Top 10 Best Former PlayStation Features Sony Wants You to Forget About

Tags: #playstation ,   #BackwardCompatibility ,   #sony ,   #PlayStation5

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2021-11-04 16:13:41

PlayStation consoles have been a tremendous success for Sony, to the point that they practically saved the company. The trend seems to continue with the PS5, as there are many reasons to own this system. However, the Japanese company also made some pretty controversial decisions through console generations, quietly eliminating some features. While a part of them has affected only a minority, others had a much more significant impact. Still, even though Sony would like us to forget about these, we're here to remind you about some of the essential PlayStation features that aren't available anymore.

10. CD-Audio Support

It's mind-boggling that PS4 and PS5 won't play audio CDs.

Have you ever noticed that PlayStation 3 was the last Sony console to support CD audio? While the sale of physical albums was still pretty significant in 2013, you couldn't play them on your PS4. What's interesting here is that the console has built-in technology, but it stayed disabled. Sony never disclosed the reasons, so we can only speculate that it has something to do with forcing streaming services on users.

Whatever the reason is, this decision is quite embarrassing for Sony since Xbox One, and now Xbox Series X support audio CD playback. This makes PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 probably the only devices with DVD/Bluray drive not recognizing the format. Oh, and if you wonder, PS4 and PS5 aren't supporting Sony's Super Audio CD, nor DVD-Audio.

9. Pressure Sensitive Face Buttons

Pressure-sensitive buttons are great for early Gran Turismo games

With PlayStation 2, Sony also introduced pressure-sensitive face buttons on DualShock 2 controllers. In rally games, it gave us the ability to better control gas and braking, but it also found purpose in non-driving titles. In Metal Gear Solid 2-4, lightly pressing a button would bring the gun up but would not fire it. On the other hand, in Silent Hill 2 and 3, pressure sensitivity dictates melee attacks.

Even though this feature was also found on PS3, few titles used it, and gamers forgot it ever existed. That's not a surprise, as SIXAXIS/DualShock 3 introduced analog L2 and R2 shoulder buttons. They presented a much better alternative, as their sensitivity is way more precise. So, while the DualSense controller packs many exciting features, pressure-sensitive face buttons are not among them.

8. Communities and PlayStation Home

Did Sony pulled the plug on PlayStation Home too early?

 Sony has always tried to help gamers connect with each other, but this proved very hard. Among all their attempts, PlayStation Home certainly was the most ambitious. Launched in 2008, this online community also served as a virtual world, where you could play mini-games and win some awards. However, seven years later, it was gone, despite having 41 million users. As the company explained, the decision was made because of the transition to PlayStation 4. However, if it was really successful, Sony could have brought it back.

Instead, PS4 had a Communities feature, which functioned as a traditional message board. The idea was for gamers to communicate with text and images and play multiplayer titles together. However, as the company could not moderate the content, it led to ugly activities such as harassment or spamming. Still, the decision to shut down this feature was pretty surprising, leaving many people searching for a substitute.

7. 3D Compatible Games

3D compatible games like the Uncharted 3 sacrificed both framerate and the resolution

During the PlayStation 3 days, 3D TV was all the rage. However, no one supported the technology as much as Sony did. Some of the compatible titles included Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed III, Gran Turismo 5 and 6, Killzone 3, or Uncharted 3. Many of these impressively used the technology, even though the resolution and frame rate suffered. While the Xbox 360 also had 3D support, PS3 was the obvious choice.

However, near the end of PS3 life, it became apparent that the 3D TV era is coming to an end. The PS4 3D compatible games list was rather unremarkable, and PS5 ignores them completely, focusing on modern gaming TVs. Of course, that's not a surprise since 3D TV manufacturing stopped in 2017. As for Sony, their current obsession is VR gaming, so let's see if they bet on the right horse this time.

6. Seven Controller Support

You can play 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil with six other players!

The first two PlayStation generations supported up to eight players, but you had to buy a Multitap device. In the PS3 era, things have changed, so the device could recognize seven controllers without any additional hardware. As you could imagine, sports gamers were benefiting the most from it. Yet, when PS4 arrived, the limit was back to four players. This became a new standard, as PS5 didn't improve on it.

As we can guess, Sony doesn't think that seven or eight couch multiplayer sessions are a thing now, primarily because of online gaming. They also don't feel the pressure to change this, despite Microsoft's consoles still supporting up to eight players for games like FIFA. To conclude, we understand that such multiplayer sessions are rare, but it surely wouldn't be too much hassle for Sony to enable more controllers?

5. Homebrew Development (Net Yaroze)

Net Yaroze was such an extraordinary device

Sony isn't encouraging homebrew software, unlike what Microsoft does with Xbox Series X/S and its development mode. However, a long time ago, the situation was very different! In 1996, Sony launched a special edition of the first PlayStation, naming it Net Yaroze. Essentially, this was a $750 console that anyone could use to create games. Still, Sony put some limitations on it, not present in the official development kit. Among them, the biggest was that games couldn't be larger than about 3,5 MB!

However, despite this, the community created some very impressive titles, which later got updated for modern gaming platforms. Also, some of the developers were even hired by gaming companies, including Square Enix. Unfortunately, many are still not aware that Net Yaroze was ever a thing.

4. Controller Compatibility

PS3 was ready for the future!

PlayStation 3 was such a powerful console and ahead of its time for many reasons. One of them is the ability to control it using DualShock 4 and DualSense gamepads! This happens not because Sony enabled it but because of the PS3 hardware. Unlike PS4 and PS5, PS3 recognizes generic controllers, acting similarly to PC. While that doesn't mean you can connect Xbox gamepads, that's still rather impressive.

Of course, there are some limitations, as you can't use a touchpad, haptic feedback, or even SIXAXIS. Ultimately, this means that some games won't work. However, for the majority of the titles, both DualShock 4 and DualSense are very much usable. As the setup is straightforward and doesn't require additional hardware, you can safely try it.

3. "OtherOS" Option on PlayStation 3

You can still install Linux on your PS3, but only with custom firmware

The PS3 was an absolute beast, and it still has a lot of great exclusive titles. However, the console also had some other unique features, including the unprecedented "OtherOS. " This meant that users could install operating systems such as FreeBSD or Linux on it! For example, Yellow Dog Linux was made compatible with PS3, effectively turning it into a home computer. This also meant that the homebrew scene was thriving, despite the console hardware being pretty complicated and with some restrictions.

Yet, when Sony announced PS3 Slim in 2009, they stated that the system won't support the OtherOS feature. Plus, the function was later removed from all versions of the system via system update. This led to a class lawsuit, with Sony paying $65 to every PS3 owner in the USA who used OtherOS. As expected, the company never thoroughly explained its decision beyond citing security issues. In reality, they simply didn't want players to have so much control over the system. Is it any wonder that Sony won't let us modify PS4 and PS5 in any way?

2. PS1 and PS2 backward compatibility

PS1 emulation is impressive both on PS2 and PS3

When we say that Sony was all about backward compatibility, it sounds almost unreal. Still, the truth is that PS2 was backward compatible with PS1, and PS3 supported both previous generations. However, during the PS3 era, Sony first replaced PS2 hardware with software emulation and then simply threw it out of the window! Still, you could at least play PS1 titles.

Unfortunately, PS4 doesn't support any previous PlayStation consoles, while PS5 is compatible with PS4. Compare that to the Xbox Series X/S that supports all previous Xbox generations. While Sony claims it would be too complicated to do the same, the truth is that they would rather sell you the PS Now service so you can stream these old games.

1. Free PSN

You can still enjoy free online gaming on PS3 in 2021!

Despite Microsoft charging for Xbox Live, Sony's equivalent was free from day one on PlayStation 3. As on Xbox 360 you had to pay $50 annually, this helped Sony catch up and eventually overtake Microsoft's console. However, once the PS3 era was over, things begin to change. While online gaming on PS3 will stay free forever, that isn't the case with its successors.

PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 require a PS+ subscription to allow online play, but at least you also get some discounts and free games every month. As Sony explained, they invest heavily in online infrastructure, so keeping the PlayStation Plus service wouldn't be possible. While there's a lot of truth to it, Sony can do this now that the PlayStation brand is not struggling like in the PS3 era. Plus, even without the subscription, we can download demos, patches or even play some online games.

While the PlayStation 5 era sounds very promising for Sony, we still miss all these features. Even though we can understand the lack of 3D games or the closure of PlayStation Home, free online gaming, backward compatibility, and better controller support are seriously missed. Still, judging by their profits, Sony knows how to make us all forget about it!

What are some of your favorite features on consoles that are now dead and gone? Did you even know about all these features we listed? Share your opinion in our comments section!

Photo: Laura Heimann/ Unsplash


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