Why I Hate the PS3... and what that means.

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via gizmofusion.com

Well, the PS4 has been announced and the rumblings have begun. I for one was unenthused at the New York announcement, and while I don’t have bad things to say I really didn’t say "WOW" about anything or really see why I needed the console. To me, it was a PS3 with some hardware upgrades. We can talk about it being mediocre in Fox’s post here.

But I have let some of this info sink in, and learned a bit more as well, and I am starting to turn. Mind you, I am still probably not going to get the console within the first 18 months just for cost reasons (and by my speculated cost of $429), but I have actually rethought my position of possibly skipping this next generation all together and going PC exclusive (and continue my current gen consoles as long as they are supported). I am thinking I will get a PS4 now. Why? Simply, because it isn’t a PS3. Remember I just said above that my impressions were that the PS4 was okay, but just a PS3 with some hardware upgrades. No, I take that back now.

Let’s talk about what I hate about the PS3.

Now overall, I love the PS3. It is my console of choice this generation, and I utilize it for my gaming, TV viewing (via Netflix and Hulu), and NAS access. I currently have 4 in my house, I gave another to my brother because I had too many, and I had one die on me. I know that all sounds crazy, but it is just the right fit for my life. Also for the record, I do have an X360 (my second after the first died) and a Wii as well (not to mention PC). So I am a well-rounded platform consumer and not a fanboy of any particular company or console.

But what do I hate about the PS3? Yes, for all the right fit there are things I just don’t like.

I hate the lag of the UI. Seriously, the delay between branches of the menu opening up, or from the selection of an item to the launch of it is really bad. I personally like the UI overall, and the structure is fairly organized and understandable to me. But the slowness of it should have been corrected or patched at some point. Since it hasn’t I believe that it can’t. The backbone of the software cannot be improved upon, only replaced by something better.

I dislike the long download speeds. Honestly, I don’t like it but I don’t hate it. It really only bothers me in comparison to what it should be. I know my PC and Xbox download much faster. Same bandwidth, but it is being funneled or capped by the PS3 in some way (and for the record I have everything hard wired).

I also am not very partial to the PSN store. The revamped model that launched recently is a lot better, but it is still lacking, hard to navigate (and there is lag in that as well), and pretty confusing overall. It does have some improvements, but it has some things that are worse.

The store is just an application that runs, but it takes me to the real complaint. I hate demos. I hate downloading demos (via the slow download speeds) and installing and playing them for a small amount of time. I feel that is a waste of my time for the enjoyment I get out of it (presuming I like the demo at all). Trials are an okay idea and I have done that as well (being a PS+ member). I like the idea of being able to play a game for an hour to get the real flavor of it. The major issue with that is I have to download a full game (8-10GB typically) to play for an hour. Again, seriously inefficient for the time invested to the time enjoyed.

I also hate the disparity between Playstation products. The thing is, Sony has created its own little universe of products. They should all fit perfectly together as they are all first party items. But they don’t. The PSP did integrate with the PS3 a bit, but hardly in a useful manner. The PSV was designed to do so and seems to well (I have not had hands on with that integration at all) but there are still too many disjointed games in the mix. They should all be cross-play titles, or at the very least every first party title should be cross play. Then bring in the peripherals.

I have the keypad that attaches to the Dualshock controller. It works great. But it is weird because it utilizes its own battery and USB plug for charging, rather than really connecting to the controller. Okay, that’s fine, but then there is no easy way to charge it other than having 2 wires going to your controller (one to the controller and one to the keypad). Oh, but then they have a Dualshock charging station. Great, you slip a little adapter onto the controller and it allows it to charge when placed in the stand/cradle. Perfect, except now the keypad can’t fit on the controller. Stuff like that drives me crazy!

Speaking of which, I have the Move controllers as well, and of course the PS Eye to use with it. Okay, that PS Eye camera uses a USB port. Well I do have some launch models that have 4 USB ports, but most of them are not launch models and only have 2 ports. Well, that is only 1 possible port open (and why is there not at least 1 USB port in the back? I want that so badly I almost modded my console to have it).

So the design with all the physical items seems to be to keep you having to swap cables and such back and forth to use/charge. It just doesn’t seem well planned at all.

How about a smaller item. Video sharing. Well, first of all most games don’t let you capture video (which is another issue in itself), but the ones that do you can use the video uploader to send it to the web. Well that whole system is cool in concept, but since it was added later it pretty much sucks.

How about small Hard Drive sizes? Okay, I will admit that they have gotten much better with this and currently offer 250GB and 500GB models. That is great. But I upgraded my hard drives (which is nice that it is easy to do) for almost all of my consoles due to that fact that 250GB runs out of space quickly if you are downloading full games or own a large library of games that all need decent sized install space. A minor quirk, but it is one that comes up and with Sony’s push for free games on PS+ HDD space is a big concern.

Okay those last two things are fairly minor in my opinion, so back to something I actually hate. I hate the memory on the PS3. I know, weird thing to hate since I don’t see it. But the thing is, I do see it. I see it in the game programming. I see it in the fact that things seem to disappear randomly in games (or the game levels are designed that you don’t notice it…which makes me notice it). Ask a developer. They will probably tell you the same thing. Low memory limits their programming, which limits the game.

I’ll tack on to this the slow BluRay drive speed. Similarly, it creates limitations in the games. It has gotten better, but it use to require GBs of disk space to help accommodate the fact that the launch BR Drive reads so slowly. I also notice it in some games. For instance, the recent Medal of Honor WF which the slow read speed made slow scene segues which made me lose my immersion in the game.

I’ll also throw in the problem of Backward Compatibility. It’s an old argument and quite frankly I am tired of hearing people complain about it because nothing will ever be done to fix it. But it is still a valid argument. I really think that BC is an important feature to have. I thought the PS2 was brilliant for having it. I thought the PS3 launch models were brilliant for having it. I thought he X360 is brilliant for having "most" supported. I still have PS1 and PS2 games. I want to be able to play them on my PS3. That should be true today, not just at launch. But no, they decide to sell the old games to you again on the PSN so you can play on your PS3 and PSV. I don’t want to buy the same game again if I already own it.

Lastly, the world has changed dramatically since the launch of the current gen. We have crazy good computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc… I want that utilized. I can do things like control YouTube on my PS3 with my phone, but that is really limited stuff. I want to access the PSN store online, which was only recently made available and still is lacking in some ways. I want to message friends from my computer or phone. Stuff like that. I understand why it isn’t there, but my world has changed and I want my console to change with me.

So that is the ticket. The PS4 is the console that changed to fit me.

Every single one of these complaints has been addressed in the PS4. Every – Single – One.

(Well, a caveat is some of the physical stuff like the keyboard to controller I have no idea on, but based on the added port on the bottom I am going to presume it is addressed.)

I love that I will be able to suspend and resume my console like hibernation on my PC.

I love that there is a secondary chip that allows background processing so you can multi-task and download, upload, install, or whatever while you play a game.

I love that I will be able to try a game instantly to see if I like it without having to wait hours for a download.

I love that BC will be addressed through streaming.

I love that all PS4 games will be playable on the PSV.

Realistically, some of those things I am hesitant on until I actually see it happen (like the streaming BC for instance). But still, the promise is made and I don’t have proof to the contrary so I will give the benefit of the doubt. It may have taken me a while but I come to realize I love the PS4 because it addresses the shortcomings of the PS3.

Maybe the presentation was bad. Maybe that is why it took me a while to figure it out. The PS4 is not about better graphics like they showed and touted. That just comes as a perk for having new hardware. It is better for the fact that it is better. Sony identified their shortcomings, created solutions, and are releasing an improved product. Everything I hate about my PS3 is everything I love about the PS4.

So what about you? Now that you have had a week to let it sink in and discuss among each other, how do you feel about the PS4?

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