PlayStation exclusives include:

Uncharted 4 – Action Adventure

Ratchet & Clank – Acton Platformer

Bloodborne – Action RPG

The Last of Us & The Last of Us Part II – Action Adventure

Dreams – Creative/Social

Until Dawn – Interactive Narrative

Horizon: Zero Dawn & Horizon: Forbidden West- Action Adventure

Shadow of the Colossus – Action-Adventure

Ghost of Tsushima – Action Adventure

The Last Guardian – Action Adventure

Final Fantasy VII Remake – Action RPG

Marvel’s Spiderman – Action Adventure

Death Stranding – Action Adventure

God of War – Action Adventure

When it comes to the PlayStation’s line-up of first party developers and exclusives, they are simply top notch. PlayStation arguably has the most diverse line-up of exclusives. It has developers from all around the world and games of every genre available. If there’s a common theme amongst Sony’s exclusives, it’s the focus on deeper narratives and characters. God of War 2018, Final Fantasy VII Remake, the Uncharted and Last of Us series are just a few examples of this. Even if you want to get straight into playing or creating, games like Ratchet & Clank, Marvel’s Spiderman and Dreams offer you exactly that.

PS4 Models

There are two choices for buying a brand new PS4; the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro. Both models support the exact same library of games. There aren’t any games you won’t be able to play on the PS4 slim that you can on the PS4 Pro and vice versa.

A few points to consider when deciding which console to buy:

PS4 Slim

  • The cheaper option.
  • Plays games and streams content in resolutions up to 1080p. Some games may have lower framerates than their PS4 Pro counterparts.
  • Smaller, lighter, quieter and consumes less power than the PS4 Pro.
  • Only has 2 USB ports.
  • 500GB of storage.

PS4 Pro

  • Can play games and stream content in resolutions as high as 4K - or 2160P, to give it the more technical term.
  • Needs a 4K TV to get the best out of it, though even older TVs will enjoy improved textures, framerates and performance.
  • Much better experience playing Playstation VR.
  • Many games have enhanced graphics for the PS4 Pro. More recent games will have much more noticeable differences between the Slim and Pro.
  • 3 USB Ports.
  • Extra 1GB of RAM for non-gaming functionality, making this the premier choice to watch streaming content.
  • 1TB of storage.

What You're Getting

Whether you buy the PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro, when you buy a PlayStation 4 the package will include:

  • The PlayStation 4 Console
  • Dualshock4 Wireless Controller
  • A Power Cable
  • A HDMI Cable
  • USB Charging Cable
  • Mono Headset with Speaker
  • User manuals & Documentation
  • This is included with EVERY PS4, of course you can get yourself a great deal on bundles that include extra accessories and games.

Setting Up The PS4

Firstly, the physical stuff.

Your PS4 will need to be plugged into a power source via the cable and connected to your TV or monitor of choice via the HDMI cable.

The controller will need to be plugged into the console via the USB cable so it can pair with the PS4.

The setup process in the PS4 software itself is fairly simple and the console guides you through it without a fuss. This setup process has you set the language for the PS4, connect and test your wi-fi connection, set the console date & time. After you do this, you may need to download and install the latest system software update.

playstation interface

Using The PS4

Now that your PS4 is up to date, you will be navigating it through the PDM (Playstation Dynamic Menu). This interface is designed for ease of use regardless of how good with technology you are. It’s very intuitive and navigating it should be a breeze.

The main menu takes up the most screen space by default. It consists of the various games and apps your PS4 has currently available. Press the left & right directional buttons or tilt the analog stick in the direction to move through it. Options every PS4 will have include:

  • PlayStation Store: Here you can buy and download extra games, content for your existing games, movies, apps and so on.
  • What’s New: This feed keeps you updated on your friends activity, PlayStation Store deals and any new content available for your games.
  • TV & Video: Here you can find apps for all the most popular video and streaming services such as YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, Prime Video and more.
  • Internet Browser: A simple browser that lets you explore the internet.
  • Capture Gallery: This keeps all the screenshots and videos you’ve recorded on your PS4.
  • Library: This keeps a collection of all the games and apps you have brought and downloaded. If you delete anything, you can re-download it here.

Moving up with the D-pad or analog stick will take you to the upper menu. This consists of stuff relating to your PlayStation Account, socials and system settings.

  • PlayStation Plus: Manage your membership, download games from your available catalogues. Also browse through exclusive deals available to members.
  • Notifications: this keeps you updated on everything happening with your PS4 and Socials. This includes when games have finished downloading, installing and updating to friend requests. This also keeps you notified of when your PsPlus membership is running out or has been renewed.
  • Friends: See a list of all your friends, who’s online and what they’re playing. You can message them from here or even join in on their game session.
  • Events: Here you can look at upcoming events for the games you’ve played, such as tournaments. You can create your own events to organize gaming sessions and invite others to them.
  • Messages: Send and view messages from your friends.
  • Party: Join and create parties with friends and voicechat while you play games.
  • Profile: View and edit your own profile and set your online status.
  • Trophies: View the trophies you have earned for completing various activities in games. You can also compare trophies with your friends.
  • Settings: Adjust various settings for your console and your account.
  • Power: Turn the PS4 off, put it on rest mode or switch users.

Moving down with the D-Pad or analog stick will open up more options for the specific game or app you currently have selected. This includes:

  • Overview: This shows you how many trophies you’ve earned from the game, including your most recent trophy and rarest trophy.
  • Trending: Browse livestreams of the game and view content other people have created from the game on PS4.
  • Friends: See which of your friends also play this game.
  • PlayStation Store: See what extra content is available for the game.
playstation games (1)

Playing Games

Playing a game or using an app is as simple as going over to it on the PDM and pressing the X button to play it. You can have one game on-hold in the background while you put the PS4 in rest mode or use other apps such as YouTube.

Parental Controls

The PS4’s Parental Controls can be found in its Settings. There go to Parental Controls/Family Management.

Here you can manage the settings for the console’s internet browser and what content it allows. You can also manage the individual user profiles on the PS4, determining what games they can play and what content they can by age categories.

Online Services & Features

With Sony’s online service, the PSN (PlayStation Network) you can get a lot more out of your PS4. You can save your game progress to the cloud, access the PlayStation Store, play online multiplayer and co-op games, and a lot more.

To use the online features of the PS4 you will need to create a PSN account. To do this head over to the “Profile” section of the upper menu. Select this and then “Sign in to PlayStation Network” and then follow the steps to create an account. You will need an email to do this.

There’s a lot you can do with a basic membership, but if you want more out of the service there’s PlayStation Plus. This comes in three tiers, each offering its own benefits.

PlayStation Plus Essentials

As part of this subscription, you get access to new games each month for PS4 and PS5. As long as you add these games to your library, they will always be available while ever you have a PlayStation Plus membership.

In addition, you will have access to exclusive discounts, cloud storage and online multiplayer for a variety of games.

PlayStation Plus Extra

With this membership, you get all the benefits of the previous tier whilst also having access to a library over 400 PS4 and PS5 games you can download at any time for no additional cost.

PlayStation Plus Premium

Same as the two previous tiers, but you can also stream and download from a catalogue of over 300 PSOne, PS2, PSP and PS3 games. Many of these games will have improved functionality with save states, the ability to rewind gameplay, improved resolutions and improved frame rates.

Lastly, you’ll be able to trial new game releases for up to two hours before deciding to buy – and continue playing from where you left off if you do buy.

With any of these memberships, you can cancel and renew them at any time.


For those who want to get the most out of their gaming experience, there are lots of accessories to enhance your fun. There’s extra controllers with flashier designs than the default. You can also get specialized controllers such as steering wheels for racing games, joysticks for fighting games, flight sticks for flight simulators.

If you do a lot of online gaming, a headset with speaker can be essential for co-ordinating the actions of the squad… or just having a laugh with your mates.

If the charging cable Sony provides with the PS4 isn’t enough for you, extra charging cables and charging stations can be bought.

Of course, these are only a few examples. There’s lots of accessories out there to cover any need you could have not covered by the console itself.


The PS4 is still an incredible piece of technology with so much it can do and so much to offer. We’ve only scratched the surface of its capabilities, but with this knowledge you should find the intuitive design of the console a breeze.

If you also want to learn about the Xbox or Nintendo Switch, keep checking back as we’ll have guides on those soon.