Something Project Scorpio Can Learn From The PS4 And PS4 Pro

Image: Microsoft/Xbox

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that Project Scorpio will be a major drawcard at this year's E3. And we'll no doubt hear more about the raw hardware, all the games it can play at 4K, and how nice HDR makes everything look. But there's one thing I badly want Microsoft to do with Project Scorpio, and it's a lesson they can learn from Sony.

To illustrate things, let's take a look at the PS4 Pro.

Image: PlayStation Australia

Two USB ports on the front helps, especially for anyone who endured the inconvenience of the lone port on the side of the original Xbox One. But for all of its failings, the Xbox One's side USB port had one massive advantage that Sony sort of ignored with the PS4 Pro: being able to get at the USB port itself.

Image: Mashable

Being off to the side is a massive pain for anyone who likes housing their consoles in a TV cabinet. But what's not annoying about it is the enclosure itself: there's space all around the port, and it's not embedded far enough into the console that it would pose a problem for USB sticks on the larger side of life.

Now let's compare that to the PS4 Pro, but a little closer up:

Image: Supplied

With a tape measure (apologies about the one-handed, pre-morning coffee photo):

Now while two ports is nice, and aesthetically it's pleasing enough, the design is a hell of a lot more annoying than it should be.

By embedding the port so far in - or having the chassis protrude so far - it means there are a whole bunch of thumb drives that don't fully fit, or can't fit into the USB ports at all. The original PS4 has this problem as well, but not quite as much:

It's frustrating because, save for the most gaudy novelty thumb drives, the only time you think about the size of your USB stick is whenever you're dumping files on it. Nobody actually thinks about whether their thumb drive will fit. And I'm not talking oversized swag drives that needed a juice cleanse before they could protrude into the land of Sony. I've got regular USB 2.0 and 3.0 sticks from major brands like Sandisk, Western Digital and other brands you would see in PC stores, sticks that couldn't squeeze between the bottom and middle partitions of the PS4 Pro.

Given that all of the ports on the PS4 Pro's rear are exposed in a normal, accessible manner, it's always confused me as to why form took such a vast precedence over function for the ports on the front. You know, the ports that people use the most. It's not for cooling, which you can see explicitly thanks to the official disassembly of the PS4 Pro:

Image: Youtube (PlayStation)

So while it's probably a bit too late for Microsoft to make any revisions to the console either, I'd like to put in one last-minute appeal. Please, for all that is holy, don't do what Sony did with the PS4 Pro. Make sure there's plenty of room around the USB ports on the front or side. The last thing anyone wants to do is have to keep track of how fat their USB sticks are.


    Things Sony can learn from Microsoft:

    Put in a bloody 4K BD drive.

    Streaming might be the future but it's not now. I'm back on DSL and the future is going to take years to get here.

      Put in a bloody 4K BD drive.

      That's the main reason I'm holding out. Even if I had the NBN, I'd still go with the physical media as, thanks to licensing, a movie available on Netflix is not available till infinity and beyond.

        I'm on NBN and my speeds vary from an amazing 95Mbps to.... 1Mbps. Yay for the Liberals cost savings!

      The omission of a 4K BD drive isn't a deal breaker for me mostly because I don't have a 4K display. Also I'm on FTTP NBN with 100/40 so streaming is a breeze. Even when I do get a 4K display I will likely stream all 4K content. Gone are the days of buying physical media (except for games).But yeah, I am in the extreme minority here. I can appreciate why the absence of a 4K BD drive hurt sales.

        Same here on the FTTP NBN side of things... I dont buy anything physical anymore. It's kind of a shame because when its a friday night and now my kids are a bit older it would be nice to go out to Video Ezy and pick a couple of movies for the night because that used to be a real treat for me...

        Now they have a full selection in front of them and they are SPOILT for choice... "No not that one, no not that one, no not that..." They know they can choose whatever and it kinda shits me lol. Back in the day mum or dad would be saying "choose one we've gotta get home and get some snack on the way!"

          I've been thinking about that kind of thing a fair bit.
          How many of the treats of our youth have become so accessible to newer generations.
          I've already begun to see toddlers raised on the ease of ABC Kids.

          Even now I find myself looking at the TV guide and seeing if there's anything during the week I want to see, watching it on the night with ads (even if I own it or can stream it) just to break the week up some.

      Is there even that much 4K BD content available? Seems to be a pretty small area in JB.

      I suspect that by the time it actually becomes an issue for a lot of people the PS5 will be out with a 4K BD drive.

      I'm still dirty about this. I bought the PS4 Pro thinking its 4k and thus can play 4k BD, but nope.

      Its such an insanely stupid cost savings measure :\.

      Doesn't the Xbox One S already have that?
      It was such a high point for that console too, it'd be silly for anyone to omit such a feature at this stage.

      Last edited 30/05/17 6:50 pm

    Thing to learn from Sony. Make your power/eject buttons, and disk entry points obvious.
    The PS4 Pro is an absolute pain because I can never remember exactly which level the disk is supposed to be jammed into. The buttons took far longer to find than I appreciated too.
    The Japanese really suck at UI and UX design.

      And fucking eject button all the way on the other side of the console, sitting just where I've got my controller charger placed. I may have been in the minority, but I loved the OG PS4's power/eject setup.

      The old "am I going to turn off my PS4 or eject the disc" game. And yes, the Japanese really do suck at UI an UX. The PS4 menu system has slightly improved from it's launch, it's still meh.

        Is it not general consensus that the PS4 Interface is miles better than X1's?

          I'm afraid I think the opposite.

          As someone who games on both I have no idea how anyone could think that. the Xbox One UI is miles ahead of anything Sony has made.

          Yes, light years ahead. Its sad really. I only play my Xbox 1 though because thats what all my mates use.

          The XMB interface won awards when it was originally introduced, but now its just a convoluted mess of henpecking around trying to find anything.

          The XB UI on the other hand is rather logical and intuitive after 5 minutes of use.

          Original Xbox One UI, yes.

          New Xbox Experience shits all over PS4 UI.

          Subjective =/= general consensus

            Huh, that's incredibly bizarre. I use both Consoles as well and I'm still confused by the Xbox Layout - there's too much everywhere in your face, whereas the PS4 is just right there, simple to navigate to what you want.

            Different experiences, I guess?

              As I say, highly subjective. :) Xbox UI is still slower than PS4's which bugs me, and I put down to shitty hardware optimisation but in terms of accessibility, I prefer my Xbox.

              Interesting to see what happens in a fortnight (E3 season) between Scorpio and (God willing) PS System Update 5.0.

        I've just got the phrase "down and out" playing in my head. The bottom on make the disc come out.


    It's all about the games.

    That's what I want Microsoft to learn from Sony.

    All the power in the world won't mean anything if they don't have any 'killer apps'.

    That's what they need to show me at E3. I want to see at least fifteen minutes of games that I just have to play for every minute they use to show off Scorpio.

    Last edited 30/05/17 11:21 am

      This. Atm my XB1 is more a glorified XB360 playing machine, as every new game from Microsoft I can play on my PC no worries.

      Totally this and I say this as an xbone owner Sony is snapping up every half decent game for promotional deals (Battlefront, Far Cry, Destiny, the Lego games) getting a lot of console exclusives from third parties and churning out interesting exclusives of their own.

      this exactly, my xbox one atm is simply a media box that I stream netflix through onto my TV.

    Get a USB 3.0 extension cable, problem solved.

    i would of thought getting away from 30fps is your biggest concern console users

    hell, aim for 45 fps....

      The problem with something like 45 fps is that it doesn't divide evenly into the refresh rate of the TV: you'd have some frames on screen for two refreshes and others on screen for one refresh, leading to jerky movement.

      If anything, high refresh 120 Hz displays would probably help consoles out the most. While they might have trouble consistently hitting 60 fps with the level of detail people expect, they could step up from 30 fps to 40 fps while keeping the motion smooth.

        anythings better than 30fps..... it literally makes me sick to play

    If you're going to use a tape measure to show measurements, at least use it correctly!

    The original xbox one had a side usb port to allow for compatibility for externally attached devices that were planned for it. At least it had rear usb ports ( I always found the side port easy to access.

    with the scorpio It'll be the same as the devkit and the current xbox one s, easy access to multiple usb ports on front and rear. they have already shown this.

    Couldn't believe the ps4 had no rear usb ports - had to have this usb cord sticking out all the time for the camera.

    Is there something so deeply wrong with PS4 owners that any article that mentions xbox they have to come in an provide their two cents as to why their (sub par 4k pro) machine is better?

    Gets old quick.
    Playstation owners are on par with apple fanatics these days.

      You must be reading a different article. I can only see comments agreeing that the PS4 design and UI isn't as good as the XBox One.

        clearly you are skimming the comments section.

          Clearly you have mistaken me for someone else.

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