In a little over a week, Sony is expected to announce their own entry into the Eighth Generation. Regardless to whether or not we actually need a new Playstation (we don’t), Sony knows as well as I do that people are more willing to pay for something new and shiny than something older, cheaper and just as good. Ain’t novelty just grand? Anyway, the new console is coming whether I like it or not, and I wouldn’t be a good game blogger if I didn’t slap my keyboard for a couple hours until the internet knows my opinion on it. I have to admit, a new console would give them the opportunity to make some improvements. So what would I give the next Playstation?
Do Social Gaming the Right Way
Ever since grandma started selling her heart pills to buy Zinga tokens it was pretty clear how big social gaming was. The problem is that people didn’t know how to do it right. You see, when most people hear about social gaming, this is what they think about. Don’t feel bad, even Nintendo got it wrong. Social gaming isn’t about annoying Facebook updates. No one cares about that. No one. It’s about sharing your gaming experience with others. Just look at Twitch.Tv. Gamers have been doing livestreams for a long time, on sites like Livestream, Justin.Tv and Ustream. But Twitch.Tv is the first one who really noticed the trend and went all out in supporting the community. And let’s not forget the 53,594 Let’s Plays lurking YouTube. This is the future, and Sony needs to pay attention. There are already rumors about the PS4 having streaming capabilities, but I really hope they don’t half-ass it. They need to make sure it’s easy to stream, record and upload Let’s Plays/Live Steams. Make it easy for people to watch and chat on their consoles. You could even give the viewers the option of voice chat rooms. They could even take it a step further and make all games in the PS Store have links so you can watch streams/recordings of people playing. Oh, and another thing. You know how Steam has community hubs for their games? Yeah, get to work, Sony.
Don’t Screw Up Backwards Compatibility
Let’s face it. With the exception of the Wii, backwards compatibility has been a whole load of BS for this generation. It’s not like we’re in the sixth generation upgrading from cartridges here. If your new console is significantly more powerful than the last, then why can’t it do what its predecessor does? I know a lot of people getting the PS4 will be PS3 and probably PS2 owners, too. But that’s a lot of black boxes in your house. Why should we go digging in the closet every time we want to play an oldie? And what happens when the old console breaks? Then we have to pay $80-$200 for another one or else we’re left with a large collection of very expensive frisbees. I know that Sony consoles are generally pretty durable (my PS2 and PS1 are still in good condition), but not having backwards compatibility is going to cripple a lot of gamers. What I want is for the PS4 to play every Playstation game from the last three generations. Get on it.
Get Friendly With Third Party Hardware
Once upon a time I decided to shop for a nice gaming headset. After some research I found out that for some insane reason Sony built their console so that only a few headsets could hear in game audio. After a couple hours and an aneurysm, I just decided that I wouldn’t buy the headset at all. You see what you do to people, Sony? It’s 2013, there’s no excuse for us not being able to plug in any USB headset into your console and hear the game. In fact, it’s already possible for the PS3. It will let you listen to voice chat, but not your actual game. For a console where most of the exclusives are single players, I’m surprised that it invested more in people playing online rather than shutting themselves out from everyone else. But that’s not my only suggestion. How about you make it so that just about any USB controller on the PS3? I’d much rather play an FPS with my Xbox controller than the Dual-Shock. I just picked up Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. If this functionality had already existed on the PS3, I probably would have gone out and bought a Genesis Controller and USB adapter to go with it. Come on, use your imaginations.
Get a New Name
One of the many things I realize about life while I lie awake at night is this: Sony is weird. Just look at all the other console series ever released. How many of them change their names based on sequential numbers? We’ve got the Nintendo Nintendo 64, Gamecub and Wii. We’ve got the Microsoft Xbox and Xbox 360. We’ve got the Sega Genesis, Dreamcast and Failure. The Playstations just go 1,2,3. It’s worked so far, but it gets ridiculous after a while. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Legend of Zelda 14 and Call of Duty 8. This is kind of petty, but it needs to be said. I don’t know what Sony should name the new console. Right now it’s got the code name “Orbis”, but that’s really doesn’t roll off the tongue. My advice: go here and type in words until you get something cool. Then just stick “Playstation” in front of it and call it a day. Playstation Novus, maybe?