We love consoles here at Gamma Squad. We really do. We also love the Internet.
What we hate is how the two have combined in this godawful, unholy alliance to make actually playing a video game a nightmare.
It’s worth noting that Sony and Microsoft see your console buying habits as a Trojan horse: the idea is that you buy the console, hook it up to your TV…and start transacting your entire life digitally. This is why they’ve got Netflix, Hulu, and are constantly trying to one-up each other with streaming video.
But with that presence come problems, and not the least of those problems are…
This is more the fault of developers and publishers than console makers, but we’re calling them out on it because it’s a problem that console makers could stop, and don’t.
Take, for example, the problems Bethesda seems to have making a game that works properly on a PS3 right out of the case. The attempt to patch the lag problem introduced a whole suite of new bugs and didn’t even fix the problem. And this was a problem Bethesda knew it was going to have, because serious problems have happened before.
The worst part is Xbox users will have it automatically downloaded and installed whether they want it or not. PS3 users, on the other hand, get to experience the joy of a patch alert appearing, and then having the download hang about a dozen times over five days before the patch actually fully downloads.
We’ve really got to ask this: since software is supposed to be where these consoles, sold at a loss, make up the difference in price, why are broken games tolerated? Seriously, all you have to do is say “No, your game has to pass our quality tests. None of this ‘buy a new game, put in the disc, immediately see an alert for a ’1.01 update’ garbage.”
#4) Custom Browsers
Yes, we get it, our consoles are connected to the Internet, and the Internet is awesome. But do you have to make it so painful to use?
Is there a particular reason we need a custom browser? Don’t hand us any line about software, or processing, or anything: there’s no reason your box couldn’t run Chrome, or a fine Mozilla product: you just won’t let it.
Sony in particular has no excuse because it’s not like they’ve got any money staked on the software game: they’re a consumer products company. They don’t even have a browser. Why do we have what amounts to a steaming pile of crap?
And while we’re on the topic…
We are all against Flash in the abstract; it makes restaurant websites suck, it’s got security problems, the constant updates and refusal to play nice with non-Windows/OSX systems is annoying (just ask a Linux user how they feel about Flash’s yearly crap-the-bed)…but it’s a necessary evil, because it’s everywhere.
We know why it’s not allowed on XBox; Microsoft wants you to download their games. But the PS3 implementation is so crappy, it might as well not be on there. Of course, this means, by total coincidence, that Amazon Instant Video doesn’t work well on the PlayStation 3. GEE I WONDER IF THAT’S RELATED.