There’s no denying that when it comes to the PlayStation, Sony’s gotten a lot right over the past couple of decades. We have them to thank for exclusive titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Last of Us. They are a frequent champion of the little guy, consistently publishing and promoting indie titles like Flower and What Remains of Edith Finch. They also brought us the best-selling console of all time, the PlayStation 2, with over 155 million units sold over a 13-year lifespan.
Let’s not overlook their E3 wins. Who can forget how awesome it was when they capitalized on Microsoft’s DRM blunder at E3 2013 by announcing their support for used games and the ability to play them offline? The final nail in the coffin was the release of the hilarious video showing us how easy it is to share games on the PS4—by simply handing it to a friend.
Yes, Sony’s been riding high since its recent gamer-focused E3 conferences; often one-upping the competition when it comes to hardware and new titles. What a great time to be a PlayStation fan, you may think, however, Sony is not immune to blunders. Remove the blinders, and you will see that for every righteous decision, there have been several fails that show their lack of originality, direction, and overall concern for their fanbase. Their successful platform often serves as a means of distracting fans from their constant backpedaling, failed hardware launches, and the quiet removal of features that drew fans to PlayStation in the first place. From one PlayStation fan to another, here are 15 reasons why you should rethink your unabashed loyalty to the platform.
15 Remember Backward Compatibility? Sony Doesn't.
There was a time when backward compatibility was an expectation and not a dream. The PlayStation 2 not only allowed gamers to play many of their favorite PS1-era titles but even let players plug in their old controllers, as well. By the time the PS3 hit the scene, fans had expected and received the same. Well, initially, at least and only for select versions of the console.
Sony essentially killed off the feature for good with the introduction of the slim and, subsequently, the PS4. The hardware was removed to save on costs, which seemed like a legit reason. Until you realize that Nintendo, excluding the Switch, has consistently provided gamers with backward compatibility since the Game Boy Color. Not to mention that there are over 350 Xbox 360 (physical or downloadable) titles that you can play on your Xbox One right now, proving that it is possible to support older titles this console generation.
Of course, you could pay for Sony’s streaming service but. . .
14 PlayStation Now Is A Joke
At $19.99 for a one-month subscription (or $44.99 for three months), Sony’s game streaming service may seem like a great deal. However, being a dedicated fan starts getting pricey if you’re also paying $59.99 a year for PS Plus and regularly buying new titles. Sure, there are about 450 titles available on PlayStation Now, but paying for games that you likely already own, have been rereleased on PS4, or are simply underwhelming (e.g., Alien Spidy or Zack Zero) can make you feel like a fool.
Don’t get me started on the actual streaming. It is plagued with frustrating issues that those with physical copies or downloads won’t experience, such as lag, reductions in resolution, and sound issues. And that’s not all; you have to be connected to the PlayStation Network to play games in PS Now’s catalog, even if you’ve already played them before. For $20 a month, you would think you’d at least get a monthly freebie game. After all, Plus is cheaper and offers you two free monthly downloads. Of course, that’s assuming Sony cares about your financial well being. Spoiler alert: They don’t.
13 They Lack A Clear Identity
Nintendo has Mario, Sega had Sonic, Microsoft has (unofficially) Master Chief, and Sony has—
Um, Polygon Man? That’s right. Before the disembodied purple head became the final boss of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Polygon Man was literally the face of PlayStation. His reign was short-lived, however, as he was canned just before the PS1’s launch.
After that Sony struggled a bit in the mascot department, despite having a fair number of potential candidates. We’ve watched them burn through the likes of Crash Bandicoot, PaRappa the Rapper, Spyro, Ratchet, and even Sackboy.
Such fickle behavior proves that Sony lacks direction and fears commitment. Do you really want to pledge allegiance to a company that’s going to lead you on only to shapeshift and leave you for the newer, younger model? Yeah, didn’t think so.
12 Your UMD Games Are Useless
Don’t you just love playing UMDs on your PS Vita? Sony was right; they are everywhere. When it comes to storing data, they’re the best. What’s that? Oh, that’s right, the Vita doesn’t play UMDs even though Sony forced them on us. I suppose that makes your entire PSP collection pretty worthless. To be fair, they never were that amazing. Despite being the disk of choice for the PSP, they aren't very portable. Also, the discs are easily damaged, which means if you want to travel with several games, you have to keep each one in its original box or purchase a clunky travel case. This is in stark contrast to the durability of DS cartridges, which, like most Nintendo products, could probably survive a fall from a third-story window and a bumpy car ride in your pocket. TL;DR: You got duped. Good luck trying to sell them for a profit—or at all! I hear they make great disposable frisbees.
11 The Brief Life Of The Sixaxis Controller
Here is yet another example of Sony pushing an “innovative” product that fizzled out shortly after its PS3 debut. Naturally, when the DualShock was replaced, gamers expected the next iteration to incorporate and build upon what made it so successful in the first place. What we got instead was a much lighter controller with awkward and imprecise motion controls. Oh, and no vibration feature.
In true Sony fashion, when fans complained, they lied. We were told if the controller vibrated, it would interfere with the precision of the motion controls (which really makes you wonder how much worse it could get). That sounded fine and dandy until the Wii controller appeared in all its glory with expert-level motion controls and—wait for it—the ability to vibrate. Needless to say, Sony quietly retired the Sixaxis and replaced it with the DualShock 3—a controller that could do both.
Though, nowhere near as well as the Wiimote.
10 Their First-Party Titles Are Mediocre
With the exception of a handful of games—The Legend of Dragoon and LocoRoco are particularly noteworthy—most Sony-developed titles are underwhelming at best. I’m talking about barebones games like Legends of Kunoichi or repetitive titles like Knack, both of which generated little excitement upon their release. In fact, despite Knack’s mediocre reviews and uninspired gameplay, it’s actually getting a sequel.
Exclusives such as Persona 5 and Bloodborne—great as they are—while typically associated with PlayStation are not developed in-house. Sony has built its name on third-party titles. It couldn’t survive otherwise. When was the last time you were actually excited for a first-party Sony game? My point exactly. The only thing they’re good for is filling the gap between more exciting releases.
Remember this the next time you take a trip down memory lane with Spyro.
9 Exclusives Slip Through Their Fingers
Back in 2014 at Gamescom, Microsoft announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be an Xbox One exclusive and PlayStation fans collectively lost their minds. The Tomb Raider franchise, though not exclusive to PlayStation, had certainly shown Sony fans a ton of love over the years. Eventually, it was revealed that this was a timed exclusive, but that’s beside the point. Square Enix chose Microsoft over Sony even though the PS4 is the better-selling console.
This is indicative of a growing problem for Team PlayStation, who was once the king of exclusives. Tomb Raider isn’t the only Playstation-centered title that they’ve lost. Beautiful Katamari, the fourth in a series of PS-exclusive titles, was originally supposed to release on both consoles but ended up being an Xbox 360 exclusive. Other titles such Devil May Cry, Spyro, and GTA (never exclusive but definitely associated with PS) are now multiplatform. If Sony didn’t own Naughty Dog and Guerilla Games, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Uncharted would also be at risk.
There was once a time when if you wanted to play the best titles, you had to own a Playstation. Now that just isn’t the case.
8 The PlayStation 3’s Insane $600 Launch Price
Going into the seventh generation, Sony was on top of the world. The PS2 was an undeniable success, making them the rock stars of the gaming world and E3. They thought they were untouchable.
It was time for a reality check.
In 2006, Kaz Hirai, Sony president and CEO, shocked the world when he announced PS3’s $600 launch price at E3. Of course, if you couldn’t afford the 60g model, you could pay $500 for the gutted 20GB version. What a deal!
Not only was the PS3 $200 more than the Xbox 360, but it was also hitting stores a year later. Talk about a marketing nightmare. The price was so outlandish, that many expected a price cut announcement from Sony. It took them a very long time. PS3 sales were slow coming out of the gate, pushing many right into the arms of their competitor.
7 The Giant Enemy Crab
Sony’s outlandish PS3 price reveal wasn’t the only embarrassing thing that happened during their E3 conference that year. In 2006, the entire show ran aground like a ship without a captain. The calm, cool, and collected giant was unraveling at the seams, promoting basic gameplay features such as the ability to change weapons in real time (mindblowing!).
The entire show was an awkward series of mishaps. The worst of which happened during a demonstration of Genji: Days of the Blade. While playing the game, Bill Ritch, one of the game’s producers, bragged about the title’s accuracy, emphasizing that these were “historical battles that actually took place in ancient Japan.” He could barely finish his sentence before a “giant enemy crab” appeared onscreen, immediately disproving his statement and giving birth to a whole new meme. I guess they skipped over this great battle in my world history class.
Who knew Japan’s history was so interesting?
6 Lackluster Remasters
Remasters are a great way to reward fans. There’s no better feeling than playing a game from your childhood on a current generation system, bells and whistles included. When they are done right, they can even give a title new life, introducing it to a whole new generation of gamers.
Before there were patches, gamers had to make do with faulty mechanics. Remasters are a great opportunity to fix those mistakes. However, when you half-ass it, you get games like the Prototype Biohazard Bundle, which has a negative Metascore of 48, or PaRappa the Rapper Remastered, the notoriously broken rhythm game.
Instead of wasting their time churning out mediocre remasters, Sony could pool their resources to bring worthy titles back to life such as their RPG, The Legend of Dragoon or the masterful puzzle game, Intelligent Qube.
Of course, that’s asking for quality over quantity. With Sony, that's easier said than done.
5 Monkey See, Monkey Do—Motion Controls!
While everyone was enamored with the Wii and its gimmicky motion controls, Sony and Microsoft were brainstorming ways to compete with its overwhelming success. Microsoft responded with the Kinect for 360, which made your whole body the controller, while Sony’s answer was the Move for PS3, an obvious Wii knockoff. At least Microsoft’s gimmick was original. Sony basically modified a Wii remote, dyed it black, and slapped their name on it.
What’s worse is that they even copied Nintendo’s software, releasing a myriad of sports, dancing, workout, and party games with little fanfare. For a system that was technically superior to the Wii in every way, it’s disappointing that Sony failed to utilize the Move in a more meaningful way. Instead of creating a more immersive gaming experience, they decided to do the bare minimum required to stay afloat.
4 PlayStation TV—Enough Said
Okay, I guess I have to say more than that. In theory, the PlayStation TV is a very good idea. For only $100, you can play PS Vita, PSP, and PS1 Classic games on your TV. In practice, however, it doesn’t work quite as well as consumers expected.
In a lazy, but unsurprising move, Sony ported over the Vita’s interface instead of designing a new one. In addition, the PlayStation TV cannot access the Vita’s entire library of games. Not like you would actually want to see such low-res titles stretched out to fill a TV screen anyway.
Well, there’s always Remote Play, but unless it's hardwired, you will experience input lag and be forced to contend with gritty images. Unlike the Vita, you can’t even download your favorite streaming services to the system. The Netflix and YouTube apps are incompatible with the device. Even PlayStation Now is on its way out, as Sony just announced they would no longer support the service on PlayStation TV come August 2017.
When a system advertises itself as “a sleek and compact console with a universe of PlayStation games available to stream and download,” you figure that universe must be pretty empty.
3 That Tone-Deaf PSP Billboard
This one is pretty bad. So bad, in fact, that it’s still making its rounds in forums. Allow me to set the scene for you. It’s 2006. You’re driving down a road in Holland when you pass a billboard advertising the new white PSP. It’s provocative but not in a good way.The billboard depicts a white woman in all white forcibly grabbing the mouth of a black woman in all black. The women are supposed to represent the PSP’s different color schemes. However, what American audiences saw was an obvious reference to an oppressive hierarchical system that still causes problems today. It might as well had read, “White is always better and more powerful.”Needless to say, Sony eventually pulled the ad, but unfortunately for them, the Internet never forgets.
2 The Inevitable, Sony-Driven Death Of The PS Vita
Unless you’re in Japan, you’ve probably noticed a lack of support for the PS Vita. It barely gets a mention at E3, as Sony is, of course, focused on its more successful console, the PS4. Remember the highly anticipated Bioshock game for Vita? It never happened because Sony and 2K couldn’t reach an agreement. Instead, we were left with crappy console ports and broken hearts. From its launch, the Vita was already on a path of destruction. With only 1GB of internal memory (in the newest model), you’re forced to purchase a memory card for storage—an insanely expensive proprietary card at that. A 32GB card retailed for a jaw-dropping $99! Meanwhile, good guy Nintendo let consumers purchase any brand for the 3DS, simultaneously saving their fans money and making the Vita even less desirable. It’s a shame that the Vita will never reach its full potential. Outside of Gravity Rush, which has already been remastered for PS4, notable titles are scarce. The lack of first-party support and the upcoming removal of PS Now paints a dark picture of its future despite the protest of fans.
1 The Infamous PSN Hack Of 2011
Hackers gaining access to the PlayStation Network in April 2011 is perhaps Sony’s greatest faux pas to date. Roughly 77 million accounts were compromised. Credit card info, home addresses, birth dates, and emails were accessible to the hackers—and users had no idea.
The PSN was down for a whole week before Sony admitted that personally identifiable information had been stolen. Users felt betrayed, lawsuits were filed, and Sony was working hard to put this PR nightmare behind them. Except this wasn’t an E3 stage, this was real life, and real people were affected. A shiny distraction wouldn’t work this time.
Sony issued several apologies and offered users 30 free days of PS Plus along with two free games—many of which users already owned. An empty gesture, as they are only just now adding two-step verification to the PSN. Proving once again that their users are not a top priority.