6 Problems With the PlayStation 4

It’s already clear that the PlayStation 4 will turn out to be one of the best video game consoles of all time. From all the great exclusive PS4 games to the parade of excellent third-party and indie games, there’s no denying it’s a killer gaming machine. But just because it has a lot to recommend it doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The PlayStation 4 has some drawbacks that bring it down a few pegs. Here are some of the problems with PlayStation 4.

1. No backward compatibility

PlayStation One and controller

There’s no backward compatibility with the PS4 | Sony

Sony has a rich history of classic video games dating back to 1994, when the original PlayStation came out in Japan. Unfortunately for longtime fans, if you want to mine that history, you’ll need the old hardware. Unlike previous PlayStation consoles, the PlayStation 4 isn’t backward compatible with any previous generation of games.

Meanwhile, the PS2 is backward compatible with PS1. The original PS3 is backward compatible with both PS1 and PS2. Additionally, the PS3 and PS Vita can play the enormous library of PS1 games available on the PlayStation Store. Each console has honored the history of PlayStation classic games — except PS4.

To play older games on PS4, Sony only offers two unsatisfactory workarounds. One is PlayStation Now, a subscription service that lets you stream certain PS3 games. The other is the small set of digital “PS2 classics” on the PlayStation Store, most of which aren’t very classic at all. And fans of PS1 games? They’re completely out of luck.

2. Controller build quality

This problem doesn’t affect players of the more casual persuasion, but if you spend a few hours a day gaming on your PS4, it won’t be long before your Dual Shock 4 controller becomes a little threadbare. The problem is that the rubber covering on the analog sticks isn’t up to snuff. After moderately heavy use, it can start breaking and coming off.

That’s a big problem when you consider the sticks are hard to replace and a new controller costs $60. Sony knows these things take a beating. It’s time for Sony to start using more rugged materials.

3. No external hard drive support

Many thumb drives on a table

There’s no way to add storage to your PS4 using an external hard drive | Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

It’s great that you can upgrade your PS4’s internal hard drive to a bigger one. But what you can’t do is add storage using an external hard drive. Why not? Microsoft lets you do it on Xbox One. Surely more people have spare thumb drives and external hard drives lying around than internal drives. It’s also much easier to plug in an external hard drive than it is to install an internal one.

4. Slow network speeds

Man sitting in a cornfield in a suit

The Playstation Network can be incredibly slow | iStock.com

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 evening plans, because the PlayStation Network can be painfully sluggish when it comes to download speeds. To see how persistent this problem is, just Google “PlayStation Store slow” and read the complaints.

Sometimes it’s slow to download or connect, while at 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 Xbox Live. Sony, since online connectivity is a cornerstone of modern gaming, wouldn’t it make sense to give your customers a faster online experience?

5. You can’t pin games or apps

PlayStation 4 dashboard

Pinning games and apps isn’t possible on the PS4 dashboard | Sony

When it comes to organizing your games and apps on the PS4’s dashboard, let’s just say your options are limited. All you get is a list of apps and folders organized by most recently used. While this is fine in theory, it’s not ideal in practice. Wouldn’t it be handy to keep, say, your Netflix app in the same position each time you turn on your PS4? Or pin a game you play whenever you have a few minutes to spare? Sony, add a pinning feature so we can organize our apps how we like.

6. You can’t change your username

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 brand 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 username 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 purchases to set up a new account, your name is etched in stone. That seems crazy in this day and age.