The PlayStation 3 is, without a doubt, one of the greatest consoles of all time. It's awesome, but there's lots of things we wish Sony did better, or added, and they can with the upcoming release of the PlayStation 4. So without much knowledge of what the PlayStation 4 actually will and will not be able to do, here's our list of the top 10 things the PlayStation needs to do right.
1.) Better User Interface
Back when the PlayStation 3 was released in 7 years ago, I'm sure the "Cross Media Bar" seemed pretty cool. It's not. It's boring and it's not user friendly in the slightest. The settings section is a complete mess of similar sounding options, and figuring out how to do something as simple as manage downloaded content is a chore. Compared to the the interface on the Xbox 360 (which launched first and has seen several great updates since!) the PS3s interface is terribly lacking. The PlayStation Store is also treated as an app instead of being integrated and seamless (again like on the Xbox 360) and that definitely could be a big improvement to the overall user experience. Sony's UIs in all their products tend to be terrible, perhaps it's time to outsource this to someone who can do it right. It's a game console, not a DVD player, make it fun?
2.) Improved friend management and communication options
What happens when you try to view your friend's profile or trophy info on your PS3? Loading. Long ass loading times. How about checking a received message? I'm pretty sure I have to hit the PS button, go to my friend's list, select my friend, wait for their info to load, hit mailbox and then hit the message. How about "press the PS button to quick read" maybe? Also, and this goes without saying probably, but party chat. The PS3 lacks the ability to create a persistent chat session with friends regardless of what games you are playing. Xbox could this day one, PS3 still can't and never will, although it is an option on the Vita. Do it Sony!
3.) Voice chat headset included in the box
It's frustrating when you're playing an online game with your bros and someone can't chat because they don't have a Bluetooth earpiece. Or you can't hear someone because their Bluetooth is a cheap POS. Once again this is something Microsoft got right with the 360 by including a standard (quality!) headset with every console. It creates a consistent user experience across the board. Sadly it also increases the odds of being called a faggot by a 12 year old while playing.... anything.. but I'll take that risk.
4.) No gimmicks!
No motion control, no camera, no damn tablet controller. Give me a game system with a comfortable controller, not a wannabe VR machine with a bunch of shitty games. I bought a PS Move because I really thought what it was doing with positioning in a 3D space was cool. Did you play Tumble? Probably not, but it was an awesome puzzle game that involved stacking 3D blocks in a way that would be impossible with a regular controller. Where are the other games like this? How many games support the Move? 10? How many of those are any good, or are improved by having move support? I tried to play Infamous 2 with the move, and while it was cool at first, I realized that using the controller is much more accurate and less tiring. I want to relax with my games, not flail my arms around and look like an idiot. Ok, so sometimes I do want to do that, but not when I'm playing video games... usually. There's only so many things you can do with gimmicks, and they always get old.
5.) Terrabyte hard drive
Hard drives are cheap as dirt Sony, with same day digital downloads a reality, give us the space to store all these games and DLC you're throwing at us. There's no excuse for anything less than a 1 TB HDD in the PS4.
6.) Better update system
Sometimes I go long stretches without playing a game on my PS3. Buri and I decided to boot up Battlefield 3 one night for a few rounds. Before I can play I'm hit with a huge required firmware update, and a 1.3 gigabyte patch for BF3. I'm informed that this will take approximately 20 hours to complete. I will then have to wait while it "installs" after. The first problem here is the connection speeds with Sony's update servers. They've always been terrible. Updating a game on Xbox 360 usually takes seconds to a few minutes at most, and there is no install wait afterwards. Why is it so slow with PS3? The second thing that needs to happen here is automatic game updates. Instead of waiting for me to load up a game before telling me an update is available, hit me with an update notification as soon as it's available like my iPhone does. Let me download my updates and install them with an option to automatically turn off the system when it's done. Having this feature would have turned countless frustrating attempted gaming sessions into fun evenings.
7.) As much backwards compatibility as possible
While it's rumored that the PS4 will not feature any backwards compatibility, well, that would kind of suck. My fat 80gb PS3 plays my entire library of PS1, PS2 and PS3 games, which is the main reason I haven't upgraded it to one of the slim models which don't. I also should be able to play my library of digital game downloads I've purchased from the PSN store without having to "re-buy" the PS4 version of the game. Once I have my PS4 it should be my one stop shop for gaming. I don't want to keep my PS3 connected to the TV and taking up shelf space. This shouldn't be hard to do, but hey, I'm no scientist.
8.) Keep it region free
One of the best decisions Sony made with the PS3 was to keep it region free. We live in a global, connected society now. The language I can play my games in shouldn't be determined by where I buy my console. Because the PS3 is region free, I was able to bring mine with me from Canada when I moved to Japan, and I can continue playing my English library of games as well as Japanese language games that I buy here. While they're at it, releasing the region lock on PS1 and PS2 games would be great as well. I can dream, right?
9.) Remote play support of all games on Vita
The PS Vita has an awesome feature called remote play. It allows you to stream games over your local wireless network from your PS3 to your Vita, so you can play in bed, on the can, etc. It's an awesome feature except all of zero AAA games support it. It works with some PSOne games (I had it working with Final Fantasy IX). It's not a technical limitation preventing this, Sony has just locked out the feature. It's the very same feature that Nintendo is selling as one of the main features of the Wii U, and Sony has an opportunity with it's new console to make this available for all new games as well. Why wouldn't they do this?
10.) Game Pre-loads
With all PS4 games likely to be available for digital download day and date of their retail counterparts (like the Vita and many PS3 games already) a pre-load system is a must. PC gamers have enjoyed this functionality for years now and bringing it to console would be brilliant. Imagine being able to download the latest Call of Duty (if you're not a fan, pick your multiplayer game of choice) a week in advance of release and being able to hop into a game right at 12:01 AM on the release date without having to lineup at a store and come back first. Sure, lining up at the store for midnight launches is cool and fun, but it's also usually damn cold and sitting at home with a beer sounds better where this adult-ish gamer stands (sits).
(Edit: Apparently you can do this since sometime last year, news to me as I buy my games boxed, but there ya go.)
So there you have it, the top 10 things we think the PlayStation 4 should do right. Have some ideas that didn't make our list? Chime in below and lets discuss.