Sony has launched a couple of major pieces of hardware lately. One is the PlayStation 4 Pro, a more powerful version of the console intended for people with 4K HDR televisions. The other is PlayStation VR, a virtual reality headset that’s powered by the PlayStation 4. Even though the PlayStation VR is the best bet VR has to go mainstream this year, it’s a risky release, because VR is far from a proven success with customers. There’s still a bit of time to go before we’ll know if these products will be a hit or a flop, but even if they do fail, they’ll be in good company. Here’s a look at some of the biggest PlayStation hardware failures in gaming history.
1. PlayStation TV
The PlayStation Vita probably would have made this list if Sony hadn’t released and quickly discontinued the PlayStation TV. This is one ill-conceived device Sony never even really tried to turn into a success. So what is it? It’s basically a PS Vita that you plug into a television. Like the Vita, it can play Vita games and it can act as a Remote Play device for your PS4.
Unfortunately, many Vita apps simply don’t work on it, including some games. Sales were so bad that Sony stopped producing the Playstation TV less than three years after launching it. It’s anyone’s guess why Sony thought producing the device was a good idea to begin with, seeing as how the Vita failed to catch on.
2. PlayStation Move
The Nintendo Wii was a major success by any measure, eventually becoming one of the few gaming consoles to sell over 100 million units. Upon seeing its success, Sony and Microsoft began developing products that aped the Wii’s unique motion controls. Sony’s take on it was the PlayStation Move, a wand that could use players’ hand movements as control input.
The problem was that it took Sony too long to get it on the market. By the time the Move hit store shelves in 2010, most people had realized motion controls were a fad. Move controllers sold poorly, so developers stopped making games that were compatible with them.
That said, these glowing wands could get a new life, thanks to their compatibility with PlayStation VR. Whether the Move turns out to be a two-time failure, or a product that was simply launched far too early, remains to be seen.
Webcams were just becoming popular when the EyeToy launched for PlayStation 2 in 2003. But that didn’t mean it was a good idea to hook one up to your console. To be fair, the core EyeToy: Play series provided a few decent mini-game collections that were fun to play with your friends. But the appeal of the EyeToy was limited because only a handful of games were compatible with it. And of the ones that were, only a fraction of them were worth playing. Like the Kinect, Microsoft’s similar add-on, the EyeToy was a device with limited appeal that never truly got off the ground.
4. Jogcon controller
I mean, just look at this thing. Developer Namco whipped up the Jogcon controller as an accessory for 1998’s R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 for the original PlayStation. The idea behind the monstrous disc in the middle of the controller was that it would function as a steering wheel for use in the racing game. While the force feedback mechanism in the tiny wheel was a great idea, the thing was just too uncomfortable to use on a regular basis. That’s why no modern racing games use anything that looks this silly.
5. PlayStation Mouse
Computers use mice, so why not game consoles? That must have been the thinking behind the PlayStation Mouse. Like many a failed peripheral, this device ended up being socked away in a drawer somewhere and never used again by most customers. That’s because not many games supported it, and the ones that did were hardly worth playing in the first place (with the exception of a few classics like Clock Tower). And like all trackball mice, the rollers would get gummed up with dust and crud until you cleaned it out. Yuck.
6. Wireless keypad for PS3
If there’s one thing gaming controllers can’t handle well, it’s entering text. It takes forever to type even the shortest message using an onscreen keyboard. That’s why game makers have introduced keypads you can attach to your controller.
Sony did the best it could for the PS3 keypad, but it ended up being a clunky, oddly placed add-on. Instead of going on the bottom of the controller like its Xbox 360 counterpart, the PS3 keypad attaches up by the shoulder buttons, where your thumbs can’t reach it without completely adjusting your grip. It’s also held onto the controller using a clamp, which means it doesn’t connect directly or draw power from the controller.