Before you almost fall off your chair and lean intently towards the screen thinking–“saale ne kya kaha??” Just want you to know this is an opinion piece and that the PS4 is a good gaming console no doubt, but there are a few areas I felt it needs to pick up its slack.
The PlayStation 4 is the result of careful consumer study and balanced research into what makes a console resonate with its target audience. A spectacle of engineering, PR and excellent game design coming together to take us to the future of gaming. Or it would have been if Sony hadn’t spent literally every second of every press conference blatantly taking the piss out of Microsoft’s X-One.
Running victory laps is fine as a joke, but not when that that joke becomes your entire sales pitch. It stopped being funny the moment we realised that when MS had recovered and launched a fresh offensive at E3 and Gamescom, that Sony pretty much didn’t have an answer for.
Sony, I’m calling you out. While 10 million others have fallen prey to you and your seductive shininess, I stand here and tell you why the PS4 is crap.
1) No big hitters
During the launch period, we got inFamous: Second Son and little else from your 1st party studios. Even on the horizon, I only see LittleBigPlanet 3 (also coming to PS3) and a trailer for Uncharted 4. Where are your money makers Sony? God of War, Gran Turismo, and your cartoony platformers that made you a household name. MS has already struck with a Halo 5 and Crackdown reveal and a new Gears of War is in development. A buttload of new IPs is great and all, but where are the brands that made us fall in love in the first place?
Keeping your heaviest hitters in the freezer too long can ruin their street cred, and by the time you actually defrost them, your console may not even be relevant any more. The only reason we have to pick your games box over the competition is the exclusive franchises you own. Give them to us while we’re still willing to buy them. Or do you want MS to scoop up all our money while you figure out how to make Kratos’ face look even more angry?
2) Where are the features you promised us?
Every 30 days or so, the X-One receives new updates and features, slowly evolving into the home entertainment powerhouse it set out to be. On the other hand, stuff you promised us over a year ago still remains out of our reach. Stuff like pre-downloading games and having others help you in a tricky spot are pipe dreams at this stage. Even stuff that came standard, like the Play Room, have been neutered post launch, and PS Now is just entering beta (with absurd prices I might add).
Being a “pure gaming machine” is excellent marketing speak, but unfortunately most of us want more than shiny graphics from a machine we spent Rs. 40k on. Getting our money’s worth is important and if you don’t provide it, we always have someone else who will.
3) Hardware stagnation
Since launch the PS4 had remained pretty much the same. It’s been almost a year, and apart from a few special models in Japan, the hardware hasn’t changed at all. “But why fix what isn’t broken?” you ask. Because your competition did. Apart from doing a Kinect-ectomy to cut the price, the X-One has unveiled a 1TB model of their flagship console. And as someone who downloads games like there’s no tomorrow, this is a godsend given the ballooning data sizes of the latest games.
A price cut, a new hard drive, some new uses for the PS Camera. You have done precisely none of these since launch and still you expect us to buy your console? I don’t expect a massive hardware overhaul just ten months into gen 8, but the occasional spurt of growth would do wonders to shake off the rust and mould.
4) The online offerings are a joke
While the obvious gripe is charging for (previously free) online play, I’m willing to let that one slide. Server banks aren’t cheap. But what is unforgivable is that the other items worth buying are few and far between. While the PSN store should play host to a cornucopia of discounts and sales a la Steam for PCs, it near constantly overcharges for year old software. Why exactly would I pay full price for a slightly prettier version of a game that was already old when the console came out? And that’s if you find anything worth buying at all.
Sony has a legacy spanning into the 90s and its older classic games are already playable on the PS3. Porting them to our shiny new consoles would cost barely anything, and give us something to play while waiting on the big hitters (see above). But Sony hasn’t done this yet. Probably because they hate money.
So there you have it. Four reasons why the Ps4 desperately needs to step up its game. Tune in next time when we give a similar beating to the X-One.