In the never ending battle of Microsoft vs. Sony, I do not consider myself a fanboy for either console. There are, however, lengthy periods of time where I prefer one console over the other, but that has changed enough times over I can’t claim any real loyalty to one system. With the exception of Sony exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, my console of choice in the previous generation was the Xbox 360. This came to end when I saw the Xbox One reveal, and they talked about the use of the Kinect being mandatory, always online connection, no ability to trade in or play used games and most of the resources of the system devoted to things besides gaming. If I want to watch TV I will use my cable box, I don’t care about running my cable service through the game console. This cemented my decision to purchase a PlayStation 4 when both consoles launched in 2013.
Oh Sony, Soni, Soné, while you did not declare the same things that drove me away from the Xbox One, your PlayStation did have a quality to it that made several red flags go up, and that was the 500 GB storage space with all games requiring full installation. Based on the initial Xbox 360 launch model that boasted a 20 GB of storage which translated into about 13 GB, I figured 400 GB was a more realistic estimation. The next thought was with how big modern games are that 400 GB is going to be filled up quickly, especially since there is a 500 GB PlayStation 3 and that doesn’t require every game to be fully installed. I thought 500 GB might sound big from a marketing standpoint, but from a perspective of practicality it is simply not going to cut it.
As a general rule, when I am optimistic I am wrong but my pessimism never fails at coming through. As such, the PlayStation 4’s hard drive had about 400 GB of usable space and I filled it within a year. This was before I started writing for Hardcore Gamer which now requires very regular deletion and reinstalling of games. In fairness, the advertised 500 and actually getting 400 is not a Sony exclusive but 100 GB of storage does equate to a significant chunk of storage space. With DLC, The Witcher 3, Dragon Age Inquisition, and The Elder Scrolls Online eats up about half the available space, and anytime I want to reinstall them, redownloading the most current update and DLC can be a very lengthy process. When I am not playing a game because I have to write about it I play games to relax and having to wait an hour to get all updates right is annoying. Another thing I hate about it is I will try to download a game that is 15 GB when I have over 36 GB free, but I still have to delete more games to make room for a game half the size of my available space. I am sure someone with a programming background will comment how I am an idiot and there is a technological reason for that, but it is still an irritating aspect.
Since the launch of the two consoles, the PlayStation 4 has remained my system of choice because there are more Sony exclusives that interest me than there are Microsoft ones, plus I hate the Xbox One’s user interface. I do enjoy The Master Chief Collection and Sunset Overdrive but Dragon Quest Heroes, World of Final Fantasy, and The Last Guardian are the type of games I am more likely to gravitate toward. Microsoft actually did listen to the negative response the Xbox One initially received, and because of that I have an Xbox One that I can play when the internet is down, swap games with friends, and I don’t have to use the Kinect.
Now here is where I have to give props to Microsoft, because even though I currently am getting more mileage out of my PlayStation 4, this is an area Sony would be smart to copy them. Both consoles now have models that include 1 TB of storage, but even with that increase it will still probably get filled up it will just take a little longer. Microsoft has the same inherent problems with their relatively small storage space, but they allow the use of external hard drives that plug right into the console, greatly increasing the available storage. Sony requires the owner to perform invasive surgery on their console to swap out the hard drive, which
of course voids the warranty and may not be as reliable as the one that came with the system.
Having to regularly go into storage and delete games and reinstall them gets old incredibly fast, and with several games easily surpassing 50 GB and even going well above that with DLC, I spend a lot of time in system storage making room for new titles and a lot of time downloading patches and updates. Microsoft’s external drives may be on the pricey side and not as nice as just having a larger internal hard drive, but they do eliminate the need to constantly be deleting and downloading games again. Sony is not a stranger to the peripheral market, so why they haven’t developed a USB drive that can store games is beyond me. This is especially baffling with games starting to be made in native 4K and required hard drive space for games is much more likely to increase. Having a large game collection is something game companies want consumers to amass, but the current set up of the PlayStation 4’s storage makes enjoying a large collection fairly inconvenient. I am aware this article may come off as whining about first world problems, but if Sony made a 2 TB external drive comparable to what’s available for the Xbox One, I personally know several people who would buy it.
Editor’s note: we originally incorrectly stated that removing the PS4’s HDD would void the warranty, which is not the case. The passage has been crossed out to reflect this retraction.