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Sony PS4 problems: should you care?

Andrew Williams

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PS4 problems
PS4 problems

The Sony PS4 is one of the most exciting new products of 2013. It’s a true next-gen console, and will define what video games look like for years to come.

However, it isn’t without problems. Here are the most serious issues of the Sony PS4 and please let us know of any others you come across with yours in the comments.

Read our PS4 review to read our complete verdict on the new console

It won’t play PS3 games

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One of the most disappointing things about the PS4 is that it does not support PS3 games. You’ll be able to put the things in the drive, but they simply won’t run.

It’s largely down to their differing system architectures. The PS4 has a PC-like x86 architecture where the PS3 has a custom ‘Cell’ architecture. To run PS3 games, the PS4 would need to emulate these older-generation games. Even if it has the power to do so, the workload required in this means it wouldn’t really be worth it for Sony.

Should you care?

Absolutely, it means you need to keep your PS3 under the TV.

PS3 game streaming won’t be around until 2014Pics 2

There is another solution on the horizon – game streaming. Using tech derived from Gaikai, a company Sony acquired in 2012, you’ll be able to stream all sorts of older-gen games to the PS4 using an internet connection.

However, you won’t be able to do this until 2014. Sony has confirmed that game streaming will not be available at launch. It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing when it’s one of the most interesting new things about the console.

Should you care?

It’s more an annoyance than a serious problem.

For more info read: Can you play PS3 games on PS4?

It won’t be able to play Blu-rays and DVDs until you connect to the netPics 4

The PS4 will not be able to play Blu-rays and DVDs fresh out of the box. Before your jaws drop, you will be able to do so following an update that will be available on release day.

However, if you want to get it out of the box ready for a quick watch of a DVD of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol on Christmas Day, you can’t.

Should you care?

No, it’s not a problem unless the internet dies in which case you have bigger problems.

It'll be really hard to find one before Christmas

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Unless you have pre-order, you’ll need to line up at a high street shop that’ll have launch day units, or try your luck at one of the large retailers that doesn’t do pre-orders – John Lewis is the prime example. This is pretty typical of big launches like this, but the likelihood of finding a PS4 after the launch day are slim to none.

Should you care?

Yes, if you want it in time for Christmas.

The launch line-up isn’t up to much

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Following a bunch of last-minute (/last month) delays, the launch line-up of the PS4 does not look hugely attractive. The key titles that the console starts off with are largely either available on the Xbox One as well, or on the PS3 as well.

The PS4 has Killzone: Shadow Fall, DC Universe Online and Injustice Gods Among Us. Its other launch titles are less high-profile affairs. The Xbox One doesn’t have a stellar line-up itself, but is stronger with Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Crimson Dragon.

Should you care?

Yes, games are the key reason to pick an Xbox One or PS4 and at present the games don't excite us that much. That will change in time, but there's work to be done here.

Reported frame rate issues in Call of Duty: GhostsPics 5

Some late previews of the PS4 running Call of Duty: Ghosts, possibly the highest-profile of all the launch day next-gen games, show that it doesn’t run all that well on a PS4. There are still frame rate issues, despite being very close to release. It turns out that these are related to TV refresh rates and a patch has already solved the issues, but it proves that issues will appear with the first batch of next-gen games.

Should you care?

No, it’s just a first-wave game niggle.

It doesn’t support external hard drives

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The PS3 can be hooked up to external drives as long as they’re formatted to FAT32. The PS4 cannot connect with any external hard drives at all.

If you need more storage, you’ll have to replace the internal 500GB hard drive with your own one. Sony offers required hardware specs on the PlayStation blog – “Users can choose to install a new hard drive so long as it complies with these standards, is no thicker than 9.5mm, and is larger than 160GB.”

Should you care?

Game installs of 10GB-plus mean hardcore gamers will fill that hard drive pretty fast, so it could become a problem. A small part of us is convinced Sony will add support in future, but it's something worth considering before you buy.

Media support is likely to be much worse than on PS3Pics 3

Playing your own music and video files was more of a concern for the PS3 than it is the PS4. You can’t even play MP3s on the thing.

Would you want to? Probably not, but video support is something many of you care about, and this move suggests it won’t be too hot on the PS4. Whether the console will play MKVs, DivX files and so on is not yet clear, but the lack of MP3 support is not a good sign – neither is the lack of external hard drive support. It’s of most concern to digital pirates, but is sure to aggravate many.

Should you care?

If you’re a dodgy downloader, yes. If not, no.

It doesn’t support 4K, yet

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At launch the PS4 does not support 4K output – the resolution of the next wave of TVs, still prohibitively expensive at this point. We wouldn’t be surprised if the console ends up supporting some form of 4K output, but 4K high-end games? Don’t hold your breath.

The issue is that rendering games at 4K resolution requires much more power than doing so at 1080p. To output at 4K could require a drop in graphical fidelity in other respects – such as texture complexity and polygon count.

Should you care?

No, if you want ultra-HD gaming, buy a PC. Or a time machine.

You can’t stream music or video from a PC

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Unlike the PS3, the PS4 will not support DLNA streaming from a computer. On the PlayStation blog, Sony confirmed that the console won’t support this kind of streaming.

DLNA lets you stream media between compatible devices, such as songs and videos.

Should you care?

If you’re a pirate, yes. If not, no.

Cloud saves are only available with PS Plus

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The PS4 is all about the cloud integration, but some basic cloud storage features are only available for subscribers to PS Plus, the paid part of PlayStation network.

This means that if anything goes wrong with your hard drive and you don’t have PS Plus, you’ll lose your save data. It’s a bit stingy given the relatively small amount of data most game saves require, but is a clever way for Sony to push the PS Plus service.

Should you care?

Not really. Join PS Plus, it’s good.

Conclusions

The most serious issue of the PS4 are those that’ll only really affect the hardcore tech geek crowd, not the average user. They’re also largely shared with the Xbox One, and may be fixed in the future. Whether it suffers any serious hardware issues remains to be seen, but at present the main problem remains the relative lack of games.

TheHulksMothersCousin

November 28, 2013, 9:24 pm

Are these concerns mostly shared by the X-Box One? I thought media support, DLNA and eternal drives are not.

alukard

November 28, 2013, 11:53 pm

You give it a lot of passes that you could have given the Xbox too, but hey there must be at least one whipping boy.

Almighty-Koz

November 29, 2013, 3:21 am

im sorry but saying unless your a pirate your shouldnt care about not having DLNA is stupid, i have all my Blurays backed up on my pc and streaming them to my ps3 is a million times easier then constantly switching discs, i do understand thats laziness but its not just pirates and illegal downloaders who use DLNA. you can also stream legal stuff through dlna that you got digitally.

MattMe

November 29, 2013, 9:47 am

Are you joking about the DLNA thing? I'm actually offended by this - I actively encourage people I know not to pirate music or films. I buy CDs and DVDs and store them on my NAS - it's much more convenient.
Even suggesting that DLNA is only used by people who steal media is unacceptable. It's the largest consumer standard for media streaming, and is supported on practically every device that is network connected. It's not P2P.

BreakingMyself

November 29, 2013, 1:33 pm

XB1 supports 4k ^-^

Jerjef

November 29, 2013, 4:12 pm

Man what a biased overview of the PS4. Every shortcoming was turned around to make them look good. Doesn't support DLNA or or any other media types, but that's ok because only pirates use them making Sony look like their doing the public a service. Oh if you want to use cloud storage you have to pay for PS Plus, but that's ok it's a clever move by Sony to push their pay service. If MS did any of this it would be the usual torch and pitchfork mob calling for MS's blood.

David

November 29, 2013, 7:17 pm

Completely agree. Quite concerned that even though I have paid to download films, watching them on a different device automatically makes me a pirate. I would have thought a tech review would have been in favour of media streaming ?

Jay

November 29, 2013, 7:57 pm

erm xbox 360 always needed gold membership to even play online and ps3 always needed ps plus for cloud game saves so how is this a big deal.

DLNA is a different matter though, in the time of itunes / google play and the 100's of other digital media outlets how can you miss out on it?

Paul__Revere

November 29, 2013, 9:38 pm

I am not going to buy a PS4 because of the absence of local media streaming. I like being able to access all my music stored on my laptop for playback through my home stereo via the PS3. I also liked that in some games (namely gran turismo) I could replace the lame in-game music with my own background music. Now the PS4 won't be able to do that?

I was hoping the PS4 was going to IMPROVE upon the PS3's very limited, slow, and disappointing media streaming capabilities, but instead they axed it entirely. Now I really have no reason to buy a PS4.

Keith

November 30, 2013, 12:38 am

Really!, wanting to stream music / videos makes you a pirate? MS mention about one device for under the TV, if neither are going to do streaming, then it looks like I'll be sticking to multiple devices. Shame really, all that power and it gets spoiled by politics.

ots

November 30, 2013, 9:15 am

what a total waste of money... is Sony crazed on producing an "upgrade" of the Ps3 which doesn't even come near with what customers expectations.... not all are crazed on gaming ... the initial draw of purchasing play stations was its flexibility. blue ray player... 3d ,yes believe or not there are people out there who have 3d tv and use them, and media streaming from home servers. why have music dotted around the house when it can be centralised. so disappointed with Sony ... will I be buying one.... not on your nelly. Not until Sony re- evaluate and reinvent .... well not like they are reinventing the wheel is it... they development the PS3 and what a good bite of equipment it is too,

Guest

November 30, 2013, 5:48 pm

Ignore post.

Jerjef

November 30, 2013, 5:51 pm

Whether it's a big deal or not is irrelevant. The point is the hypocrisy demonstrated here. MS has always been chastised for putting certain services outside of online play behind pay walls, but Sony does it and it's no big deal

Buddy McKinley

December 24, 2013, 9:59 pm

Can you say (class action lawsuit) Let's not forget the Bluetooth for are head sets don't work. All we are to Sony are BATA testers, it starting to be common with the gaming industry, Take your money before the game comes out, then for the next 6 months we tell them whats wrong with it. We should get payed for are lost time. The gaming industry will make 86 billion off us. So with this I thank that the gamer's should sue Sony to let them not get away with putting out a poor produce.

eddie willers

December 26, 2013, 1:05 am

I'm an old fart so I don't even know what pirating and DNLA have to do with each other. But I DO know that my music is on my desktop computer and I have had a ball playing them through my nephew's PS3 that is set up in the really nice Home theater. You may not think it much, but it is a game changer to me.

DONDENOW

January 5, 2014, 9:12 pm

My comment is this am happy with PS4 cause I always been ps person lol . But wonder if someday they going to fix the issues with streaming usb issues so I can put my own music and pics. ..ects. I know PS3 started the same but the issues didn't start so early as the ps4. But how ever Play Station Sony is always been the better console..

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