Got (or giving) a PS4 for Christmas? Here’s all you need to know.

If you’re here, it’s likely because you’ve been gifted (or you’re gifting) a PS4, PS4 Pro or PlayStation VR for Christmas. First off, congratulations! Second, we’re here to help you get the most from your new pressie.

(And a reminder to those giving the console as a gift: it’s not a bad idea to open the console and set it up before hand, installing all updates prior to repackaging it, wrapping it and putting it under the tree!)

The console

Technically, there are three types of PlayStation 4 consoles available: the original PS4, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro.

The original PS4 and the PS4 Slim are essentially the same, though (as you’ve probably guessed), the PS4 Slim comes in a smaller form factor. Both consoles are capable of HDR, though your TV needs to support the feature.

The PS4 Pro (shown at right at the top of this post) is the newest iteration of Sony’s console, with both HDR and 4K upscaling (again, your TV needs to support that). It’s more powerful than the base model, and it has a third layer of PlayStation-ness to show that off physically. If you’ve upgraded to a PS4 Pro from its base model, it’s quite easy to transfer content between the consoles.

There are a couple issues with the PS4 Pro, but thankfully, there are also fixes:

The Pro also comes with an enhanced controller (below), offering up a lightbar at the front of the DualShock 4 rather than just at the back. It’s a neat little addition.

The lightbar(s) work with the PlayStation Camera for some games, and in others use the bar’s colouring to show in-game health and other functions.

If you’re in the market for beefier controllers, Sony’s teamed up with a bunch of third-party manufacturers to scratch that itch. Fair warning, though — we didn’t like the Nacon Pro controller.

Interface and console-specific features

The current PS4 UI runs across the PS4 and PS4 Pro, and is largely unchanged since its 2013 launch. You can now group items into folders, which is quite useful.

To get the most of your console, you’ll need to connect it to internet and sign-up for a PlayStation Network account. Doing so will give you access to the PlayStation Store (and its games and apps) and other goodies like Trophies. You can upgrade to a PlayStation Plus account to gain access to multiplayer play, free games each month and cloud-based saves.

Popular apps include Netflix, Stan and many more. You can also stream television and movies from Sony’s in-built service.

PlayStation VR

The PS4 is the only game console that supports virtual reality play. If you want in, you’ll need to purchase a PS VR unit and connect it up to your PS4 or PS4 Pro.

A PlayStation Camera is required, and two PlayStation Move controllers are recommended to get the full experience. You can also use the PlayStation Camera to control your console via voice commands or as a motion controller for myriad titles.


The PS4 plays PS4 discs and digital games, while some games feature enhanced visuals with the PS4 Pro. Many titles are also cross-buy compatible, meaning they’ll work across PS3, PS4 and the portable PlayStation Vita.

Sony’s PlayStation Plus program also provides free titles each month. This month offers the spectacular Titanfall 2.

Additionally, here are links to the biggest PS4 exclusive titles of 2018 and 2019:

Enjoy your new hardware!

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning we could earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. Stevivor is an independent outlet and our journalism is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.