PS4 - What we want (and what we don't want)
What we want to see:
1) That all games will run at 60fps in 1080p: This is very much a given from the numerous rumours many of us will have heard so far about the PS4’s hardware specifications. In addition to just generally better visuals and gameplay for us gamers, higher definition and frame rate capabilities would also help developers who no longer need to sacrifice video fidelity and find alternate ways (such as upscaling) to ensure their games run decently, which has became quite apparent lately on the PlayStation 3. Don’t let what has happened this generation late in its life cycle happen to the next generation and have both gamers and developers constantly asking when the next generation of consoles is going to arrive.
2) Improve the speed of the PlayStation XrossMediaBar (XMB): Regardless of whether Sony choose to keep the XMB or choose to replace it with an alternative home screen interface, they will need to increase its speed and performance, as at times it can be painfully slow. Giving the PS4 a much greater amount of RAM should help alleviate this problem, enhancing its multi-processing capabilities.
3) Backwards compatibility: This is almost guaranteed not to be included in the new hardware due to how much more costly it would be to incorporate (unless Sony uses the streaming capabilities acquired from their new partnership with Gaikai, in which case backwards compatibility would seem relatively simple to implement for those with good enough internet connections). Either way, we are sure that backwards compatibility would still be a selling point for some gamers who may hold off otherwise.
4) The future of PlayStation Plus: With the chances of backwards compatibility incorporated into the new PlayStation hardware being slim, it is worth wondering whether or not the PlayStation Plus “Instant Game Collection (IGC)” will still exist, or at least seem as valuable at launch. The introduction of probably the most popular and generous feature of PlayStation Plus spiked Plus subscriptions by offering exceptional value for money in the form of access to free full games on both the PlayStation 3 and Vita. Removing the IGC would almost certainly see a drop in re-subscriptions, but it will clearly be difficulty to have a large IGC on a new console at launch. So will Sony remove the Instant Game Collection for Plus on the new PlayStation? Will they eventually ditch Plus all together? Or will the IGC come back when the PS4 catalog is more mature?
5) What will happen to our current digital titles? Most likely these will not be compatible, at least immediately, with the new PlayStation console at launch if there is no backwards compatibility feature. However, if Sony approaches this like it has done to make many digital PS2 classic titles compatible with the PlayStation 3, would all of the digital PS3 games and content that we already own work on the PlayStation 4 as well?
6) Free online: The free access to the PlayStation Network and online features has definitely been one of the greatest selling points for the PlayStation 3. For many gamers, a continuation of this free and quality online service would be extremely welcomed and appreciated, especially for casual online players who most likely will not see much worth in paying for a subscription service just to have brief forays into the online world.
7) A Global PSN store: This is unlikely to happen but we are sure that many gamers would like Sony to at least try and reach Steam’s level of parity when it comes to selling the same digital copy of games to different countries and regions. While some game titles and content offered on Steam still have some pricing and catalog differences, these are minimal compared to the discrepancy between regions and even neighbouring countries on the PSN stores.
8) Improved communications: Make it easier for gaming communities getting together for clan wars, gaming nights or just to run amok in public lobbies to create parties and meeting up more easily. This includes keeping and improving the text chat options, and adding the oft-requested cross-game voice chat. We’d be particularly impressed if Sony can get cross-platform chat working with Vita parties, and it would be great if the PS4 still had a video chat option.
9) Be able to delete trophies: This is definitely a highly requested feature in the trophy hunting communities. Getting rid of that low percentage game they didn’t enjoy or one that a sibling accidentally installed onto their list (or the Hannah Montana plat that so sounded like a good idea at the time....) would make the trophy collections look much neater and easier to scroll through, especially for gamers striving for that platinum perfection.
10) A solid launch line-up, but also a good pacing of titles for the system: A good varied launch line-up to grab the attention of fans across a range of genres is the best way to go, while also have a large number of games (as shown with the Vita). Games are the most likely reason a games console is purchased so the less titles available, the less the perceived worth of the console might be to a potential next-generation gamer. Also, while every year has its lull periods for releases where nothing much of great hype and marketing is generally released, ensure that there is a stream of releases after launch. Landing several big hitters at launch while trickling several others during the upcoming months means that you don’t have all of your launch-window titles competing with each other at once, and have new games to keep gamers excited over the first six months.
11) Worldwide Launch: With the amount of people and logistics these days, it is understandable that launching the next generation console all around the world at the exact same time will most likely not happen. However, let’s try to cut down on the difference between official launches for different regions and not have some countries waiting months while others wait years just to see the new console finally arrive in their own country.
12) Make the console aesthetically pleasing/build quality: This may sound pointless and will differ to person to person but let’s face it, most of us like things to look good and represent what they are. The latest version of the PS3 slim is a great example of this, with it not feeling or the looking like the quality that we are used seeing from Sony - in other words, please ditch the flimsy corrugated plastic.
13) Bigger Friends list: As online gaming grows ever more expansive, chances are that some gamers will find their friends list filling up extremely quickly as they meet and play with more and more people online. Although the simplest solution would obviously be to delete “unnecessary” players on the friend’s lists to make space, sometimes this is difficult in a growing or expanding gaming group/community, like in a clan, and so increasing the maximum friends limit could be an ideal solution.
14) Price parity: This is more of an issue for publishers more broadly (of which Sony is an important one), but even taking into consideration the logistics, currency and market size, games in certain countries (particularly Australia and New Zealand) still cost more than they should, sometimes nearly double the price in other territories based on exchange rates - even for digital releases. This should end, with differences between regions for digital titles based on exchange rates and any relevant local taxes, and differences between regions for retail copies only adding in the cost of distribution or local production.
We do not want to see:
1) Always online requirement: Make it an option by all means, but even in this modern, hi-tech day and age an internet connection is not always available or needed (like for watching a movie). It is no fun playing a game only the next second to be greeted with an ‘no connection’ message and have lost progress, or not be able to game at all because a storm’s knocked out the internet connection.
2) Used games blocked: It is widely known that publishers (and developers) do not make money and profits from second-hand sales so it is understandable that they will be pushing for this. However, pre-owned games still have their market, especially for older titles which go out of print and become impossible to find new, as well as for people looking for newer titles on the cheap.
3) PlayStation Move and other gimmicks packed in with every system: Most people would not like the added cost even with the little that this addition would bring with it. Don’t try and force it on people - it will just guarantee its failure.
4) Social media everywhere: With more and more games adding some form of social media integration, we understand it’s important to many, but not everyone wants to be connected all the time. It is important to keep the Facebook, Twitter and other social outlets strictly optional.
5) Security lapses: Let’s not have another repeat of the PS3 where certain features were removed throughout its lifecycle. It’s not always easy to pick where something will be hacked, but designing it with this in mind should keep Sony from having to do things like removing the option for using Linux on the PS3.
6) Half-implanted features: For example, the less-than-impressive internet browser accessible on the PlayStation 3 system. Early in the PS3’s life Sony attempted to keep the browser updated, but it was only ever clunky at best, and these days barely or non-functional for many sites. Remote play is another example of a feature that got a lot of press time early, but in practice was only useful in fairly limited circumstances.
It's not long now...
What do you want to see or not want to see in the next console from Sony? It’s exciting times, and in less than a week we’ll have a much better idea of where how we’ll be gaming next-gen. Stay tuned to Good Game ANZ as we bring you all the news on the next Playstation as it happens!
Contributors: spectre51, GasClown, GraphicX, I_live_4_fun, OC-138, Outlaw213, Axe99