Now that the PS4 review embargo is up, the outcome is clear: The PS4 is a solid release, but it’s far from perfect. In fact, there are a few really surprising missteps that Sony has made with its new console. Considering how long it’s been since the PS3 launch, it’s actually a bit disappointing to see that some things are still relatively unpolished.
Reviews are coming in from all over the net, and the PS4 is being broken down in every conceivable way. The console itself is sleek and powerful, and the DualShock 4 just might be the best controller ever made. That said, Sony isn’t quite hitting the mark in every area. Some people are complaining about the design of the “Share” and “Options” buttons, but my biggest problem lies with the touchpad. When you press it in, the click is very slight and mushy like a cheap keyboard. The controller still rests on the triggers, and the d-pad just isn’t quite as good as the Wii U’s implementation. Even worse, the folks over at Giant Bomb show that the PS4 doesn’t even sit evenly on a table. How a lopsided console was able to make it to market is beyond me.
Okay, the hardware’s not perfect, but we can deal with the flaws. After all, there’s no way of patching hardware faults. Unfortunately, the software is quite wonky as well. Recently, there was a huge kerfuffle over the lack of DLNA and MP3 support, and that certainly is a step backwards from the PS3. Worse still, the promised HDCP toggle and suspend/resume mode aren’t even available after the massive day-one patch. While it’s frustrating to see these major features missing from a brand new $ 400 box, these will most certainly be patched in at a later point. Sony is being vague with its timeframes, but it’s pretty safe to assume we’ll see a nice big feature patch six-to-twelve months from now.
The user interface and PlayStation Network have gotten a much-needed overhaul, but they’re still missing the polish you’d expect from a company in Sony’s position. The new UI builds well on the foundation of the XrossMediaBar, but it takes a few steps backwards with the inability to properly organize your content. PSN now supports real names and upwards of 2,000 friends, but the process remains clunky as ever. PS4 trophies still have to be synced to the server, and usernames still can’t be changed. Frankly, this is what worries me the most about Sony’s platform.
A handful of missing features can be patched into the console down the road, but what about the core design issues with the entire online infrastructure? Fixing those problems won’t be easy. After the beating Sony took last generation from Xbox Live, it’s disheartening to see that the PlayStation team didn’t knock it out of the park with PSN this time around. It’s clearly improved, but consumers should expect more out of Sony for something so vital to the overall experience. There is a lot of hype surrounding the PS4, but Sony can’t relax right now. If these issues aren’t addressed in a reasonable timeframe, we might just see a repeat of the last generation.