The PS4 is a bestseller, but here are 4 reasons why it’s far from perfect


The PS4 has sales of over 73.6 million. Its closest competitor, Microsoft, refuses to reveal how well (or poorly) the Xbox One is doing, and the barely one-year-old Nintendo Switch is closing in on 10 million units sold. It’s safe to say that Sony’s fourth home console is the most popular of this generation. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, far from it. At the height of Sony’s dominance, it’s worth looking at the Playstation 4 critically and noting what could have been done better.

1. No PS4 backwards compatibility
If you own a PS4, chances are you’ve had exposure to Sony’s previous consoles such as the PS1, PS2, and PS3 or even the PSP or PS Vita. Each of them has a list of fantastic games such as Tekken 3 (PS1), Shadow Hearts (PS2) and Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3). However, Sony isn’t interested in letting you play them on the PS4. Sure, it’s got more than enough power to run every game in Sony’s entire hardware catalog, but the company prefers you pay for the privilege of doing so as we saw with Grand Theft Auto: Vice. City, which has been re-released for the PS4 as a digital download.

In some cases it’s justified, like the spectacular Ratchet and Clank remake that was a remaster of the PS2 classic. But aside from a few PS2 and PS1 titles, the remaining roster is left forever, with Sony claiming it “isn’t that used.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft has ensured that most Xbox 360 titles (and more than a few original Xbox games) are playable on Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X, and some of those games even sport Xbox One enhancements. X. Bad luck with Sony. So if you were hoping to play your favorite next-gen classics on the PS4, it’s not going to happen just because Sony won’t let it.

2. PS4 cross-platform play support
If you enjoy playing multiplayer games with your friends, that traditionally means everyone has to buy the same console. This generation, games like Minecraft and Rocket League are touting cross-platform play. This means you can play on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, or PC, and continue playing with a friend who’s on one of the other platforms. Cross-platform play allows PC, Xbox One, and Switch players to be in the same lobby, eliminating the need to buy the same console as your friend. While Nintendo and Microsoft have embraced cross-platform play, Sony has refrained from allowing PS4 players to mingle with those who own an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. Sony has locked down its users, or at best just allowed them to play with PC gamers like we saw with Rocket League.

Cross-platform play is crucial because it allows you to play with other people regardless of your platform and ensures that the chances of you finding someone to play with are higher than if you were limited to your PC or console alone. Granted, there are business considerations to be made, but as a dominant platform, Sony has so far managed to withstand the pressure to add cross-platform support.

3. PS Store curation leaves plenty of room for improvement
Steam and Google Play are usually poster children for poorly curated storefronts in which tech demos cobbled together from pre-made Unity assets are sold as full-price games, which in gamer parlance is known as an asset reversal. However, the PlayStation Store – Sony’s digital storefront – isn’t too far behind. Games that don’t belong on the PS Store, such as Life of Black Tiger and 5-Star 1000 Top Rated, are not only present on the store, but in the case of the former, they are even promoted by Sony. on the official PlayStation YouTube channel. These titles barely pass themselves off as games – with glitches galore and nothing in terms of gameplay – yet they seem to get Sony’s unspoken blessing.

For many, the PlayStation brand is a mark of quality, by the green lighting and provision of such titles hardly instilling confidence in its legions of fans and would be consumers. More so when the company claims to be a class follower – ban PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) until it meets a certain standard, seems cryptic considering some of the games available on the PS Store in this moment.

4.PS VR didn’t have its Mario moment
While that’s true for VR as a whole, it’s even more glaring for PS VR – Sony’s exclusive PS4 headset that has outsold Oculus and HTC offerings. There have been some interesting implementations of the technology such as Resident Evil 7 being completely playable in VR, and some Gran Turismo Sport races in VR mode.

Despite these experiences, PS VR lacks the killer app needed to make it appealing to most PS4 owners. VR has always been positioned as the most advanced piece of the gaming puzzle, and while Sony’s implementation is the smoothest, most of its early adopters are left with an expensive proof of concept at the moment.

Other missteps include the inconsistent availability of the PS4 Pro in some regions, and the stability of PlayStation Network always seems to be in question during peak seasons. It will be interesting to see if Sony addresses some of these concerns with the PS5 when it is inevitably announced. Until then, the company’s most popular product is an imperfect hit.

If you’re a fan of video games, check out Transition’s gaming podcast – Gadgets 360. You can subscribe to Transition via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.

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