Sony’s PS4 is just over two months old now, and based on the 4.2 million units sold in 2013 it’s safe to say that the tech giant has a hit on its hands. The PS4 was first out of the gate during last November’s next-gen console release extravaganza, and thanks to Microsoft’s confusing Xbox One PR over the summer, many gamers made the jump to Sony’s camp with the hopes of greener pastures.
For the most part the PS4 has been a stable and reliable system since its November launch. Outside of some major PSN issues during the US and EU console launches, the system and its ecosystem have been pretty stable since. With that being said no new product launch of this size and nature is without some growing pains. There’s definitely room for improvements in regards to the overall PS4 architecture and software, just like we pointed out for the Xbox One last week. The overall stability issues aren’t as rampant as they are on the Xbox One, but the three changes below will only make the PS4 a better place to spend your free time if they’re ever implemented or enhanced.
DualShock 4 Battery Life
The DS4 is a beautiful controller, especially when compared to its cheaper feeling younger brothers, but for some reason it is a battery whore. In general Sony’s new controller last about 7 hours after a full charge, which pales in comparison to the DualShock 3’s battery life that can easily last for double that amount of time, if not more. Any gamer looking to get a marathon session in on the PS4 better have a long USB cable, or multiple DS4 controllers in tow, because at 7 hours there’s no way the DS4 can handle a full plate of gaming throughout the day without some additional juice.
It’s extremely odd that the PS4’s controller has such a low battery life, because it’s not like the peripheral is running a small screen, or other battery hungry features that you’d find on a controller that can’t keep a charge for more than 7 hours (think Wii U gamepad.) Maybe it’s the light feature, or even the DS4’s touchpad, but for some reason this controller’s battery life just doesn’t cut it.
Games Running in Background (Standby Mode)
One of the more innovative features on the Xbox One is its ability to keep games running in a background process while using other apps, or even while the console is placed into standby mode. This allows you to leave a game running and come back to it without the need to wait on its initial loading process to finish again. Getting back to gaming is as simple as clicking on the game’s menu icon and continuing whatever it was that you were doing last.
The PS4 doesn’t quite offer this feature yet, but it needs to. The PS4 will allow you to switch in between apps while a game is running, but most will require the game to be shut down if you want to use them. The PS4 also shuts down any running games when you put it into standby mode for the day, so when you boot it back up you have to wait for the game to reload as well. This is a minor waiting period, but it’d still be nice to jump right back into the action as soon as the PS4 wakes up from its slumber.
For some odd reason the PS4’s user interface is completely locked down in terms of personalizing it. Unlike the PS3, gamers can’t install dynamic themes, or even custom backgrounds to add a personal touch and feel to their particular PS4. Everyone is locked into the Sony blue and white color scheme, and the flow of the UI is solely based on what games and apps you have installed on the console. The Xbox One doesn’t feature a massive amount of customization options either, but at least you can change color schemes and pin items to the main menu for easier access. Even this small level of custom options could help to make the PS4’s UI feel slightly less stagnant and bland.
The PS4 is currently the only place to livestream on a console without the need of 3rd party tools, but just like the Xbox One the sharing options are limited. It would be nice if the PS4 would allow you to share video content to sites like YouTube directly rather than limiting recorded video to Facebook only. It would also be rad if you could just save the clips to a cloud drive, similar to the Xbox One’s SkyDrive integration, giving you the ability to process them in any manner you want before sharing the finished clip to a social network of your choice.
The PS4 is a lovely piece of tech that is already being enjoyed by millions of gamers across the galaxy. For the most part these “wishes” can be achieved through system updates and patches, so hopefully Sony has a full upgrade plan in place for the PS4’s firmware and system software in 2014. None of the issues above greatly hamper the gaming experience that the PS4 has to offer, but they would all surely make it that much better of a next-gen gaming console.
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