It’s hard to believe we’re ending the sixth year of the current generation’s life cycle and there are already new consoles on the horizon. If the rumors are true, which they most likely are considering how much of a downturn these past few months have been, next year will see the announcements for both the PS5 and Microsoft’s poorly named Xbox One successor. Six years doesn’t seem like quite a lot of time, but it’s important to remember that last generation was longer than usual. This is the typical life cycle for a console generation and it’s about time we moved into the future.
With the prospect of technological advancement on the mind, what better way to celebrate the future than by looking back at the past? Specifically, all the past mistakes Sony and Microsoft made with their consoles. For as active as this generation has been, neither company had done a particularly stellar job all throughout. Where one started strong, the other started weak. Where one is ending weak, the other is ending strong. It’s been a strange six years full of bizarre changes and “evolutions” that’ll more than likely shape the landscape for the next generation of gaming. For better and for worse.
25 PS4: No Backwards Compatibility
Backwards Compatibility has always been, and will always be, a major selling point when it comes to hardware. No one wants to have to get rid of an entire collection of games when jumping into a new gen, and this is something Sony seemed to understand with both the PS2 and PS3, consoles that featured backwards compatibility at launch.
PS2 for PS4 doesn't count.
With the PS4, however, Sony decided to strip away backwards compatibility entirely. Where both the PS2 and PS3 could run PS1 games- and early versions of the PS3 could run PS2- the PS4 is a PS4 exclusive console, barring players from playing their own games. The PS4 even abandoned the highly popular Classics line that had kept so many old games relevant.
24 Xbox One: The UI
The Xbox One’s UI might very well be the single most embarrassing thing to come out of this generation. While the Xbox 360’s UI wasn’t spectacular by any means, it was both clean and organized. Coming into the next gen, though, Microsoft chose to opt for a more… marketer friendly approach.
In favor of a home space dedicated to making the user comfortable, the Xbox One’s UI is a cluttered mess filled with more ads than actual, reasonable content. It’s a bizarre holdover that serves as a reminder to what Microsoft’s priorities were at the start of the generation: pure, unadulterated profit.
23 PS4: PlayStation Now
In response to the alarming lack of backwards compatibility on the PS4, Sony decided to remedy the solution with the inception of PlayStation Now: a streaming service where you can stream PS3 games and play them on your PS4. Think of it like Netflix for games. Except, you know, horrible.
Game streaming will never be viable.
You just cannot stream video games in the same way you can stream movies or television. Not only is technology simply not there yet, it’s just not practical when it comes down to it. Games are so much more interactive that streaming needs to be pitch perfect in order for it to work properly. Naturally, PlayStation Now doesn’t work properly.
22 Xbox One: The Marketplace
In the same way, the Xbox One’s UI is a mess for no real reason other than to appease advertisers looking for prime real estate, the Microsoft Marketplace has suffered the same fate this gen. Hard to navigate, unappealingly ugly, and just a downgrade in every respect, it’s hard to imagine that Microsoft once boasted the best of the online marketplaces last gen. This time around, they’re easily the worst of the bunch, hopelessly bodied by both PSN and Nintendo’s eShop.
21 PS4: PlayStation Vue
On the subject of streaming with Sony, the PS4 actually does have its own proper streaming service: PlayStation Vue. With over 65 different channels, PlayStation Vue is the PS4’s answer to Netflix, Hulu, and the ever handy Roku Box. As was the case with PlayStation Now, Vue is a waste of money that never quite lives up to its rivals.
Why wouldn't you just buy cable at that point?
Unlike Now which had no real competition for years, Vue was basically DOA, failing to live up to the popular streaming services. If you’re using PlayStation Vue, chances are you have an expendable income and just really like having everything handy on your PS4. Which, you know, more power to you.
20 Xbox One: Cortana
When it comes down to it, Cortana is just the next step in Microsoft’s master plan to evolve the human race far enough to control technology with our minds. What began with the Kinect has evolved into Cortana, a feature to control your Xbox One By simply speaking to it. It’s also totally unnecessary.
That’s the thing about Microsoft; while they come out with some genuinely impressive ideas, they’re never practical. The Kinect was cool, but basically had no software to make use of it. Cortana is cool, but is totally worthless because voice control is inarguably more cumbersome than just using a controller.
19 PS4: The Controller’s Light
Speaking of controllers, why in the world does the Dualshock 4 has such an overwhelmingly bright light attached to it? It is completely worthless in terms of practicality and basically throttled the controller’s battery life. The fact you can dim it down, but not turn it off, is a surprising oversight.
Because every controller needs a bright light you can't turn off.
Except it isn’t an oversight at all! Rather, it’s considered a proper feature! The Dualshock 4 was designed with the light in mind. The light is meant to be there, it is meant to serve a purpose from a design perspective. Too bad no developer in their right mind is going to design a game around such a worthless gimmick.
18 Xbox One: The One X Is Still Stupidly Expensive
The Xbox One X is currently the single strongest console on the market, and therefore the strongest console ever created. On one hand, it makes sense that it would be so expensive. After all, it’s basically a luxury version of the Xbox One. On the other hand, it’s been out for years and is a remodel.
In no world should a remodel of a preexisting console cost more than a brand new piece of hardware. The Xbox One X, as is, is considerably more expensive than the Nintendo Switch. It’s a stronger console, of course, but it’s not newer nor does it actually offer new games. There is no reason for it to be so expensive.
17 PS4: The Download Library
On the PS3, it was always easy enough to find your downloads list. Simply go to PSN and reap your rewards. The interface was so simple and user friendly that Sony decided to use it for both the PSP and the PS Vita. Worth noting, the latter of which still used a version of the PS3’s PSN despite featuring a massive remodel.
You should be able to see your download library immediately.
Going into the PS4, the downloads list has been replaced with the download library. While the library itself is a bit more pleasing on an aesthetic level, it’s awkwardly tucked out of the way and something users actively need to look for whereas the downloads list was once in your face. Why does Sony change what they change?
16 Xbox One: The Fact There Are Two Remodels On The Market
What is most perplexing about the Xbox One X is not the fact it is so expensive, it is the fact that it exists alongside another remodel: the Xbox One S. In no world should a console have two remodels of such varying degrees. This isn’t a DS Lite/DSi situation, either, it’s a beast in its own right.
The thing is, the differences between the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X aren’t actually all that impressive. They’re just weaker and stronger versions of themselves respectively. Of the two, the One S is the more affordable and reliable option, but the One X advertises itself so well. Either way, it’s more money in Microsoft’s pocket.
15 PS4: Sony Destroyed Their Universal UI
There’s something comfortable about familiarity. The seventh generation of gaming actually made good use of this concept, Sony in particular. Both the PSP and the PS3 more or less created a visual brand for themselves. Sony a universal UI and one go and we all just assumed they’d keep in intact for future gens.
Technology is tricky, though. If you do too much, you risk alienating fans. If you do too little, you risk criticisms of complacency. More often than not, tech errs on the side of the former. The PS4 throttled its established UI for no reason other than to be different. A step down in every respect, Sony was better off embracing a visual brand that had been working.
14 Xbox One: The Controller Defaults To Batteries
Controllers have come quite a long way. What began as the wired guides to a world immaterial, the advent of technology removed the wire through the use of batteries only for the formula to be perfected with charging controllers. Bizarrely, Microsoft never got the memo that the time’s were a changing and the default Xbox One controller uses batteries.
It made sense for the Wiimote, but not for this.
This is a modern generation controller- arguably the best on the market in terms of usability- using batteries instead of just coming with a charging cable. Sony has pulled some backwards moves in their career, but this is on another level entirely. It’s arguably more cost effective for the Xbox One controller to only need a cable!
13 PS4: Updating The Console Is Tucked Out Of The Way
Updating your PS3 was always simple enough. Hang left, go down, find system update. Since the PS4 mangled the UI, however, it’s actually quite a bit harder to find a dedicated means of updating your console. You need to do some proper sleuthing. It isn’t something you can do as soon as you boot up your console.
It’s not that updating your console is hard, but that it’s just so… out of the way. There is no reason that such an important feature should be hidden out of plain sight. It should be something users can see IMMEDIATELY. As is, the fastest way to update your console is to click your friends list. How does that make any sense at all?
12 Xbox One: Pairing Personal Controllers
The fact you can pair a personal controller to your Xbox One is one of those details that seems cool on paper, but slowly reveals itself to be totally and utterly worthless. Why would you need to personally pair the controller to make it yours? Why wouldn’t you just… personally use it? It’s another bizarre and unnaturally technological step Microsoft is taking with their hardware. It’s a feature nobody asked for that nobody in their right mind would ever ask for, but it exists nonetheless.
11 Neither Console Comes With Enough Space
At the start of the generation, 500GB seemed like quite a lot of space for a console. More than you would ever need, realistically. How foolish we were. How childish and naive. Little did we know that developers would not only make more demanding games, but that the PS4 and Xbox One would need to install extra data.
Next gen consoles better come with 5TB minimum.
As a result, neither console shipped in their base form with enough space to run most games. If you have a launch PS4 or Xbox One, chances are you’re either constantly deleting games or purchased an external hard drive. Even 1TB doesn’t seem like enough. Next gen is bound to be a nightmare when it comes to space.
10 Third Parties Run Much Better On Xbox One
If you’re the kind of gamer who cares less about exclusive and more about just playing the hottest titles available at any given time, there is no reason not to buy an Xbox One over a PS4. When it comes down to it, the two are so similar in specs that they’ll be bound to get the same games barring contractual situations.
That said, while the specs are similar, Microsoft has a serious edge over Sony in so far as performance goes. Third party games run far better on the Xbox One than they do on the PS4, especially when you take into account the Xbox One X which utterly dominates the PS4 Pro in every way imaginable.
9 Xbox One: Next To No Worthwhile Exclusives
On the flipside, if you care about strong first party titles and exclusives, do not get an Xbox One by any means. Microsoft has struggled immensely this generation in the exclusives department whereas Sony has absolutely thrived. From Bloodborne to God of War, Sony has knocked most of their first party titles out of the park. There’s no telling how strong they’ll be next generation with likely even more successful exclusives under their belt. The Xbox One’s successor, though? Eh.
8 PS4: PlayStation Plus Isn’t That Great A Deal
In the sense that PlayStation Plus lets you play games online, it’s a good deal. After all, chances are you’re going to want to take advantage of some multiplayer sooner or later. Other than that? It’s a bit overpriced for a service that was free on the PS3. Worse yet, Sony never made their online any better behind a paywall. It’s the same junk it was last generation just with a monthly and yearly fee. At least you get free games.
7 Xbox One: Game Pass
Microsoft’s Game Pass is just PlayStation Now for Xbox One owners who don’t know any better. It’s the exact same product conceptually, now for your Xbox One. Amazingly, it suffers the same fate as its older counterpart. Video game streaming simply isn’t viable. It’s not just a bad idea, it’s downright horrible. This is not a medium that needs streaming by any means. Video games do not need to follow the path of films or television yet here we are.
6 The Bad Precedent Of Upgrade Models
Although anyone with half a mind will tell you to buy an Xbox One S or X and PS4 Pro over their base models, it’s important to consider what exactly you’re saying by purchasing the upgraded models: this is an okay practice. In purchasing upgraded models of base consoles, you’re telling Sony and Microsoft that this is a legitimate practice.
We can't wait to purchase our PS5 Pro PRO!
Going into the next generation, you’re absolutely better off simply waiting for the upgraded models and avoiding the launch. Sony and Microsoft have made it very clear that they’re perfectly fine with devaluing launch consoles and early adopters if it means making even more money down the line.
5 PS4: How Strong Sony Started
We’ve been far more critical of the PS4 than we have the Xbox One on this list, but there’s a fairly good reason for that: Sony started this gen incredibly strong. Not only did they have some of their strongest exclusives ever right out of the gate, the PS4 seemingly designed itself around countering the Xbox One at every single. The PS4 reveal at E3 even specifically targeted the Xbox One’s specific faults to make a point. Considering how well the PS3 ended, we all just assumed Sony would coast by as the gen’s champion.
4 Xbox One: How Weak Microsoft Started
On that note, it’s arguably more baffling just how poorly Microsoft came running out the gate this generation. Not only did they try to pitch the complete dissolution of used games as a plus, Microsoft tried pushing the Xbox One as an “always online” console, basically turning the 360’s successor into a worse PC.
Never has a console launch been built on such a weak foundation.
Microsoft’s initial pitch for the Xbox One was so tone deaf that it’s still considered to be one of the worst E3 presentations of all time right up there with the PS3’s reveal. Where the PS3 was able to recover and become the king of its gen, however, Microsoft shot itself in the foot and was never able to bounce back in the eyes of the public.
3 Both Consoles Care More About Being Multimedia Devices
While we all love watching movies and TV shows on our PS4s and Xbox Ones, we do need to recognize that Sony and Microsoft have taken a bad step forward in regards to how they’re presenting their hardware. At the end of the day, the PS4 and Xbox One are ending their cycles as multimedia devices, not game consoles. They obviously have had consistent game support since day 1, but each year pushes them closer to becoming an all-purpose piece of hardware. Going into the next gen, console pitches will be based off that concept and not the sole pursuit of good games.
2 PS4: How Weak Sony Is Ending
Despite a strong start, Sony’s dropped the ball in pretty much every regard other than first party software. A bad UI change nobody asked for; PS4 Pro models that overheat and melt; an explicit lack of desire to offer crossplay despite both Nintendo and Microsoft embracing it; and a general ego that will make the PS5 surely suffer next generation.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Sony has let something like this happen. The PS2 similarly suffered such a fate. After such a strong generation, Sony grew an ego and ended the generation with the reveal of the PS3, a console that started its life horrendously. Perhaps this means the PS5 will usher in a new age of Sony redemption...
1 Xbox One: How Strong Microsoft Is Ending
More perplexing than anything, though, is just how strong Microsoft is ending this generation. Even though the general populace has more or less put them out of view, Microsoft has fixed their E3 game, supported multiple indie studios, created a means of backwards compatibility, and has offered free games that you get to keep forever through their online service.
Sadly, the damage of the Xbox One’s very first E3 was too much to overcome. In a way, though, that’s a good thing. Where Sony has developed an ego, Microsoft has developed humility. Neither console will go down as the best of either company, but the Xbox One will surely be remembered more fondly than the PS4.