It seems hard to fathom when Sony was the scrappy newcomer to the console world, foolishly challenging industry titans Nintendo and Sega. Fast forward 25 years, and PlayStation has comfortably led three of the four console generations it has participated in. Sure, it might be too early to officially “call” PlayStation 4's victory in the current race, but its lead of nearly 50+ million units shipped over the currently second-place Xbox One is a gap that is unlikely to be caught. Sony's hubris going into the previous generation led to the company making some early mistakes with the PlayStation 3 that saw a lot of gamers flocking to the Xbox 360, and combined with the surprising success of Nintendo's Wii, Sony found itself in the rare position of being in last place. With that in mind, the company knew it had a lot to prove with the PS4, and in an ironic twist of fate, Microsoft was the one making the early mistakes this time around with the Xbox One and helped the PS4 get a quick lead that it hasn't lost since.
There is a lot to compliment about the PlayStation 4, and there is a reason why it has managed to ship nearly 100 million units during an era when people were ready to write the eulogy for console gaming and so many younger gamers had migrated to the mobile market. But, the PS4 is certainly not without its issues, and it doesn't take an Xbox One fanboy to acknowledge that Sony's current baby isn't quite perfect. Here are 20 Glaring Problems With The PlayStation 4 That Gamers Ignore:
20 Zero Backward Compatibility
Many years ago, when Sony was first ramping up hype for PlayStation 2, the company proclaimed that PlayStation is a “platform” in and of itself and that all future consoles would be compatible with all previous ones – a promise they abandoned the minute they discontinued the PS2-enabled PlayStation 3s. And with the PS4, they didn't even try.
The Xbox One initially didn't offer backward compatibility either, but they've since patched it in and you can play hundreds of Xbox 360 and even original Xbox games on the console, both via disc and digital download. Further, XB1-compatible games you purchased digitally on 360 can be carried over for free on XB1. PS4 offers literally none of this (and doesn't plan to), and when Sony finally shuts down PS3's access to PSN, tons of games will just disappear forever.
19 No 4K Blu-Ray Support
The multimedia, non-gaming features of PlayStation consoles have always been one of their big selling points. Both the PS2's DVD player and the PS3's Blu-Ray player were big reasons why people bought those systems, and in fact, the Blu-Ray player built into the PS3 was long considered one of the best on the market.
With movie/Blu-Ray functionality kind of being Sony's “thing,” it's baffling that the PS4 Pro, which was touted as the PlayStation brand's big push into the world of 4K/UHD, lacks the ability to play Blu-Ray movies in that format. The Xbox One X, on the other hand, can, meaning that Sony has let Microsoft best them in an area that should've been an automatic win for the PS4 team.
18 Hardware Problems Plague The System
To be fair, hardware issues are hardly exclusive to the PlayStation 4, but this is a list about the PS4, so it's valid to bring them up. The PS4 has had a number of hardware issues, from minor, fixable hiccups to problems with no known fixes beyond contacting Sony and hoping they'll replace your system.
Arguably the most widespread issue with the PS4 hardware has been the “Blue Light of Doom,” which usually means a bricked console that will have you praying your PS4 is still under warranty. PS4s are also known to overheat (an issue with Sony consoles going back to the PS1), as indicated by a blinking red light, and while sometimes just giving the system a break can fix the problem, it can also be a malfunctioning fan that will need to be replaced.
17 Shortest Controller Battery Life On The Market
There are things that the DualShock 4 does that no other official console controllers on the market do, such as having a touchpad and a color-changing LED light. There's no denying that it's a remarkable controller, and many have called it Sony's best, as well as one of the best controllers of all time, period.
However, all of that awesomeness comes at a price, and we don't just mean what it costs to bring one home. Because the DualShock 4 has so much going on under its hood, the controller is infamous for not holding a super long charge. By most estimates, a fully-charged PS4 controller will only get you about 7-8 hours of play time, which is far less than the Xbox One controller or any of the Switch's wireless controllers, and a third of the DualShock 3's typical charge.
16 PlayStation's All-Star Developers Aren't Bringing It
At the end of the day, what matters most in terms of a console's success is whether or not it has a strong library of games, especially exclusives. Traditionally, the PlayStation brand has had no problem in that area, having built up a team of in-house talent that helped to deliver some of the best exclusives in PlayStation history.
For some reason, many of those people just don't seem to be bringing their A-game for the PS4. Creative heads like David Jaffe (Twisted Metal, God of War), Mark Cerny (Spyro the Dragon, Jak and Daxter), Fumito Ueda (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus), and Kazunori Yamauchi (Gran Turismo, Omega Boost) haven't been able to replicate their past successes with their PS4 output thus far, delivering what have been considered some of the biggest disappointments on the system.
15 Online Problems
Xbox Live is the gold standard by which all other online console infrastructures are judged, especially in terms of stability and reliability. PlayStation Network was initially given a pass for not measuring up to Xbox Live because it didn't require a monthly fee in order to play games online. With the PS4, a paid PlayStation Plus subscription is now required for online play, and as a result, people have now been justifiably holding the service to a higher standard.
Unfortunately, it hasn't really delivered. Outages on PSN are common, be it from technical difficulties or from the DDoS attacks that seem much more prevalent than they are on Xbox Live. On top of this, the PS4 itself, especially earlier models, has been known to have weak Wi-Fi signals even under otherwise perfect conditions.
14 Faulty Rubber Coverings On Analog Sticks
Few things are more important to the functionality and enjoyment of a gaming console than its controller, which is what literally connects players to the games that they play. Console manufacturers spend untold amounts of time and money making sure that their controllers are as perfect as they can be, as a bad experience with a controller is the surest and quickest way to sour a user's entire experience with a platform.
So, when early models of the PS4 were found to come bundled with controllers that had poorly-made analog stick coverings that would crack and even wear off completely (and without ten years of hard use to get them to that point) it definitely wasn't a good look for Sony. The company did acknowledge the problem and took steps to rectify it, but it never should've happened at all.
13 The System Itself Is Very Loud
Gamers of a certain age will remember sneaking after “bed time” to play video games without our parents knowing, something that would be impossible for kids these days since powering up most modern consoles sounds like an airplane taking off and can be heard from anywhere in the house.
It's hard to fault today's gaming systems for making a lot of noise because they do a lot of things. All of that power and functionality requires a lot of processing muscle to work. That being said, there's no reason why the PS4 Pro has to make the amount of racket that it does. It is the loudest current-gen console by a noticeable degree, which is an especially egregious offense given that the more-powerful Xbox One X isn't nearly as noisy.
12 Games Are Announced Way Too Early
Modern games take a long time to make, which is understandable since they look like movies, take place in worlds the size of real-life cities, and have dozens of hours of content. But the wait for these games is made more bearable by the fact that they typically aren't officially announced until a fair amount of work has already been done and they are within a year or two of their target release dates.
PlayStation 4 games, on the other hand, seem to ignore that approach. AAA PS4 games are regularly announced way too far in advance, sometimes when they are still clearly years and years away from a realistic release date. Final Fantasy VII Remake ring a bell? Four years later after being announced and we still have nothing close to a target launch date.
11 Continued Reluctance To Cross-Platform Play
Cross-platform play has become increasingly common in video gaming, as platform holders realize that there isn't much of a point to restricting online play to a single platform's version of a game. Platform holders other than Sony, that is, who have defiantly kept the PS4 out of cross-platform play with other consoles for the most part.
The reason? To paraphrase Sony's own statement on the subject, the PS4 is already the best place to play, so there's really no reason to bother lowering the platform to co-exist with other consoles. After months of intense backlash, Sony finally broke their rule for Fortnite, but that took a lot of complaining from a lot of people – it doesn't look like it's going to be any more than a rare exception anytime soon.
10 PlayStation Plus Was More Generous Before Focusing On PS4
Once upon a time, PlayStation Plus subscribers would get free games for PS3, PSP, and PS Vita each and every month. Once the PS4 was released, the PSP games were justifiably phased out, but free PS3 and Vita games continued alongside the PS4 offerings.
While that remains true up through the current month, there has been a notable decline in the quality of the free games being offered for all the non-PS4 platforms. It feels like Sony is only still including them out of a sense of obligation with no real thought given to the additions, and since the PS4 doesn't even play PS3 games, the average casual gamer who only has the most current console isn't even getting to utilize the PS3 games anyway.
9 Many Legacy PlayStation Franchises Have Been Abandoned
“PlayStation” used to conjure up images of games as much as systems, as Sony spent the first few generations of its venture into the world of console gaming building up a respectable portfolio of exclusive franchises that came to represent the brand. Much of that seems to have gone out the window with the PS4, with many (if not most) of the classic PlayStation franchises either barely sputtering along on PS4 or absent altogether.
Here we are, nearing the PS4's sixth birthday, and the system hasn't had a new entry for Twisted Metal, Jak and Daxter, Ape Escape, Syphon Filter, Sly Cooper, Jet Moto, SOCOM, or Wild Arms. Further, Ratchet & Clank, PaRappa the Rapper, and MediEvil have only made or been confirmed to be making an appearance in the form of remakes. And we didn't discuss Gran Turismo Sport...
8 It Doesn't Play Music CDs
Speaking of forms of media that are in Sony's wheelhouse, prior to diving into video games, Sony was most-associated with music. Before the iPod, people took music on the go thanks to a little device called the Walkman (and later, the Discman) courtesy of Sony.
It doesn't seem like it would be all that hard to stick a CD player into just about any device that takes discs, but yet we pay hundreds of dollars for one of the incarnations of the PS4 only to find that it lacks a CD player for no particular reason. Sure, fewer and fewer people buy and use CDs, but it's one of those things that doesn't hurt to just include, especially from a company whose CD player in their first console is still looked at as one of the best ever made.
7 The Controller's Touchpad Just Takes Up Space
Making the false assumption that we all loved touchscreen gaming thanks to the rise of smartphones and the massive success of the Nintendo DS, we saw weird attempts to integrate touch screens into non-smartphone gaming by way of the PS Vita's rear touch screen, the Wii U tablet, and the touchpad on the front of the PS4 controller. And just like those other two, the PS4 touchpad was barely ever used in any meaningful way and was soon abandoned altogether.
What's annoying about it in the case of the PS4 is that the now mostly-superfluous touchpad just equates to wasted space on the front of the controller, making the whole thing just a little wider than it needs to be as a result. It also inexplicably can't be used for mouse control on the PS4's web browser.
6 It Took Way Too Long To Allow Changing of PSN Names
If you are a long-time PlayStation fan who was among the first to sign up for PlayStation Network when it launched in 2006, there's a good chance you were a much less mature person than you are now. As such, your username is probably a lot less... civilized than what you would come up with these days. Unfortunately, you're just stuck being a 30-something with the username “kEwLd00d4L1fe” since Sony has never let people change their PSN usernames.
Just recently, Sony announced that it would finally let PSN users change their names sometime in 2019, and even get one freebie before subsequent ones cost money. Still, that's nearly 13 years that people have been stuck with the same username, and it should not have taken until the PS4's home stretch to start allowing changes.
5 Trophies Are Still Playing Catch-Up To Xbox Achievements
Video game companies have been ripping each other off for as long as the medium has existed, and in fact, the very origins of gaming are rooted in several high-profile swindles. People accused the most recent Tomb Raider reboot of ripping off Uncharted, overlooking the fact that Uncharted ripped off Tomb Raider in the first place, and Tomb Raider ripped off Prince of Persia, which in turn, ripped off Tomb Raider when Prince of Persia made the jump to 3D. Confused yet?
We point that out because we're not here to rag on PlayStation's Trophies for ripping off Xbox's Achievements. Instead, we're ragging on PlayStation's Trophies for still feeling like an imitator all these years later rather than doing what the best gaming rip-offs do: improve on the thing they are ripping off.
4 Sony Itself Doesn't Support PS VR Enough
Sony gets a lot of credit for being the first console maker to finally make a VR add-on a thing, as it is something that console manufacturers have been toying with in various capacities all the way back to the early-'90s. PlayStation VR has also proven that it is here to stay and isn't just a fad, and has produced some truly groundbreaking, fully-fledged experiences beyond the mostly tech demo-level products that initially dominated the platform.
And none of that is thanks to Sony. As the company seemingly loves to do, Sony introduced the PS VR and then has mostly relied on third parties to do anything compelling with it. Third-party support is a fickle thing, and Sony needs to make sure it has some of its own VR stuff in the pipeline in case that support suddenly dries up.
3 The PS2 Classics Program Was A Bust
Whenever Sony is asked why the PlayStation 4 doesn't have backward compatibility, it likes to respond with something along the lines of “Because people don't care about playing old games.” Funny, since Sony also turned around and put a bunch of PS2 games onto PlayStation Network to buy and play on PS4, so we're guessing it's the fact that backward compatibility doesn't let them make people re-buy those old games that is the real issue.
All snark aside, the PS2 Classics line on PS4 was initially promising – PS2 games that were optimized to be played in HD and had added trophy support. But it wasn't long before baffling duds showed up to dilute the overall lineup, followed by the flow of new additions slowing to a trickle; only two games were added to the platform for all of 2018.
2 It Is Still Too Expensive
Sony walking on stage that fateful E3 and brazenly announcing the $600 price tag for the then-upcoming PlayStation 3 was a serious dent in people's hype for that system, and the console's sales numbers didn't really ramp up until Sony brought the price down. Still, even that bad experience hasn't stopped Sony from thinking they need to charge a premium for all of their hardware, including the PS4.
These days, you can buy a brand-new Xbox One S with Minecraft and 1TB of memory for well under $250 bucks. The same can't be said for pretty much any version of the PS4. And so it goes that all models of PS4 sell for way too much money for how relatively old the hardware is at this point. Apparently, they couldn't care less about bringing in the gamer on a budget.
1 It Lost The Hardware Revision War To Xbox One
While the first two PlayStation consoles were technically under-powered compared to their competitors, the PS3 and PS4 have both been the most powerful consoles of their respective generations. At least, that's how things were initially during this generation, but Sony has let that advantage slip away.
Sony and Microsoft were initially on pace with each other with their hardware revisions, but Microsoft took the lead with the Xbox One X, which is currently the most powerful console on the market by a measurable amount. The potential side effect to this is that it'll force Sony to get the PS5 out before the XB1's successor, which will only give Microsoft that much more time to make sure the XB2 (or whatever it's called) immediately outperforms PS5 under the hood and makes Sony play catch up for the whole next generation.
What other problems do you notice about the PlayStation 4? Sound off in the comments!