In many ways, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have nearly identical features. They both let you play games, watch Blu-rays, stream media, and do just about everything else you could want from a box connected to your television. But when you look closer, you’ll see that these two video game consoles are unique pieces of equipment, each with its own pros and cons.
As much as we love our PlayStation 4, it’s not perfect. Here are a few features we’d love Sony to steal from the Xbox One.
1. Sturdier controller
First off, let’s give credit where credit’s due: The PlayStation 4 controller is much more comfortable to use than the PlayStation 3 controller. It fits in your hands better, and its trigger-shaped L2 and R2 buttons are a big improvement over the sloped buttons on the PS3 controller. Still, the PS4 controller can’t match the Xbox One’s in terms of build quality.
Tons of PS4 gamers who use their consoles regularly have reported that the rubber covering on their analog sticks have started coming off. That’s a big problem when you consider that they’re hard to replace and a new controller costs $60. These things take a beating, but they shouldn’t be falling apart this soon from regular use. It’s time for Sony to start using more rugged materials.
2. Pinned games and apps
While the PS4 is the winner when it comes to the overall design of the dashboard, the Xbox One has one feature Sony would be smart to steal. It’s the idea of “pinned apps.”
When you pin a game or app on Xbox One, the app remains in the same place on your dashboard no matter when you used it last. On the PS4, the list of games and apps that greets you when you turn on your console is displayed in order of what you used most recently. While this is great in theory, it would be handy to keep, say, your Netflix app in the same position at all times.
3. Fast online store
Say you want to buy a game or a movie from the digital PlayStation Store. Depending on how lucky you are, you may have to clear your afternoon, because the PlayStation Store can be painfully sluggish. To see how persistent this problem is, just Google “PlayStation Store slow” and read the complaints.
Sometimes it’s slow to download or connect, and other times it can’t connect at all. It’s better on PS4 than it was on PS3, but it still has a long way to go before it’s as reliable and fast as the Xbox One Store. Sony, since this is where you make a lot of your money, wouldn’t it make sense to give your customers a pleasant shopping experience?
4. Backward compatibility
In a software update in 2015, Microsoft made it so you can play an ever-growing selection of Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. It’s a great feature that gives new life to your old library of games. The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, offers no backward compatibility at all.
Sure, you can subscribe to PlayStation Now to stream certain PS3 games on your PS4, but it’s a pain: It costs money each month, requires a strong broadband connection, and works best when your console is plugged directly into your router. Meanwhile, on Xbox One, if you own a backward compatible game, all you have to do is download it for free on your Xbox One, and you’re good to go.
5. The ability to change your user name
If, like many people, you set up your PlayStation username roughly a decade ago, there’s a good chance you’ve outgrown it by now. Whether your moniker is based on a band you’re embarrassed to have liked, or it’s a veiled sexual reference that was only funny when you were a teenager, there are any number of reasons you may want to change your user name at some point during your gaming life.
Unfortunately, on PlayStation 4 that’s impossible. Unless you want to abandon your account, your trophies, and your digital games to set up a new one, your name is etched in stone. That seems crazy in this day and age, especially since Xbox Live users have been able to change their names for ages.
6. Online stability
Like the PlayStation Store, the PlayStation Network overall isn’t up to snuff. Even looking past the Great Outage of 2011 that lasted nearly a month and compromised everyone’s data, the network is downright unreliable compared to Xbox Live. That’s been obvious for a long time to users, but this independent study corroborated what we all knew: Xbox Live is faster and more reliable than PlayStation Network.
All too often players try to sign on only to be greeted with a message saying the network is down for “scheduled maintenance.” If it was scheduled, why didn’t Sony announce it? It’s one of the most frustrating things about being a PlayStation 4 owner, and there’s no reason to think it will get better any time soon.
7. Ultra HD Blu-ray support
While the PlayStation 4 Pro can stream 4K video from sources like YouTube and Netflix, it can’t play Ultra HD Blu-rays, the latest format for videos on disc. As for the competition, the Xbox One S is fully compatible with Ultra HD Blu-rays. The PS4’s lack of support is a problem for relatively few people at the moment, since not many people have 4K televisions. But one look at the TV section of Best Buy shows a change is coming. The cost of 4K televisions is dropping quickly, which means most people will buy a 4K TV when they’re ready to replace their current set. Once they do, they’ll probably go looking for the highest quality movies they can find, and that’s Ultra HD Blu-ray.