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10 Things That Still Annoy Us About PlayStation 4

by Joe Juba on Feb 06, 2016 at 08:00 AM

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The current generation of consoles do a lot of things right, from great games to apps to social features. Now that we’re a few years into the hardware cycle, many of the wrinkles have been ironed out of the user experience – but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Last week, we ran through 10 things that still annoy us on Xbox One, but the PlayStation 4 isn’t perfect, either.

This list covers our major frustrations that come with using Sony’s hardware and hits points across all areas, from interface to hardware to PSN. Of course, we still enjoy our PS4s, but we’d enjoy them more if we didn’t have to put up with some of this nonsense.

No Crossbar Customization
Users want to tailor their experience to their own preferences, which includes things like easy access to frequently used features along with hiding extraneous icons that only get in the way. The Xbox One lets you pin things to your home screen, but PlayStation 4 has a lot of catching up to do on this front. Garbage icons litter your crossbar menu (like Spotify and a web browser, even if you don’t want to use them on your system). Meanwhile, popular entertainment apps like Netflix and Hulu are stashed under the TV and video category, rather than being front-and-center. Why not let us decide how we want our games and apps arranged and prioritized? This is one of the most egregious and baffling problems on the PS4.

Trophies Stuck Online
Most of the time, your system is probably online. But what if your internet service is inconsistent? What if PSN is down? In those cases, you can forget about seeing your trophy collection. You can still earn the trophies, but you can’t see any details about them – nor can you see which unattained trophies you still need to shoot for. If you’re one of the many people interested in trophy-hunting, this silly inconvenience makes no sense. After all, the Xbox 360 stored its achievement info locally, so the fact that the new generation locks it behind online access seems like a dubious “upgrade” without any benefit.

Convoluted Power-Down Options
When you hold down the PS button, you want to do one of three things: Turn your system off, put your system in rest mode, or turn off your controller. That’s it. You shouldn’t have to wade through a bunch of other controller sound settings or enter a separate “power options” screen to turn the PS4 off. Not that those other settings aren’t important; you should absolutely have an accessible way to restart your system, log off, or adjust your controller. But having them cluttering up the “quick menu” that comes up when you hold the PS button sort of defeats the purpose of having a quick menu in the first place.

Sensitive Touch Buttons
Unless you have your PS4 behind glass in an entertainment center, there’s a chance that someone or something will brush up against the touch-sensitive buttons. Maybe your children smash their tiny hands on the system. Maybe your pets’ noses rub across it. Maybe you just brush up against it yourself. Whatever the cause, the buttons seem to respond to the lightest touch, which can be a pain – especially if it leads to accidentally ejecting a game you’re playing, or having to go through the shutdown process. Granted, this is a minor complaint, but it’s still annoying when it crops up.

No External Hard Drive For Games
Yes, the PlayStation 4 technically supports external hard drives. However, unlike the Xbox One, players can’t use them for game installation (you know, the primary reason for needing a larger hard drive in the first place). If you want to upgrade your PS4’s game storage capacity, you need to replace your console’s internal hard drive – a whole process that is decidedly more complicated than the competition’s plug-and-play options.

On the next page, we share more of our gripes about the PlayStation 4.

The Ever-Shining Light Bar
Theoretically, developers can use the PS4 controller’s light bar in their games. Sony has even said that it has VR applications. In reality, the light bar is pointless, and its main purpose seems to be reflecting off of your TV screen and distracting you by flashing while the controller recharges. Sony added an option to dim the brightness of the light, but the inability to turn if off completely is stupid.

Can’t Disable Game Updates
When a new update comes out for a game you’re playing, you usually want to download and install it. It might fix bugs, improve performance, or add new content. However, there are times when you don’t want the latest patch, and that’s when PS4’s tendency to automatically download and install a patch as soon as you start the game gets annoying. What if a new patch introduces technical problems? What if it makes the game easier, but you prefer a challenge? Conversely, what if it closes up exploits that you were enjoying? The point is: Users have a variety of reasons for wanting to decline updates. Even with auto-updates disabled, the only way you can stop the process when you start a game with an available update is to scramble over to the notifications screen and cancel it before the process finishes. A simple prompt, like “An update is available for this game. Would you like to download and install it?” would fix the issue.

Still Can’t Change ID
PlayStation Network has been around for almost a decade. If you’ve been using the same account since 2006, that means you’re also using the same username – whether you like it or not. Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, Sony does not allow its users to change online IDs after they have been created. This has left many gamers saddled with dumb handles that they may have liked at first, but have lost their shine over time. PSN users who are 20 years old today might have been 10 years old when they created their accounts; the names you like and identify with can change a lot over that much time. Many users are more than willing to pay for the option to change their IDs, but Sony still hasn’t provided it.

PSN Stability
Downtime is just a part of the online service landscape. From scheduled maintenance to unscheduled attacks, players won’t be able to access online features 100% of the time. While we understand that, Sony’s PlayStation Network is pushing the limits in terms of outages and general stability. This came up again just yesterday! Because users generally need to subscribe to PS+ to take advantage of multiplayer now, Sony can’t hide behind the “Hey, it’s free!” excuse like the last generation. The company needs to substantially improve the reliability and performance of PSN to keep fans happy.

Controller Durability
We’ve mentioned this before, but the physical quality of the PS4 controller is a bummer. Several GI editors have burned through multiple controllers, requiring replacements for problems like broken triggers and shredded analog sticks. The gamepad itself is the best Sony has made yet in terms of ergonomics and button layout, but those positive points tend to get overshadowed if you feel like it’s falling apart in your hands.

That’s it for our grievances. Share yours in the comments below!