Top 10 Biggest Playstation Fails Of All Time
This gaming brand has made its fair share of mistakes. Welcome to Thegamefreakshow and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Biggest PlayStation Fails.
10. PlayStation Home
Remember this thing? Sony’s attempt at a fake ‘second life’ (that played just like Second Life) never felt like it had a true purpose – something that was mirrored by the fact it never came out of beta across its seven year lifespan.
A virtual social hub in which you could just sort of… hang out, spend real money on virtual clothing, flirt (though mostly talk about games), furnish your home and partake in a whole host of basic mini-games, even its game-themed bonus content was just a bit ‘meh’.
At its peak, Home had several million active users, providing a platform for several independent developers to come into their own. But design-wise the thing was a nightmare, with too many zones, clunky mechanics and few major developers integrating it with their games in the way Sony had intended.
Sony closed down PlayStation Home in March 2015, and although they may want you to forget about what PS Home actually was, it most likely wants you to remember what it could’ve been – a social network seamlessly integrated into a virtual world. With PlayStation VR just around the corner, don’t write off the possibility that something similar to Home – but more immersive and way more terrifying – is waiting just around the corner.
9. The SixAxis Debacle
It sounded kind of cool in theory. Instead of making any significant design changes to its PS2 controller, Sony decided that all the magic would be contained on the inside for the PS3’s debut pad. Thing is, the Nintendo Wii came out barely a week after and blew people away with its innovative motion-control setup, making a stark comparison to the rumble-sacrificing Sixaxis as we all wondered what they were thinking promoting it.
The Sixaxis motion controls were imprecise and uncomfortable, and it seemed that most developers didn’t know what to do with them. The original Uncharted tried its hardest by mapping a flick to throwing grenades or walking across narrow fallen trees, and then there was dragon fighting game ‘thing’ Lair (more on that later), but for the most part the feature just remained ignored by players and devs alike.
The Sixaxis wouldn’t have been such a problem had it not completely replaced the Dual Shock vibration capabilities of the controller, which infuriated gamers. In one of their bigger PR slip-ups, Sony said that vibration would interfere with the Sixaxis control, meaning that the two couldn’t live side by side in the same controller. No one really bought into this waffle, as the Wii controller seemed perfectly capable of featuring both far superior motion control and vibration capabilities.
8. PlayStation Move
With all the fanboys squabbling over whether the PS3 or Xbox 360 won the last-gen console war, it’s easy to overlook that the Nintendo Wii stood supreme over those two in terms of console sales. It introduced gaming based mostly on motion controls, making it accessible to the whole family in a way that no console before it ever was.
Both Sony and Microsoft figured that the best response to to this was to come up with the own motion-control gimmicks. Microsoft launched the irritating Kinect, while Sony brought out the sex-toyish PlayStation Move. As a technical piece of kit, the Move actually wasn’t that bad, but by the time of its release Nintendo had pretty much hoovered up the entire casual gaming market that this type of controller was aimed at.
Sony released meager equivalents to hit Wii games, but did incorporate Move controls into a few games in neat and innovative ways (see Portal 2 and Heavy Rain). Ultimately, the controller’s positives were eclipsed by the fact that a full Move setup (two Move controllers, and a ‘Nav’ controller) cost more than the Wii itself, and the move was dismissed as little more than an attempt by Sony to ape Nintendo; the PS3 came out of the whole mess looking like a hapless Wii-wannabe.
7. The Whole UMD Thing
Bless Sony and their obsession with the MiniDisc format. They struggled for so long to accept the fact that people just weren’t interested. It was worth giving it a go as an audio format back in the 90s though, as the MiniDisc held a few (bot not enough) advantages over CDs, such as the ability to move tracks around an album and have more editing control over your on-disc musical content.
But what Sony was thinking when it made UMD (an evolution of the MiniDisc) the main media format for the PSP is anyone’s guess. These things were dreadful, blighting the otherwise excellent PSP with long loading times and speedy battery drains that crippled the console. Sony touted UMD as being destined to one day become (true to its name) a ‘universal’ media format, present in every computer, games console and media player on the planet, but evidently that never came to fruition.
The irony of the whole UMD mess is that Flash memory was already commonplace at the time the PSP was released, and a much more viable means of storing data. Sony would go on to use Flash memory in the PS Vita, but by this point no one was paying attention to Sony’s brave but futile ventures into handheld gaming.
6. All The PS3’s Broken Promises
This point almost didn’t make it into the list, because there are so many ways in which Sony backtracked on what the PS3 was meant to be that they almost deserve their own tribute. Eventually the PS3 was a decent console, so I’ll give Sony a break by condensing some of its worst broken promises into a neatly bulleted mini-list:
- Backwards Compatibility: Sony probably set gamers’ expectations a bit high when it featured backwards compatibility on the PS2. Still, Sony followed through and included it on the PS3, only to remove it just a short time into the console’s life cycle. To cut down the costs from its $600 original model, Sony replaced hardware backwards-compatibility with a buggy software backwards compatibility, before scrapping it altogether.
- Other OS: The PS3 was supposed to be this free, open console that you could tweak as you pleased, and what better way to promote this than by letting people dual-boot it with Linux? Sadly, Sony soon freaked out that this would be a hacker magnet, and released a firmware update that locked people into the PS3’s rudimentary OS forever. Ironically, this is arguably one of the reasons that Anonymous launched a hack attack on the PlayStation Network a few years later.
- The E3 Games That Never Were: At E3 2005, Sony presented the PS3 as a place where new IPs would grow and flourish. Most people probably don’t remember promising games like Ni-Oh, Eyedentity, Fifth Phantom Saga, Eight Days and Killing Day. That’s because they never came out. Sure, the PS3 had its share of IPs, but not nearly enough, and very few of those promised before it was released.
5. Everything About Lair
The ability to ride a dragon in a way that was actually fun has always been something of a Holy Grail for video game developers. Soon after the launch of the PS3 in 2006, it looked for a beautiful, brief moment like we had actually reached that point, when the big budget console-exclusive Lair was released.
Lair looked – and still kind of does look – incredible, as you played a dragon-riding knight whose role was essentially that of a high-fantasy nuclear weapon. You swooped into epic battles, burning scores of enemy troops, smashing up ships and siege weapons, and occasionally coming face-to-face with rival dragons in the skies.
But it’s safe to say that the contrived Sixaxis controls ruined everything. The game came out at a time when Sony desperately believed that the awkward, twisty-turny motion controls built into the PS3 controller actually had a future, and tried crowbarring them into every game possible while screaming ‘But it’s the future, today!’
The worst thing of all was that there wasn’t even an option to use the trusty old analog sticks, so players were left with the choice of sucking up the control scheme or not buying the game at all – they chose the latter. A patch that integrated analog controls actually came out six months later, but by that point nobody was paying attention anymore.