I have no clue where this is going to end, so bear with me.
For a number of years, I used to get really excited during Christmastime for video games. It meant time off from school, and a slew of new games to play, especially with family. Usually it was a way to discover some new stuff, that everyone could play together without becoming super competitive and were easy to pick up. It started with the Playstation 2. Before that, I was always a hardcore ridiculous Nintendo fan. Once the PS2 Slim was released, I gave it a shot, and discovered a world of games I had been missing. Things I mocked before, I began enjoying. Karaoke Revolution, Singstar, Buzz, all those “family games” I ignored because they weren’t Nintendo’s efforts.
I graduated from college in 2006. During my high school and college years, I spent a lot of time with families and always took pleasure in bringing out the family games. Whipping out Buzz, giving everyone a controller, we all figured it out fairly quickly. Even before then, we had New Year’s Eve parties at our house, playing You Don’t Know Jack.
But once I found the PS2, that really changed. Between Buzz, Singstar and EyeToy Play, I had a library of games that we all loved. Pretending to sign, wash windows or win stupid amounts of money were all great. Relatives came to expect it each year. I got better at packing it up and making it portable.
Then Sony revealed the PS3.
It was going to change everything. HD graphics! Hard drive built-in! Patching games! Online play! And sure enough, each of those titles had iterations that ended up on the PS3. Buzz got wireless buzzers. Singstar had wireless mics, but those oddly never made it to the states, and that’s kind of where it all started. I was able to import them from Europe, twice. But it still felt a little odd we got ignored in the USA.
And slowly, more Singstar games came out, but the online store launched, DLC! That was going to change everything. A bit pricier, and often re-selling songs I already owned on disc. But it was an avenue for more songs. And as I gorged on Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I got DLC for those, too. Christmas quickly became a year when games would give out free Christmas-themed music for everyone. FREE CHRISTMAS MUSIC!
Then Rock Band and Guitar Hero got dedicated store apps for the Xbox 360. Playstation didn’t. Xbox 360 allowed for deleting individual DLC and seeing what was already installed. Playstation didn’t. Xbox 360 could update any day they wanted, Playstation was one day a week so sometimes during holidays we had to wait a whole week for an update.
Quickly my download list on my PS3 became too big. I even have a YouTube video of it, showing YEARS of content missing. Their systems were antiquated. And eventually Sony updated it, to add advertisements and it made it even more unstable. I spent many phone calls with Sony asking them to fix it. I got free games out of it, but really had to find a HACK to get my songs re-downloaded. (Download an old OLD PS3 game like Age of Booty, and use the built-in DLC store there to get to the old download list)
If we jump ahead to today, it’s worse. The Playstation 4 is a step backwards. There’s no new games on the horizon from those folks. SingStar had a release last year, but it was just 20 new songs with no patches or fixes for their terrible broken interface. PS4 Singstar still only works with PS4 discs and some DLC. PS3 Singstar plays PS2 discs, and all DLC. There’s literally ZERO reason to try Singstar on the PS4. They’ve only ever pulled DLC from the store and never finished deploying all of the PS3 content. Buzz never got a PS4 release. There were a few PlayLink games released, but the appeal ended quicker. No new updates ever came out for those. And EyeToy was the one that had the most promise. The PS4 launched with this great camera app. You could play around with this little robot guy. Years later, it’s been ignored and forgotten about.
All Sony seems to care about now is PS VR and Spider-man. Those are wholly single player experiences. Heck, their ONLINE experiences are still hot garbage. Playstation Plus, which I pay for, has online backup of game saves, a crucial thing for me. But it also has free games. But there’s a downside to that. Many downsides. One of them is every time you renew, all of your PS+ titles get ‘repurchased’ on your download list. So that list becomes DOZENS of pages long. And every month it grows more and more. I have more games than can fit on a hard drive, so I depend on that list and I still can’t filter it like any decent interface. Plus, I can’t PURCHASE those games, either. Once it’s a “PS+ purchased” title, it’s pseudo-owned. I have it as long as I have PS+ and I can’t change that. That means I get a small window once a year to try to purchase anything outright. But that also means if a title is going away or getting de-listed, like Mickey’s Castle of Illusion, I’m screwed. I can’t ever permanently own it. I literally want to give Sony money and I can’t. So now I think twice whenever I’m grabbing the free PS+ games. This is not an issue for the Xbox One.
Like I said at the start, I don’t know where this is going, but ultimately I’ve just become completely disenfranchised with Sony. With the PS4, they’ve become super arrogant and lazy. No backwards compatibility without paying for a whole new title. No updates to family games. Heck, I can’t even save videos to the hard drive like I can on the PS3. I use my PS3 for more media DLNA viewing than I do on the PS4. It’s been years and very little has improved aside from them adding folders. I say this because I’ve worked on Playstation titles. I know what it’s like for them. And they’re just not giving a crap because people will still just buy the latest Call of Duty. Hell, it took Fortnite bitching to get Sony to KIND OF open up CrossPlay.
I just want a Singstar update. I don’t need a F2P app.
I’m just eternally grateful for Ubisoft’s Just Dance titles and for Jellyvision with their Jackbox titles. They’re keeping holiday traditions alive, while Sony is turning their back on it.