The Playstation 4 was one of the biggest console releases towards the end of 2013. Sold out months in advance via pre-orders, the Playstation 4 came with a huge amount of positivity, heralding new features.
However the amount of functionality removed from PS3 into PS4 is actually quite staggering and represents, at least for me, a massive step back in Sony’s culture of being a one box home entertainment system.
I can’t be the only one who has picked up the PS4 and marvelled at how light it is, but also at how flimsy the plastic actually feels. True the console actually looks quite nice and is far lighter than the bag of weights that was the original PS3 but I genuinely do fear dropping this machine as it doesn’t feel like the parts or construction would withstand much. The PS3 on the other hand I have had since November 2006. It has taken multiple beatings and remains entirely unphased.
Controller Light Won’t Turn Off
It doesn’t and won’t ever. Those of you who play in a dark room have likely been irked by the fluorescent glow of the controllers large LED light. It is the new way of representing that a controller is connected and has power, alas the PS3 method still seems more logical. Fear not though, Sony have confirmed it doesn’t use any more power than the old method to power that light. It really is just an annoying light in particular scenarios. This might not be a bug bear for you, but for many, it is rather annoying.
Controller Battery Life
The PS3 controller was a war hero. Battered and bruised and almost eight years old, you could play for hours and hours and the battery just looked back at you with that knowing glance of “I’ve got your back”. The same can’t be said of the PS4 which in the case of prolonged gameplay has become something which is swapped out for another charged controller. Battery life in the controller is actually woeful and Sony should really take a look at this as for €60-€70, they could definitely pack in a few more mAh.
USB Sticks cannot fit into USB ports…
Right I know how ridiculous that sounds, but most fat bodied USB keys actually won’t fit into the PS4’s USB slot. What would you be putting the USB into your PS4 for? Read on…
USB media is no longer picked up
So if you stick a USB into a PS3, it smiles gently back at you, lets you navigate your content and display galleries of photos, or watch movies on the drive. Truly a modern way of viewing media through something already connected to your main TV.
In PS4 land, this functionality was dispensed with. The PS4 does not support media playback at all from external media. This just baffles me entirely as it was one of the fantastic features on the PS3.
But what about LAN media streaming
That’s gone too. The PS4 does not support client functionality for media servers in order to stream videos or movies from a home PC or media drive on your WiFi network. Ouch.
Can I still listen to background music?
Sure but get your wallet out as you can only listen with a subscription to Music Unlimited. Thinking of putting an audio disc into your PS4, don’t bother, it won’t play.
I can still play my mates online thought, right?
Nope, PS4 is like the Xbox now in internet model. Xbox Live meet Playstation+. If you want to play your games on the interweb and challenge the best in the world or just play your mate in a far away land (or even just down the street), you need to subscribe to PS+. I have been playing online now on PS4 for almost 3 months now and I have notice no improved experience compared with the PS3.
The cost of subscribing to PS+ is $49.99 and as with almost all corporations who don’t understand exchange rates, in Europe that’s €49.99.
Ah the elephant in the room. Well yes you probably have already heard this but PS1,PS2 and PS3 games are now worthless, trade them in or give them away when you sell your PS3 because they will not work on your lovely expensive new console. Sony have promised a store from which you can pay for and download PS3 games which have been refactored to work for PS4, but that day is not today.
One of the better new functionalities on the PS4 is the ability to plug in earphones to your PS4 controller and play away without annoying anyone else, or them having to talk over your gameplay. It’s a slick functionality except it doesn’t allow control of the audio from the headset. You need to open up separate menu’s to adjust the in-line volume controls. It’s only a mild inconveniece, but inconvenient all the same when you keep the audio low in your ear only to appear at a segment with in-game dialogue and miss it while you attempt to increase the volume.
Customisation and Personalisation
The PS3 let people be themselves. Customise and sculpt their experience with colours and backgrounds and characters. On the PS4, uniqueness is forbidden as Sony march forward with a bland dashboard devoid of life and fun and that something personal. You can’t even organise the icons and info provided on screen into an order or setup you find more intuitive.
Games at launch
The number of games and options at launch was pretty pathetic. Call Of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield stood out, while FIFA 14 and NBA 14 gave sports fans an option. Killzone was OK but nothing amazing and for those of us who like a massively multiplayer game, there was nothing really. COD:Ghosts pushed back its 4 player option from Black Ops down to 2. Resulting in a less interesting gaming experience from the previous game. While FIFA and NBA could handle more players, not everyone is into the sports. PES 2014 couldn’t figure out the PS4 in time to launch and from the word around, might not even appear on PS4 during this iteration. NFL 2014 is a good game, but again sticks to the 1 or 2 player mould.
It’s February now and they are still the only games available. It’s not really how you should launch a console.
Some day the PS4 will have provided update after update and fix more of these errors. Some they just can’t because of design, others they downright state they won’t (controller light for example). Overall the PS4 is a step back in quality from the PS3, even though it’s a massive step forward graphically and power wise.
The thing is though, we expect a new console to come fitted with bags of power. It’s the little things that make the experience priceless.