Design consultancy firm Teague — the company behind the original Xbox design — offered its critique of Microsoft's next-generation competition, the PlayStation 4, in a feature on Fast Company's Design page.
According to Teague, while the PS4 is more beautiful than its predecessors and the controller includes many improvements, it's "almost as if these two components were designed discretely, and they never combined to create a truly cohesive system." The company feels the PS4's looks recall the PlayStation 2 slim, the "greatest technical marvel of console hardware to this day."
One feature that clearly demonstrates Sony's commitment to pushing the PS4 as a gaming-focused console, according to Teague, is the redesigned light bar. The light bar gives better feedback to users through "more emotional color hues and behaviors," which the firm notes is a major improvement over more confusing LED indicators used on previous Sony consoles.
However, Teague writes that the placement of the power button where players' hands will be when ejecting and inserting discs was an odd choice, as is the decision to place the disc loader on the left side when traditionally Sony consoles have loaded on the right. The angular design is also a poor choice for "a box that will likely live side-by-side with the rectangular boxes."
Teague calls the DualShock 4 the "workhorse controller," a less toy-like piece of hardware with a more high-end feel. But while the firm is impressed with the controller's individual design and performance, they wrote that there is a "design disconnect" between the controller and console. While the console is very square with sever edges, the DualShock 4 is more rounded. This "break in the design language" is further widened by the PS4's all-black coloring and the controller's muddy gray look.
"If this is in fact the final act for home consoles boxes, Sony may have just missed the mark on creating a truly climactic finish," Teague wrote. "Our thought is that they should have put everything into the new controller. This should be the face of the PS4. The console needs to be supportive, not central to the gaming experience."