PS3 Usability Concerns

This post was originally a series of tweets on 1/5/2014. I’m repackaging and expanding on them for posterity.

I had to borrow a Sony PlayStation 3 from school to research some games. I also just so happened to be a month away from buying one of the next-generation consoles (PlayStation 4 or Xbox One), and I hadn’t yet decided which to purchase. My experiences with the borrowed PS3 swung me over to the Xbox.

First, I turned the console on, and the controller didn’t work because it wasn’t synced. The PS3’s controllers don’t have a sync button like the Xbox 360’s do, so I had to go to the store to buy a mini USB cable.

Now that the controller was fixed, I could navigate the login screen. However, the login screen doesn’t have an option to create a new user, so I first had to sign in as someone else, then navigate the UI to create my user.

Finally signed in as myself, I put in the game disc I wanted to play (Journey). The PS3 needed a system update to play the game, so I started the download process and the system restarts. This is all okay.

The game loaded, but it said I need to go the ‘XMB’ to find and install a file folder before I could play. I had no idea what an XMB was, so I had to dig through more UI to find it and perform the installation. Why wasn’t there just a popup that said “Installation required, click X to install”?

After finishing Journey, I tried the next game, Heavy Rain. A patch was needed to play, which was expected. What wasn’t expected was the estimated 170 minute download time. I started the download and ended up playing my Xbox for the rest of the night.

So, that’s the story of how I ended up buying an Xbox One instead of a PlayStation 4 because the PlayStation 3’s user experience was so terrible. Taken individually, none of the issues were particularly egregious, but having them all hit at once left a bad taste in my mouth, to Sony’s loss.

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