In the next couple months the long-awaited PS4 Slim will arrive on store shelves. Although its rudimentary, stone-like appearance hasn't exactly won over the gaming community, it's a significant moment for Sony and consumers alike. Upgraded components, greater power efficiency, and a smaller profile are just a few things that consumers will benefit from with the device, presumably at the same MSRP. Along with a $299 price point during Black Friday, this hardware refresh is expected to push noteworthy hardware numbers.
As with any hardware iteration, the release of the PS4 Slim is an opportunity for Sony to address shortcomings with its original product. The new SKU will produce less heat, be less noisy, and will even arrive alongside an OS update v4.0 that will add folders among other long-anticipated features. All this will be delivered in a product that's less expensive to manufacture, allowing Sony to push its price down further in the coming years.
Sadly, Sony will not address one of the most common complaints regarding the PS4: its controller.
The DualShock 4 has earned a reputation for being much more ergonomic than the PS3's controller with more effective triggers and thumbsticks. But it's also known for having abysmal battery life and poor build quality. A full charge on a brand new unit only lasts around seven hours, which is well below the industry standard of 20 to 40 hours. For the average gamer, this means that the controller must be plugged in to recharge the battery once every two to three days. It's also been cause for multi-hundred page forum threads with consumers sharing images of their deteriorated controller, usually in the form of withered thumb sticks.
The DualShock 4's short battery life has perplexed many gamers as they have wondered how its 800mA lithium ion battery runs out of a charge so quickly. Many point to its LED bar on the backside of the controller, which is used to track the location of the device similar to the PlayStation Move. This lightbar can't be disabled making it a big source for energy drain.
Instead of addressing battery life and build quality in the upcoming SKU, Sony will continue on its current path. The PS4 Slim's included DualShock 4 will be virtually identical to the original version with the same components and 800mA battery. Though, there is one difference. The new DualShock 4 will have a translucent touch-pad on the front which allows gamers to view the lightbar from the front. This is only a change in appearance, and will no affect the controller's performance in any way.
This is unfortunate, and the news has arrived right on the heels of Sony's announcement that PlayStation Plus' price will be increased to $59.99 per year starting in September. It's not a great series of events for Sony, to say the least. But with a strong first-party line-up just around the corner it should have no problem pushing this negative discussion aside.