PS5: The 5 biggest problems and how Sony can still save the console

A reader tries to give Sony some advice on how to make the PS5 even more successful, including a redesign and more variety in games.

I recently wrote an article for GameCentral titled How Sony’s PS5 has already lost this generation. As expected, it prompted a ton of debate from PlayStation fans. So this time I thought I’d have a look at the top five PlayStation 5 issues and what changes Sony can do to try and catch up with Xbox.

1. A serious Game Pass alternative

Xbox Game Pass starts from £7.99 a month and gives subscribers over 350 games to play on Xbox/PC and smartphones. From cool and unusual indie titles to AAA big, day one Xbox Game Studio releases and everything in between.

Sony, however, has not been able to compete with this and fans have been crying out for a similar service for years, as the current offer of PS Now has simply not been competitive enough. Sony reportedly have a Game Pass rival in the works codenamed project Spartacus but it needs to offer something great, such as big Sony AAA games released on day one, as well as access to its great catalogue of PlayStation 1, 2, and 3 games across PC and phone if it wants to stand a chance against Xbox’s ‘best deal in gaming’.

2. Be more honest with their customers

Prior to the release of the PlayStation 5, Sony boss Jim Ryan said they ‘believe in generations’ and they would massively focus on PlayStation 5 exclusive games and leave PlayStation 4 games behind, they also said a number of PlayStation 5 games just were not possible on PlayStation 4 hardware and wouldn’t be available on PC.

Since then, said games have largely been released on PlayStation 4 and PC, with Sony even recently announcing they are also increasing production of old PlayStation 4 consoles to help with manufacturing woes and ongoing semiconductor chip shortages. This goes back on everything they said prior to November 2020. They need cohesive messaging and to basically stop deceiving their fanbase.

They need to take a page out of Xbox playbook, who have been upfront, honest, and transparent about their commitment to cross generational games for the next few years. Mixed and muddy messaging over the past two years has done serious damage to PlayStation goodwill.

3. Make different types of games

Sony first party studios really seem to excel and focus on third person, single-player, one and done games. Games such as Uncharted, God Of War, inFamous, The Last Of Us, Horizon, Ghost Of Tsushima, Spider-Man, etc., etc. Although the Metacritic scores on these titles have typically been 80%+, fans need new titles and genres to sink their teeth into, as once these games are done there is little reason to revisit them.

People can only play so many games where it’s an open world game with a bow and arrow before genre fatigue sets in. With news of The Last Of Us remake in the works (even though it’s barely seven years old) more and more fans feel like they have seen and done it all before. More of a focus on multiplayer games, or even just different types of games, will massively help with this.

4. Totally redesign the PlayStation 5

Everyone can agree the console is one of the worst designed consoles in history. It’s the biggest, heaviest, and most radical looking console ever made. One where you need to manually screw in a cheap plastic stand to keep the console secure, even in the horizontal position, plus you need to take it apart to install a SSD. It’s loud and due to the way it looks, it doesn’t even fit into many TV stands and units and has to be sat on the floor. Also, who’s idea was it to put the USB slot bang in the middle of the front of the console?

Although a small number of fans say they like the look, fixing the design will help casual players feel better about setting it up in the living room and not trying to hide it away behind the TV because currently it looks like a Wi-Fi router that was badly damaged in a fire.

5. Treat PlayStation customers better

This is fundamental if they want the PlayStation 5 to continue selling. Since before Sony released the PlayStation 5 it seems like they have had misstep after misstep regarding extremely poor communication to customers, mixed messaging, and multiple questionable policy changes.

This includes:

  • Reassuring customers that PlayStation 5 pre-orders wouldn’t be a surprise, before dropping them without a moment’s notice.
  • Failing to disclose specs on the console or a price until very, very late in the game.
  • Only allowing limited PlayStation 5 access to certain influencers prior to launch.
  • Charging £70 a game.
  • Charging £10 for PlayStation 4 to 5 game upgrades after saying it would be free.
  • Having a disastrous data transfer process that needs multiple steps and guides to figure out.
  • Not allowing external SSD support for almost a year.
  • Not allowing full backwards compatibility across PlayStation 1, 2, and 3.
  • Not supporting 1440p.
  • Not supporting DualShock 4 controllers in PlayStation 5 games.
  • Basically, flip-flopping between policies, upgrades, and messaging for a whole year.

Sony really need to look at Xbox boss Phil Spencer, Xbox Marketing Lead Aaron Greenberg, and many, many others who have been excellent in providing clear and honest updates and information about Xbox from the very start.

They host Twitter groups, do a ton of interviews and podcasts, play games with fans, and basically have an outstanding AAA online presence. Sony on the other hand doesn’t and this needs to be fixed as they currently seem so out of touch with their core fanbase.

Summary

There is no denying that PlayStation has some good games, but in 2022, and with stiff competition from Xbox and Nintendo, this is now unfortunately simply not enough.

If they want to remain relevant, in demand, and keeping customers on side they need to totally re-evaluate their console and business practices going into 2022 and beyond. Ideally starting with the five things listed above.

By reader @SnapBlastPlay

This feature was submitted before the news of Microsoft planning to acquire Activision Blizzard – GC

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