As we all know, PlayStation is one of the A-listers of the gaming world. In celebrity terms, we’re talking… somewhere around Kanye West or Elton John. Since that fateful moment when the Nintendo/Sony deal fell through and Sony decided to drop a console of their own, the course of history was changed forever. 25 Things That Make No Sense About PlayStation 4.
I’ve always been a PlayStation fan. Throughout the generations, I’ve owned every current-gen system so I don’t miss out on anything, but the PS1 was the first home console I ever owned. You never forget your first, friends, you definitely don’t.
PS2 was an incredible success, ranking as the best-selling console of all time (155 million units sold, with Nintendo DS coming in second at 154.02 million). PS3 had a pretty darn magnificent catalog by the end, even if it didn’t quite live up to the performance of its predecessor.
In November 2013, we were introduced to the latest member of the family, the PS4. The system is currently winning this generation, in terms of raw sales (Xbox One had a PR nightmare around the time of its launch, which did not do it any favors), but it certainly hasn’t had it easy.
It’s been a darn bumpy ride at times. From questionable decisions about E3 2019, to tentative steps with VR and Snoop Dogg having a copy of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy flown across the country to him by a Spyro-drone, there are a lot of things that just don’t make sense about the PS4. Let’s jump on board and take a look at some.
25 The Backward Compatibility Situation Is Weak
Now, granted, this probably wasn’t much of a surprise to anybody. It’s a sad fact that, as new consoles are released and new models of them follow, backward compatibility tends to take a back seat.
This rankles a little more with me than it does with other systems, though.
This is because, not only do older PlayStation games not work with the system, downloadable versions of them aren’t available on PSN, either.
Heck, the PlayStation Vita has access to generous range of PS1 and PSP titles, while the PS4 store only offers a select few PS2 titles for download. It’s a shame.
24 The Vita Should’ve Been A Companion
Speaking of the poor, ill-fated PS Vita, wasn’t that a travesty? Sure, its claim to offer home console-quality gaming on the go was a little ambitious for its time (Nintendo Switch is just managing to achieve that now, and that’s with technical concessions), but it still had a whole lot of potential. It was first released in Japan back in 2011, and was a darn portable powerhouse at the time.
All it needed was a little appreciation. Some support. A meaningful way of connecting with its super-successful daddy, the PS4. Maybe that would’ve been gimmicky, but it would’ve helped.
Darn it, Sony, what did you do to this poor little system?
23 The Light (Not So) Fantastic
Another thing about the Dual Shock 4 that confused me to no end was the light bar.
Once I had gotten over the "SAVE THE LAST HUMANS!" incident, I made my peace with the speaker in the controller. It was an odd idea, true enough, but it had some neat functions. The light bar, on the other hand, was just baffling to me.
That is to say, the positioning of it was. Earlier models of the Dual Shock 4 display the bar only from underneath. How in heckola are you supposed to see it? Fortunately, newer versions have a thin bar atop the controller too, so you can see which colour it’s glowing while it’s in use.
22 Hey, Remember That Final Fantasy VII Remake?
Ah, yes. Do you remember that fateful E3 presentation, where the Final Fantasy VII remake was revealed? Fans had been clamoring for this for years, and the reception that met the news was… well, an explosion of noise that would have knocked you off your feet from five blocks away.
Sadly, this was back in 2015. While we’ve seen trailers and teasers and the like, we’re not very much further along than we were back then. All we have are occasion updates and apologies about the game’s troubled development.
This one’s going to be huge, there’s no doubt about that, but as to when? That’s anybody’s guess.
21 Fortnite-ing With Friends
Needless to say, Fortnite continues its unerring march towards world domination. In the process, it’s become available for just about every system out there, which naturally includes the PlayStation 4. Sadly, though, Sony’s system hasn’t had the best relationship with the game and its fanbase.
Why? Because they were so resistant to cross-play, that’s why. Their insistence that PS4 was the best place to play the game led to their refusal to allow play with other platforms, until the outcry became such that they felt force to relent.
I don’t quite know how all of this clam about, but clearly it was nobody’s finest hour.
20 PS4 Pro: All That Horsepower And No Room To Gallop
Hardware upgrades are as popular in this industry as they are in any other. Take Nintendo’s handhelds, for instance. We started with just the 3DS, and suddenly there’s the 3DS XL, the 2DS, the New Nintendo 3DS…
In the case of dramatic changes to the hardware, you’ve got to be sure that they’re supported. How many New Nintendo 3DS exclusive games are there? Not darn many.
PS4 Pro is in a similar situation. If you already own a regular model, it’s an expensive upgrade, and doesn’t make a dramatic difference in a lot of situations. Microsoft and their Xbox One S have fared a little better, in terms of getting developers on board.
19 Touchpad Troubles
Back when the PS Vita was first revealed, there was one feature that seemed to attract the snark of gamers: that awkward touchpad. The system has a regular touchscreen (and a rather fancy OLED one at that, with original models), but it also has a touch-sensitive pad on the reverse side.
Similarly, the Dual Shock 4’s design is dominated by a rather strange feature: the touchpad. Replacing the familiar Start and Select buttons was a controversial choice from the get-go, but it seems that developers have largely been unsure how to best utilize the pad.
It’s quite a niche one, and to have it so dominant on the controller’s face…
18 PlayStation Now: Right *Now*
We’re becoming increasingly reliant on subscription services for our entertainment, aren’t we? Netflix and similar show-streamers demand a subscription, even Nintendo have hoped on the online subscription bandwagon… everybody’s at it.
As I say, backward compatibility is a thorny issue with the PS4, because they do offer a range of PS3 and PS4 titles. They just want another subscription from us, this time for PlayStation Now. This is particularly galling when you actually own the game in question on disk, but must pay again for the privilege of streaming it. Not to mention the connection issues that you really don’t want to pop up mid-game and ruin your progress.
17 Where’s Bloodborne 2?
If you’ve been a PlayStation 4 owner since the system’s release, you’ll remember that… well, big-ticket exclusives were super thin on the ground at the system’s release. This year, we’ve been spoiled by big names, but we weren’t so lucky back then.
The first exclusive title that really took off was Bloodborne, which hit in March 2015. Three and a half years later, vague hints in easter eggs of another FromSoftware title seem to point at a possible sequel, but there’s still nothing concrete.
It’s such a shame, particularly when you consider what a huge deal a potential Bloodborne 2 is sure to be.
16 So, Where Are We With PlayStation VR?
VR gaming is still a bit of an enigma, isn’t it?
It’s always tough to gauge how these new innovations are going to work out. The touchscreens of Nintendo DS, for instance, were a real oddity back when that system launched, and now where would we be without touchscreens? Wii-style motion controls don’t seem to be going anywhere either.
The jury’s still out on the case of VR gaming, though. The expense of systems like PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift is quite prohibitive, and we haven’t entirely passed the tech-demos-as-games stage of VR software. We’ll just have to see how things pan out.
15 Why Isn’t Dino Frontier Great?
VR gaming may not have been a meteoric success story, but it certainly has some potential. In August this year, Sony celebrated the sale of three million PS VR systems. If you’ve tried Resident Evil 7 VR, you’ll have seen how the device can bolster your gaming experience when used effectively. You’ll want to play that one with some spare underpants close to hand, let me tell you.
What went so wrong with Dino Frontier, though? A strategy title where you build and manage a settlement, in a strange reality where the Wild West and dinosaurs collide? That one had darn winning VR idea written all over it, but bugs, performance troubles and over-simplistic gameplay held it back.
14 Why’s My PS4 Watching Me?
As a wise man once said, "I always feel like somebody’s watching me, and I have no privacy, woah woah woah." Come to think of it, that was actually Rockwell, in his hit 1984 single Somebody’s Watching Me. So, really, it depends how far you want to stretch the meaning of the word wise.
Never mind all of that, though. The important thing is, it’s not just Xbox One and its nefarious Kinect camera that’s watching you.
If you have a PlayStation Camera, you can log into your system through facial recognition, as you can on a lot of smartphones.
13 Default Typing: The Bane Of Our Existence
If you ask any dedicated PC gamer, they’ll embark on a month-long rant about the virtues of a mouse and keyboard. How it’s the optimum way to play a lot of games. To be completely frank, it often is. Messaging services, too, are a pain in the cheeks on consoles.
Do you remember laborious cycling through each letter in text messages? That’s a first-world problem the younger generation will never understand, right there. Unless they also have to cycle between letters with a PS4 controller, which is just as bad.
There are ways to circumvent this (you can use the controller’s gyro to ‘move’ between each letter, as What Culture explains), but holy heckola it can be awkward.
12 What’s The Deal With E3 2019?
That’s right, friends. A few weeks ago, Sony announced that PlayStation would be skipping E3 2019. This was quite an upset, in the sense that they haven’t done so before in the whole 24 year run of the show.
It was both surprising and not-so-surprising; a possible face saving gesture in the light of the fact that they wouldn’t have much to showcase. The industry as a whole doesn’t quite know how to feel about this situation, whether it was the right move to make or whether it’s going to backfire on the company. We’ll just have to wait and see, for now.
11 Why’s Crash Bandicoot Here, But Not On The PlayStation Classic?
Nintendo have been having great success with their range of mini consoles, and fans are clamoring for more. A mini N64? I’d grab that bad boy so fast, it’d make the cartridge slot spin. Something truly out there, like a mini GameCube? Can you even comprehend how cute that would look by your TV?
Naturally, PlayStation wanted to get in on that action too, and so the PlayStation Classic dropped. This dinky PS1 replica boasts some of the true iconic titles (Tekken 3, Final Fantasy VII) and some more… questionable choices.
My question would be, where are the legendary Crash Bandicoot games? The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy appeared on PS4, and was ported just about everywhere, but none of the games are on the Classic?
10 Super-Strangeness, Starring Snoop Dogg And Spyro
As 2019 rapidly approaches, like a great steam train full of well-intentioned yet doomed New Years’ resolutions, it’s time to look back at some of the highlights of 2018. For me, the most hilarious and absurd gaming news that broke this year was the tale of Snoop Dogg and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
In one of the most peculiar PR stunts I’ve ever seen, a Spyro Drone was dispatched to fly a copy of the game across the US to Snoop, who had declared his hype for the release.
Now, yes, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy isn’t a PS4 exclusive (you can also pick it up on Xbox One), but still. This is pure gold.
9 Remasters! Remasters Everywhere!
We’ve all come to accept the fact that we live in the age of the port. The remaster. The remake. The HD edition. The deluxe edition. The… whatever fancy name they decide to call it. That’s just the way gaming is just now, and nostalgia is money in the bank/out of our banks.
Of late, we’ve seen Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon make glorious HD returns. MediEvil is also on the way. They’re welcome enough to fans, of course, but what wouldn’t we give for an all-new entry for these series? Can’t some of those resources head off that way instead?
8 There’s Nothing Stranger Than Stranger Things
When it comes to confusing and strange facts about the PS4, it’s worth heading back to VR gaming territory for a moment to consider this: there’s a Stranger Things VR experience for the PS4. It was released this time last year, and… well, it was rather darn disappointing.
It’s another VR experience rather than a fully-fledged game, intended as more of an interactive VR trailer for the show than anything else. There are a couple of jump scares to be had, But considering the potential of this project (Stranger Things VR? That could be a horror masterpiece), it’s difficult to be anything but super disappointed.
7 The Controller Speaker Is Awful
Many of you, like me, have surely been gaming for decades. Over that time, we’ve seen some pretty darn incredible technological advancement. That’s just the way of progress. Look at Metal Gear Solid on PS1 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on PS4 side by side. that’s all happened in our gaming lifetime, friends. Incredible stuff.
One thing we do have to be wary of, as Jeff Goldblum wisely pointed out in Jurassic Park, is innovation just for the sake of it. The Dual Shock 4 has a speaker, as we know, and I’m still questioning the importance of that feature.
I’m not only snarking on it because I booted up my first PS4 game, Resogun, unaware of the speaker, and promptly lost bowel control when it shrieked SAVE THE LAST HUMANS at me.
Why does the speaker’s volume default to maximum? What are you doing to us, Sony?
6 Why Was Knack Such A Big Darn Deal?
If you bought yourself a GameCube back in the day, you’ll have noticed that it, too, skimped a bit on the launch titles. Big names like Super Smash Bros. Melee arrived soon after, but where were the big hitters like Mario? Well, he was there for launch day, but he was trapped in a painting in Luigi’s Mansion.
Still, at least Luigi’s Mansion did feature some big Nintendo names. What did PS4 offer us on launch? Knack, that’s what. It was heavily publicised, but proved to be quite mundane and by-the-numbers. Its sequel fared a little better, but I don’t see Knack becoming a PlayStation superstar somehow.
5 Worst. Playroom. Ever.
Back to the PlayStation Camera for a moment, it’s an inevitable fact of life that every funky new piece of tech has to come with its glorified tech demos. The Wii absolutely blew that concept out of the water with Wii Sports, but some didn’t do so well.
How many times did you use the 3DS’s AR cards? Once, presumably. Similarly disappointing was the PlayRoom, the little minigame compilation of sorts that used the PlayStation Camera. It was neat for five minutes, and the little robots were every possible kind of cute, but I’ll never understand why more wasn’t made of this.
4 Why Was Umbrella Corps Such A Mess?
Now, this was an injustice of the highest order, right here. I’m a long-time Resident Evil fan, and while I haven’t been especially thrilled with the direction the franchise has been taking of late (that is to say, more high-octane violence than all of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies combined), I’m quite a big shooter buff too.
With that in mind, Umbrella Corps was an intriguing prospect. It had the tactics, the fanservice, what’s not to like? Well, as it turned out, every-darn-thing.
This console-exclusive PS4 title didn’t really get anything right, other than its hilarious crawling animation.
A sad, sad story.
3 What Went Wrong With The Order: 1886?
While we’re on the subject of slightly baffling PS4 games, I’m going to point the finger of snark over at The Order: 1886. This exclusive title was another that garnered a lot of hype prior to its February 2015 release. After all, its production values were sky high, and the whole hunting down supernatural monsters as the Knights of the Round table in an alternate universe steampunk London thing was… well, it sure sounded like a winner to me.
Sadly, it proved to be a matter of style over substance in the end. The experience was far too short, the gameplay super uninspired.
2 Have *ALL* The Exclusives! ... And Then Nothing.
2018 has been a fantastic year for the PS4, by all accounts. They say that when it rains, it pours (and being a Brit, I can confirm that this is true), and there sure has been a great bounty for PlayStation fans to enjoy this year.
The one-two punch of Marvel’s Spider-Man and God of War has been an excellent one, rivaling Nintendo’s holiday pairing of Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (well, depending on your tastes). The trouble is, it’s peaks and troughs, and this surely contributed to Sony’s E3 2019 decision. It’s so tough to get the balance right.
1 Watch Out, PlayStation, There’s A Switch On Your Tail
Putting all consoles wars and one-upsmanship aside for a moment, there’s no denying the simple fact: PlayStation 4 is comfortably ahead in terms of raw worldwide sales. All kinds of factors have contributed to this, of course: Xbox One had to dramatically flip-flop on a couple of system policies in the run-up to launch, which is not a PR situation anybody wants to be in.
Nintendo’s hybrid handheld, meanwhile, arrived on the scene much later than either system. Back in September, shockingly, we reported that the Switch was closing in on PS4’s lifetime sales in Japan: at the time, it had sold around five million in the country, compared to PS4’s seven million.
Let’s see how things pan out this holiday season.