PS4 Nitpicking

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a fan of Sony. Ever since seeing Final Fantasy VII being played on the original PlayStation, I’ve been enamoured with Sony’s gaming prowess. They lost me for a bit with their early pitches of the PS3 and subsequently the Vita, but both grew on me the more they were refined. They recently did a bang-up job of convincing me of how awesome the PS4 was; so much so, I pre-ordered the thing almost a year ago and never looked back. To date, I’ve had plenty of fun with my PS4, but it’s not perfect – there’s a few things I’d like Sony to improve on, or in some cases, just done differently in the first place.

So, in an attempt to take a step back from the fanboy precipice, here are my top three gripes with Sony’s parallelepiped.

Let’s start with the most frivolous complaint: I don’t like the noise the PS4 makes when it starts up. Without seeing inside the thing, I can only imagine what that click is. Is it the hard drive head firing up with vim and vigour? Maybe it’s just the fan kicking in. Perhaps something in the Blu-ray drive? Someone knows, but it isn’t me. Not knowing is the hardest part.

See, if I was told “Yeah, it’s the HDD, you’re eventually going to lose all of your data,” then I’d be understandably upset, but at least I could take action. Replace it with an SSD or just back up all the important stuff, for instance (at least, whenever Sony get around to supporting external storage). Aside from the initial clunk – and maybe the first whirs of the disc drive itself – the PS4 makes nothing but pleasing fan noise. Nothing high-pitched or frantic like my old 360 might exclaim: just steady exhaust of a reasonable nature.

Moving on.

1 - Dashboard

Every time I turn on my PS4, I’m faced with a re-arrangement. Sometime it’s just the normal, minor reshuffle that insists on putting the game for which there’s currently a disc in my drive as the first option on the menu. Other times, it’s that plus whatever arbitrary order my other games have decided to update / patch in. I like having my games organised – you should see my shelves, they’re meticulous. The PS3 was bad enough, not being able to arrange it exactly as I wanted to. The PS4 pushes all the wrong buttons with me in this regard.

Alright, I grant that it’s a fair assumption that the games I’ve played most recently are the ones I’m likely to play again soon. Just because it makes sense, doesn’t mean I have to like it. Can you imagine the chaos if we arranged libraries like that in real life?

“Here are the books people have been reading most often, I hope you like Dan Brown and 50 Shades of Grey.”

But what about this book I want to read.

“I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. Try the eighteenth shelf in, I think I remember someone checking it out when I first started.”

It’s an exaggeration, to be sure, but my point stands. At least it does for me. I don’t even want to contemplate such a system for my own shelves, so why do I have to put up with it on my console? Let me arrange my dashboard the way I want to, Sony. Also stop putting adverts all over my bloody Recent Activity. At least you’re not as bad as Microsoft in that regard.

2 - Controller

Lastly, we come to the single-most annoying gripe of all. I love it to bits most of the time, but the PS4’s controller can drive me mad on occasion. First of all, that light. Sure, it’s cool that it changes colours and reacts to in-game events, but it’s brighter than hell and I would like to be able to dim it. Luckily, this is apparently widely agreed upon and Sony are going to do something about this. Yay for us.

But what the hell are they going to do about the battery life in general, I ask you? I feel like I can barely go a play session without having to plug the bastard in, whereas my PS3 controller can happily go weeks without so much as a single volt. I’m not sure if the power-hungry nature of the PS4’s controller can be blamed on a fancy LED, but what the hell else is in there that needs so much juice?

As if it wasn’t bad enough, charging the thing when you’re not using it is a hassle unto itself. Trying to sit it down on a flat surface without risking bending the Micro USB connector is a challenge: I tend to sit it on the edge of my PS4, propped up on the L2 and R2 triggers, with the connector dangling off the edge. It’s not as precarious as it sounds, but it does involve a couple of seconds worth of positioning. I can’t just put it down and walk away if that bloody cable’s attached, because it might slip.

Speaking of bloody slipping, have you tried to rest the controller on your lap? If I’m playing FFXIV (which is awesome on PS4, by the way), I’m going to want to type something on occasion. For this, I use a USB keyboard, which rests on my lap thanks to a flat base, friction and gravity. But to actually type, I need to put my controller down, which is when the problems start. You see, Sony have apparently achieved a nigh-frictionless surface in their design of the underside of the PS4 controller. It’s a convex curve that wants to slip to the left or right, straight onto the floor, where it’ll inevitably mash the exact combination of buttons to do the worst possible thing my character could do at that given point.

3 - PS4

Make no mistake, I love my PS4. I love the hardware, the games and I take great pleasure in spending a sizeable portion of my time playing it. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t piss me off every once in a while.

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About Chris Smith
A twenty-something gamer from the North-East of Scotland. By day, I’m a Computer Technician at a local IT recycling charity, where I fix and build PCs. Outside of that, most of my time is spent either sleeping or gaming, which I try accomplish in equal amounts.