Why I Bought a PlayStation 4

Regrets? I’ve had a few.

Back in the Dark Ages when video game consoles connected to TVs via cables other than HDMI, I bought myself a PlayStation 2[ref]Oh god does that capital S annoy me so much.[/ref]. Well, I say bought. Technically I got it for free with something else I bought at the same time, but I had one. Much as I’d disliked Sony, it was the only way I could play Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and boy did I want to play Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

At the time, most of my console gaming was Gamecube-based, and even though there was a larger library of titles for the PS2 I found more games I wanted to play on the Gamecube. That said, I did have some fun with some PS2 exclusives, but I could never get on with that most awful of controllers with its stupid uncomfortable shape and nonsensical symbol firebuttons. I don’t regret getting it, as it was free of course, but I still hated it.

Imagine my surprise, then, when a few years later I traded in my broken Xbox 360 and somehow instead of pocketing the money I spent it all on a shiny new white Sony PlayStation[ref]Gah![/ref] Portable. A PSP. Like a PS2, only with worse controls. It had Outrun 2006 on it, LocoRoco, Patapon, and, er, some Wii ports. Yay. Well, yay for Outrun, obviously. But that’s all. Such regret. Very soon it started gathering dust, only to live every now and again to perform a system update before playing Outrun for half and hour.

By now, something like 50% of my gaming was on the Xbox 360 and most of the rest was on the Wii and DS. The PS3 was out but there was no way in hell I was getting that. The controller was no better than the PS2 one (apart from being wireless), and was in many ways worse (concave triggers!) and the vast majority of the games for it were also available for the Xbox 360. Absolutely no reason to buy one.

So I bought one.

It’s rubbish. Or at least, it was to start off with. As the 360 aged and the 360 dashboard got progressively slower, more cluttered, filled with adverts, and lost the focus on games, somehow the PS3’s “XMB” interface became cleaner and faster in relation. It helped that it didn’t take ten minutes to start up too. I haven’t bought many games for it, but have picked up some great exclusives, like Katamari Forever, Yakuza 3 and 4, and Tokyo Jungle. What I definitely wouldn’t do, though, was buy a Vita. With its stunted library of games and lack of support from even Sony, and its horrendously expensive memory cards and terrible rear touch pad, not to mention the awful battery life. I’d definitely never buy one of those.

So I bought one.

Just 18 months after doing so, it’s languishing in a cupboard like the PSP did before it. I clearly don’t learn. It has some excellent titles, like Persona 4 Golden, but most of the good games are available on other consoles too. I got some mileage out of a pile of indie games and some cheap titles bought in sales, like Titan Souls and Rogue Legacy, and had fun with some PS+ titles too, but again – they’re also on other platforms. At least I wouldn’t repeat my mistake, again, by getting a PlayStation 4.

So I bought one.

I had to, actually. No choice in the matter. I needed to buy a console to play Fallout 4 on, and there was no way I was buying an Xbox One after all the nonsense Microsoft tried to pull (that’s for another post, but basically, them trying to force a Kinect on users, no second hand games, Media rather than game-centric, etc. – all resolved now but a bad taste at the time). And the PS4 is more powerful, although that’s not really too much of an issue. There was still the sticking point of the controller, but that half melted away when I tried one: It’s much more comfortable, the sticks are improved, triggers are the correct shape. It still has unintuitive shapes on the firebuttons where letters or numbers would be more appropriate, but everything else is pretty great. Even the little trackpad thing is quite cool, if only for using with an on-screen keyboard. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll be less pleased than I am with the easy of media sharing too, as I post so many videos and screenshots from my games.

I’m not fully converted to Sony, but I do feel, finally, I may have made a Sony purchasing decision I’m not ashamed of. Oh yes, and that Shenmue III thing is heading PS4-ward. Ownership validated!

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