The Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 bundle with a free $100 gift card from Best Buy (price matching Wal-Mart's deal) was too enticing to pass up. On a late Wednesday night, I dutifully lined-up for the midnight release and became one of 48 consumers at the Best Buy in West Patterson, NJ that night to join the PS3 nation.

I recalled the original PS3 launch-day hardware problems and inferior online experience and thought that it was prudent to wait for the kinks to be ironed out. Yet, for all the issues that have been addressed through several console variations and numerous firmware patches, much to my surprise, there are still some glaring issues that need to be addressed immediately. This is my open letter to Sony to get these items fixed ASAP.

1. No IR (Infra-Red) port

I get that Sony has a lot of new technology that they would like to push out into the market via the PS3. However, using Bluetooth for the remote control features on movie playback was a strange choice since that meant that a traditional IR port was omitted. For a game console/Blu-ray player that is suppose to attract high-end consumers—many of which whom own state-of-the-art IR-based universal remote control that cost nearly as much as the PS3 itself—this is a slap in the face. Sony is being completely insensitive to think home theater enthusiasts or people who don't like clutter in their living rooms, wouldn't mind owning an additional remote control after spending an absorbent amount of time and money to manage and optimize their entertainment spaces.

In the least, Sony could have put out a first-party IR port that plugs into a USB port and resolve this issue. Instead, Sony has left third-party manufacturers to fend for themselves and to date, there hasn't been a decent solution that provides a full range of controls over movie playback functions—leaving many PS3 owners having to find defunct PS2 remote ports/adapters to create their own hack solution.

2. Ridiculously long system update

Once I had my PS3 setup and ready to go, I wanted to visit the online store to download some demos and peruse the original arcade titles. Well before I could do that, I needed to do a system update. When it first began, it stayed stuck on zero percent for several minutes. Convinced that something was wrong, I restarted the process only to realize nothing was wrong. It took several minutes before the progress bar read 1%. Rather than stare at loading screen, I decided to watch the new Rambo movie on the Xbox 360.

About midway through, I paused the movie to check on the progress of the update and it still wasn't done. At that point, I was more interested in the movie. So it wasn't until it finished that I check backed on the PS3 and low and behold, the system update was done. You would think that Sony would realize that when people get their shiny new PS3s home, they are excited. The last thing you want them to do is sit there and wait for over an hour before they can fully enjoy what the console has to offer.

3. Fonts too small on PlayStation Network

I've never seen the old PSN so I don't know how the new one compares. I hear it's much improved from what it used to be, but regardless the screen text is WAY too small in certain areas. Most people sit over 6 feet away from their couches so the last thing you want people to do is have to squint. This was never an issue with Xbox Live and I'm shocked that with a company as big as Sony, this wasn't caught during user-testing before rolling it out to the public. Or perhaps all the user testing efforts are being devoted to the upcoming PlayStation Home feature.

4. USB charging cable too short

In theory, a rechargeable game controller that doesn't require batteries sounds like a good idea, but in practice, there are some problems. The first problem right out of the box is that the controller won't work unless you charge it first. You can get around this plugging in the controller to the PS3 USB port so you can charge and play at the same time, but the geniuses at Sony only included a four foot long USB charging cable. So I'm literally sitting on the floor beside my coffee table instead of relaxing and grooving on my couch. Not cool.

The issue that concerns me is what happens when the battery on the controller starts to die. If this was for the Wii or Xbox 360, I'd put the game in pause and swap out the dying batteries for some fresh ones sitting in my charger and I'm back in action with only a minor delay. This isn't an option with the PS3, so I either have to keep another PS3 controller plugged into the PS3 or some other USB port or I buy a 10 foot long USB cable and plug in the controller when the batteries get weak. I opted for the latter and this wouldn't have been such a dilemma had Sony simply provided a 10 foot long USB cable out of the box. Is that too much to ask?

5. Lack of PS2 controller adapter

Since the original PlayStation and PS2 were the most dominant consoles of the last two generations and with the mainstream success of accessory-based games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, gamers own a lot of PlayStation and PS2 dual shocks, dance pads and guitars. Since all the PS3 consoles have some degree of backwards compatibility, you would think Sony would offer a port like the Wii or at least sell an adapter so all those old guitars and dance pads don't collect dust in the attic. It's completely baffling that Sony would have the foresight to sell a memory card adapter, but stop short of providing some option for the controllers. Here's a wild suggestion: wouldn't it be amazing if the memory card adapter did both!

So like the remote control issue, without Sony providing a workable solution, they've left third-parties to haphazardly fend for themselves and with the recent return of rumble force-feedback, what was once an annoying problem has become an outright conundrum in trying to figure which adapters will support guitars and rumble features properly. The problem is so trying that third-parties appear to have given up and pulled adapters from the market to avoid further confusion. Over one year since the debut of the PS3 and Sony still hasn't responded to the plight of its consumers. Maybe it's just me, but perhaps I'm seeing a pattern here.

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui
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David
11 years ago

The font size is what bothers me the most. I a astigmatism and and often I have to get out of my chair to read the letters.

Robert
11 years ago

I am very happy with x-box’s controller changes. I remember when they had the bricks as a controller and you would get a work out while playing your games. Even if your sitting on a ton been bags. I think there improvements help out the gaming industry and encourage them to keep it up.

Metaldragon
11 years ago

true for the most part. However the newer rumored “slim PS3” is coming soon and will probably fix most of these issues. Regardless PS3 is still the most fun I’ve had with a gaming console yet!

the DUI Defense
11 years ago

Agree with the majority of these. However, the PS3 has so much unlocked potential that I’m willing to give it time to really shine. Needless to say some of the best games I’ve ever played were on PS3

Kate Henlay
Kate Henlay
11 years ago

What problems you have posted about Sony PS3 are all correct. But will Sony listen to it? These big names don not care about customers problems, they just want to make big bucks and move forward.

LasVegasWebMaster
11 years ago

due I totally agree with your list thanks for this hopefully some one fixes this!

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

The time it takes to update is also insane, many of you say yours are only 15 minutes rather than the hour the article states, but are you aware that no update on the 360 takes longer than 30 SECONDS!!!
I cannot see why people cannot take 30 mins off their day and do something else while their console updates. But for some people that dont have any social life or any other activities other than playing video games, stick with xbox, for their amazing less than minute update time.

29yearoldgamer
29yearoldgamer
12 years ago

[quote=29yearoldgamer]
To all of you saying his comment about a controller adapter,
Can you read?
[/quote]

That was supposed to say
To all of you complaining about his comment about a controller adapter,
Can you read?

29yearoldgamer
29yearoldgamer
12 years ago

Yes some of his complaints are a little on the light side,
but when you pay that much for a system I think you should be able to complain about the shape of the buttons if you want to.

To all of you saying his comment about a controller adapter,
Can you read?

He acknowledged that there were third party solutions,
or do you just not know what that means?

And Chi,
the word you want
is
exorbitant,
not
absorbent.

mari1r
mari1r
12 years ago

Your a Wed designer?? WTF!,, so you should have some knowledge about computers, cables etc… doesnt sound like it. PATHETIC CHI!!

mari1r
12 years ago

1. No IR (Infra-Red) port… who cares!!!! Adding IR would be a step backwards. 2. Ridiculously long system update… Download the updates through your pc and transfer them via usb stick. SIMPLE!! 3. Fonts too small on PlayStation Network… Buy a bigger TV!! I got a HD projector, I aint complaining. 4. USB charging cable too short.. your rant on the charging cable is longer then the cable. Sounds like you’d prefer to use battery operated controllers (how lame are you?!),, another step back, just like your idea of IR. Use ya brain and charge it before you play. Buy… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

If you’re that nit-picky about using the SIXAXIS as a controller, just spring for the couple extra dollars and get the bluetooth remote, which looks and acts like your regular DVD remote. You spent $20 on Sony’s USB cables?? 😮 Okay… no crying about buying the above item since you’ve proven to enjoy wasting money! Either way, charging your controller via USB is less expensive in the long run than changing out batteries in the 360 controllers every other day…. late at night, hard core gaming session, batteries die…. Oops! Stores are all closed, and I can’t get batteries…. Utter… Read more »

Chi Kong Lui
Chi Kong Lui
12 years ago

As a professional web designer, I know first hand that good design is seamless and largely goes unnoticed while bad design sticks out like a sore thumb. To designers, we are knit-picky by default and I did characterize these issues as annoyances and not major problems because I think they can and should be easily rectified by Sony. Here’s some additional thoughts on the comments… 1) IR Port and controller adapters – I have a 3 foot tall box filled to the top with game controllers and remotes. I REALLY don’t want to add another one to the collection. And… Read more »

TechnicalBS
TechnicalBS
12 years ago

I couldn’t agree with you more. Even with their fixes, there’s still a lot Sony has to do to improve the PS3. I hated the fact that XMB wasn’t available for the PS3, but luckily they’ll release the update soon with XMB. For any gamer who only owns a PS3 and has never experienced XMB on the 360, trust me when I tell you that it’s going to make things much easier on you when you playing a game. Also, YES! The text is way to small. I mean, what the hell! Not everybody sits two feet away from their… Read more »

sidewinder12s
12 years ago

1. Ok, the First one i really dont care for. But i did run across a company that made one of these for the PS3, that didnt suck. 2. Mine only take like 20 min. and the time it takes is Downloading the Update, and i dont think you know this but every game comes with the Latest firmware on it, so if u got MGS4 u can just update it using that, since im guessing most people are going to be buying there PS3 with a Game. 3. I have never really noticed anything wrong with it, not after… Read more »

redskin92
redskin92
12 years ago

Well, I see what you Xbox Fanboys are saying, But those points also compare to the XBOX too. At least sony lets companies like Madcatz make things for the console. Xbox just traps their customers in their little pit and make them buy thier overpriced items. Sure the PS3 might cost a little more… but for the Xbox to gain the features like the PS3 has, buying microsofts accessorys then were talking how much the Xbox is overpriced. For Example, I just bought a 320GB hard disc for my PS3, guess how much.. $120.. thats just a little more then… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Sorry pal but you’re definitely a big nitpicker. I got my PS3 and I didnt act like a five yr old child trying to get into games right away. This is my first time visiting this web site and I noticed it said “smart reviews for serious gamers”…I think NOT!

This should read “dumb reviews for stupid gamers”.

ivan
ivan
12 years ago

you can solve your problems by:
getting a fast internet connection bcz yours is crap!!
either get an HD television or glasses!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I actually have a ps2 controller adapter, so i don’t see why you bitching about a non existent problem…

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

And yet Microsoft doesn’t give you a charge cable at all.
The updates though long only take less than 5 minutes for me.
If you seriously can’t read the font size i suggest a new tv.
Bluetooth is the now and future.
And you stop treating Microsoft like they are because they are one of the dirtiest businesses around.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Shut up you just dont know these arent issues iut is called backlog updates and bad internet connection, a normal update takes no time at all. And lets talk about system design flaws how about a 33% failure rate that the 360 has. You have no clue what you are tlking about and to the guy who wrote this article try to familarize yourself with a system before you write an article.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

WOW you guys are all nuts, your all totally making fools of yourselves trying to defend Sony. The issues mentioned in this article are 100% legitamate! Many of you mention solutions to the issues, but that is not the point, the point is we the consumer who paid a lot more for this console should not have to find solutions to elementary like design flaws, that do not exist on cheaper consoles. Any idiot should have known better than to give us a 2 foot recharge cable. The time it takes to update is also insane, many of you say… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

your comments dont warrent the title of your review. If you had mentioned In game music, or in game chat; movie downloads, folder names for pictures, etc it would of been a worhtwhile review…you points are irrilivant. Do you play with your old XBOX controller on your 360? Who wants bloody batteries in your remote too – sorry to be harsh but I was expecting a decent review of the issues we see – these do not warrent sony listening

Joe
Joe
12 years ago

I think its just you dude, 1)The only point you made that is reasonable. I can see why this is annoying for someone who uses their PS3 for movie playback. But personally I just use the sixaxis controller, its really not that bad once you get used to it, and it comes with the system. 2)You have slow internet connection. I got my ps3 in january and my update took maybe 15 minutes. 3)Never noticed this. You do realize you can mess with font and resolution settings in the internet browser right? 4)You can use any non-sony usb cable for… Read more »

Orakga
Orakga
12 years ago

Wow people are really giving you a hard time. But to be honest, your complaints *are* fairly nitpicky. I’ll go as far as saying that your post generally lacked common sense. Even the one point I would remotely agree with (the USB cable) really isn’t something that “Sony needs to fix immediately”.

911 Gaming
911 Gaming
12 years ago

Point 2 – What are you on dial-up? Don’t be so mean about this one. He’s a newbie to the PS3. Once he has his first update, the update will only take three to four minutes, because it has to all the previous updates into that update. Just take it that he is another person who has little experience with the PS3. Point 3 – Are you blind? I agree. This he’s being really nitpicky about. He probably is more of an Xbox 360 fan, if you didn’t already read that he “watched the new Rambo while he waited for… Read more »

911 Gaming
911 Gaming
12 years ago

Seeing as how you are experiencing dirty nasty fanboy-ness attacking disease, I have a proposition for you. A nicer, more subtle comment. Do not fray, as if you have yet to notice, any fanboy can be mean and/or stubborn. So, without further ado, here is my long, long, long, long comment. [Take in mind I own a PS3] 1. I agree when it comes to the whole “no IR port.” Sony had some sort of observation that you would just use your Sixaxis/Dualshock 3 and press “Triangle” to go through a variety of options that are totally unethical and rediculously… Read more »

Shyam Lakshmanan
Shyam Lakshmanan
12 years ago

If you think the internet dowloads are so slow get your flashdrive and plug it in to your laptop or computer and download the update from the playstation site, then plug the flashdrive back into the ps3 then it will be soo much faster and I agree with the others the last complaint was not needed

MDIZZLE FO SHIZZLE
MDIZZLE FO SHIZZLE
12 years ago

Chi….you are retarted. 1 & 5) You can buy USB adapters to solve of the above “problems.” 2) As for the system updates, don’t blame your networking incompetence on the PS3. When you download large files, they could potentially take a long time. Get a real ISP and stop bitching about 1 time updates. 3) You are blind, see an eye doctor. 4) It takes 20-30 minutes (MAX) of charge time to allow for (what i have experienced) as a day of continuous, uninterupted gameplay. If, however you only have virtual friends, and never leave your house, you can buy… Read more »

demoNcreep
demoNcreep
12 years ago

dude your just a fuckin cry baby ass nigga wtf you complaining about? Firmware updates are long but don’t have other things to do? meanwhile you download clean your room or do something productive loser

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

SO TRUE LMAO WHOEVER WROTE THIS ARTICLE HAS THE WORST TV, INTERNET, AND MINDSET FOR THE PAST.

Rob Hayes
Rob Hayes
12 years ago

The only good point that you raised is the infrared port issue. While it has not presented a problem for me, I can see how this could be a head ache for other users. The other items are quite nit picky. System updates are hardly an issue. After you purchase your system, you rarely have to go through them anyway. I haven’t had a problem reading fonts on PSN, but that’s probably an individual thing (as I sit about 3-4ft away from my set). After re-reading your post, the issue with the USB cord is a good point… I never… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Point 1 – Get an 3rd party IR reciever if you need it so bad. I prefer the BT remote. Point 2 – What are you on dial-up? I don’t find the firmware updates slow. Don’t forget the machine you purchased was probably a few updates behind so your update had to download more to catch up. Point 3 – Are you blind? I have my 42″ HDTV set up over 6 feet away from where I sit and have NO problem reading text on the PSN. Point 4 – At least it comes with one. AND recahrgable batteries for… Read more »

NotSoSilentBob
NotSoSilentBob
12 years ago

People have been saying this stuff since the PS3 came out. Get something new to rag on the PS3 about. Point 1. Infra-red Tech is obsolete and needs to be replaced To much interference from anything else. Point 2. The Slow Updates and internet Loading is YOUR OWN INTERNET Providers fault NOT Sonys So keep quiet when you aren’t paying for a better net. Point 3. Get Some Glasses. Point 4. Spend some money and get a longer cable if you dont like to sit close to read the “Small Print” on the Playstation Store. Point 5. Once again, New… Read more »

NotSoSilentBob
NotSoSilentBob
12 years ago

People have been saying this stuff since the PS3 came out. Get something new to rag on the PS3 about. Point 1. Infra-red Tech is obsolete and needs to be replaced To much interference from anything else. Point 2. The Slow Updates and internet Loading is YOUR OWN INTERNET Providers fault NOT Sonys So keep quiet when you aren’t paying for a better net. Point 3. Get Some Glasses. Point 4. Spend some money and get a longer cable if you dont like to sit close to read the “Small Print” on the Playstation Store. Point 5. Once again, New… Read more »

jkoz
jkoz
12 years ago

It’s still crappy that Sony didn’t do it, but you have options, man. Then you can use your IR receiver. It’s not the best solution but it’s something to do. The network update isn’t *that* slow, it took me three minutes to download every update, on my wireless internet. Perhaps you’re just too far away from your router. And the PS3 doesn’t download while you watch Blu-rays, last I checked…. And although you shouldn’t have to, you can still go buy a longer USB cable, or an extender on eBay for maybe $5… another solution. You could cut your list… Read more »

Sean
Sean
12 years ago

I just plug the USB cable into my laptop to charge it and put my laptop next to me.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

1. Couldnt you buy a usb IR receiver (not sure on this one).

2. Download the updates via pc its much quicker for some reason. (I use my digicam to transfer the update from pc to ps3).

3. Never really noticed this myself.

4. You can always buy a bigger cable, I only ever charge my pad when its not in use.

5. You can buy an adaptor that allows you to use a PS2 pad with PS3 (Fairly cheap on ebay).

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Your last complaint is WAY off base: the 40GB model of the PS3 has zero backwards compatibility; and there are several adapters which allow PS2 controllers to be used on the PS3 (I use my PS2 arcade sticks to play the PS2 SF II Collection on my PS3).

Don’t write articles without doing more research–doing so only continues to destroy your credibility.

Karma
Karma
12 years ago

why would you want a last gen controller on a new system ? if you want rumble buy the DS3 and if you want wired then buy a usb extension ..the rest of your points are also redicolous IMO .

Eric
Eric
12 years ago

hey, Chi. just thought i’d share my opinion on each one of these points with you. 1)i could care less about an infra-read reader, but i can see what you’re saying. bluetooth has worked fine for me since i bought my PS3 2)i’ve heard this from a number of people, and i honestly can’t relate. my system updates only take about 10-15 minutes; twenty at the absolute most. maybe it’s because you updated from the earliest version to the latest one. i update my firmware each time a new one comes out. 3) i don’t use the PS network often,… Read more »

Gamevet
Gamevet
12 years ago

The controller cord isn’t a big issue, since you can use any usb port to charge it. Hey, you could have charged it with you PC, while you were writing this up.

There are several 3rd party options for using the old PS2/PSone controllers. I’d avoid the one by Mad-Catz, becuase it doesn’t work with Guitar Hero 2, as the box claimed. Still, it’s a much better option than what MS did (or didn’t do?) with the 360.

Brad Gallaway
Brad Gallaway
12 years ago

You’re on the money with all those.

Youre lucky, though… the PS3 store is 1000% better now than it was when I got my PS3. i couldn’t believe how utterly backward and cumbersome it was.

that USB cord issue is a real pisser, though. just a few more feet and it would have been manageable.