After much deliberation regarding the PlayStation 4 setup and its networking features, here is a straightforward number of problems with the current setup. This encompasses everything regarding the PlayStation 4 — so that includes the system, its peripherals, and anything featured on the PlayStation Network. Anything mentioned will feature an explanation as to why I believe these are problems.
OK, let’s go:
6. The Controller’s Battery Life
(Ah, nuts, it’s gonna need charging soon)
The PS4 controller is impressive in many ways. Looking at everything contained within one package it’s fairly draining (pun intended) — almost overwhelming. Delve into it and you’ll notice a light with multiple colors available with different brightness settings also available. Another feature is multiple rumble motors, providing the essential vibration your hands need for feedback purposes. There’s also a speaker with different volume settings available allowing a different audible source other than your TV/monitor. Finally, there’s naturally that square black touchpad, allowing players a different input method.
Naturally, all of this consumes battery life, and it’s startling just how quickly the battery’s indicator changes from full to flashing (indicating it’s about to run out). Sure, there’s absolutely no question players have control of several options regarding their controller’s battery consumption (vibration toggle, light intensity, speaker volume), but even with all that, the battery life is still rather dismal — around 8 hours.
Simply, what the PlayStation 4 controller requires is a larger battery — perhaps twice the size of the current one; that would essentially mean twice the longevity, allowing around 16 hours, which is roughly one charge every few days on average.
5. The Controller’s Touchpad
The touchpad could be considered something more useful in hindsight than practicality. It feels too small, easily allowing fingers to run off during gameplay, and it’s remarkably easy to accidentally catch it when attempting something entirely different. Typing a message, for example, can be quite troublesome if the touchpad is accidentally caught. Then, you’ve got no choice but to remember how to select the regular method of typing on the controller.
4. The Cost of the Controllers
As detailed in a different section, the PlayStation 4 controller is impressive, but that naturally comes at a cost. Yes, controllers are simply too expensive, even if prices have fallen slightly recently. Currently, controllers are around £40 in the UK — the equivalent of $60 in the US. Certain colors are puzzlingly more expensive, which frankly makes absolutely no sense.
Essentially what controllers need, if the retail cost reflects the components available within the controller, is perhaps some to be optional extras. As detailed in the above section, the touchpad could certainly be removed, as it’s realistically not very useful. That could save £5 – £10 and even reduce power consumption.
3. Internet Needed to View Own Trophies
(Where did they go when offline?)
This is something I recently noticed due to the internet being cut off where I previously lived, and it was a puzzling experience. If it’s possible to run both digital and physical copies of video games offline, why can’t players view their own trophies offline? Because, realistically, not everyone wants to be connected to the internet constantly — sometimes the world desires a break from socializing and big brother. And furthermore, if your owned games are played offline, the trophy information you unlocked will be completely unavailable. This needs to change.
2. PlayStation Plus
(Worth it? As good as Xbox Live Gold?)
PlayStation Plus was Sony’s answer to Xbox Live, and it’s fairly similar — clearly Sony was attempting to attain more of the market share and draw even within that aspect. However, like many previous Xbox 360 users, I bought a PS4 on the premise that paying for online subscriptions was not necessary for this console. How wrong I was. While it could be considered paying £40 a year ($60) is reasonable, it still seems utterly bemusing as to why paying for online subscriptions is necessary at all simply to play video games with friends.
Then there’s the distinct lack of value for money within the available titles the service offers monthly — again copying from Xbox Live’s service with Games with Gold. Many available games aren’t impressive AAA franchises; often they’re simply spin-offs or relatively successful indie games. The cherry-on-the-top of this unfortunate biscuit is the fact the games are only available while members are consistent PS Plus members. So, they want players to continue to subscribe indefinitely, which frankly doesn’t seem worth it.
1. PlayStation Now
(Who thought PlayStation Now was a good idea? Him probably.)
Apparently, because the PS4’s system is completely different than the PS3’s, backward compatibility isn’t feasible — even digital games are apparently unable to function. This has allowed the creation of something completely different in the realm of videos games; a streaming service where games can be rented. There’s a membership required, which is eerily similar to PlayStation Plus, yet significantly more expensive — 3 months will cost around the amount of a year’s subscription to PS Plus.
It’s not particularly difficult to notice the similarities with Netflix with this service, and frankly, it feels like a replica. While it could be seen Sony were smart with this approach because of Netflix’s obvious popularity, this is rather exorbitant. It’s exorbitant precisely because many of the previous generation didn’t own PS3s and therefore cannot lend games from their friends (who did) for this platform — a platform which absolutely should have proper backward compatibility.
With the Xbox One’s recent inclusion of backward compatibility, it’s somewhat surprising Sony hasn’t attempted to rectify the situation with real backward compatibility and inevitably it will hurt them in the future. While that could be considered a tactical move by Microsoft, it’s nonetheless wonderful for Xbox One owners to be able to play all the classics without having to buy them again. That really should be possible for the PS4, but unfortunately all there is an expensive Netflix for PS4.
There we have it. They were six things wrong with the PS4’s current setup.
Can you think of any others, or add anything to the issues I’ve mentioned? You’re very welcome to in the comments!