The PS4 and Wii U have already given us quite a bit to think about in regards to the next console generation. However, there’s always more that we can wish for. Here are some features that we hope will be implemented into the Wii U, PS4, and Next-Box sometime before their successors take the stage.
Sony has said that they were focusing on online game distribution with the PS4 because that is where business seems to be moving toward. However, there are still several people who are too paranoid to attempt to purchase a game online. It’s about time for online and offline game copies to meet in the middle.
The idea is simple: Whenever you purchase a physical copy of a game, you should get access to an online copy as well. There are plenty of ways to do this. You can have a game register itself on the PSN or Xbox Marketplace the first time you pop it into your console. You can offer online copies as rewards for filling out customer feedback forms included with the manual. Heck, you can just include codes for the online version inside every game case. We already do this for online passes. Long story short, when we purchase a game, we should be able to play that game in all its forms, whether digital or hardcopy.
It would also be nice if you could receive a voucher for a physical copy whenever you purchase an online copy, though that would surely create a lot of problems for retailers like GameStop at this point in time.
When Portal 2 announced that it was going to be using SteamWorks to allow PC users to play with PS3 users, the gaming world went wild. Finally, the very separate worlds of PCs and consoles were being brought together.
Then Sony announced that SteamWorks wouldn’t be an approved middleware, meaning that only Portal 2 would be able to use it, and the gaming community let out the collective sigh of deflated hopes.
With gaming turning toward a more digital format, it’s time we stop sectioning off our online communities. First-party developers have kept their online modes separate to try and force people to buy their console of choice. But at this point, people either have the money to buy both consoles or don’t have the money and stick to their consoles of choice regardless of their friends. It’s time for consoles to be able to connect to each other (including PCs) in order to bring the whole gaming world closer together.
Heck, if you really need a good reason to do it, you could always charge an extra fee for it.
We are getting so close to full-blown mod support in the console gaming world. Games like LittleBigPlanet provide incredible tools for user-generated content, and that’s just a few small steps away from modding.
Now, that’s not to say that mod support shouldn’t be regulated. If we let anyone mod anything they liked, we would eventually see a whole bunch of unfortunate viruses creep onto the PSN and XBLA. That’s just an unfortunate side effect of the immaturity of gamer culture, I guess.
However, if we could find some way to have Sony and Microsoft keep a close watch on the mods that fans create, then we would be opening ourselves up to a whole new variety of gaming experiences. After all, some of our most beloved games, like Counter-Strike, started out as mods. Not only that, but tons of great mods are open only to people who “jailbreak” their system. It’s time to let some of the legitimate customers in on some of the fun. There are plenty of gamers out there that would have paid a pretty penny for a legitimate copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl + without having to mod their Wii.
Built-In FAQs and Guides
FAQ/cheat code sites (like Cheat Code Central) have existed for almost two decades, and nobody has thought to build FAQ site integration into their console yet? For shame!
Let’s face it, the professional guide market isn’t exactly booming these days. Fans aren’t rushing to throw their money away on an official strategy guide when that official guide can’t be updated and patches can fundamentally change the way games play. Online guides, on the other hand, can be updated as often as games are. So it’s about time we see some of these become integrated with the consoles themselves.
Sony announced that the PS4 would be developed to run several processes simultaneously, and this alone would make a guide app priceless on a console. Imagine having a guide for your favorite RPG open in a sidebar as you play the RPG. With a little work, you could even integrate the app with gameplay itself. Find a new area, have the app scroll immediately to the area in question. Get a new item, have the app immediately display all of its info. There is a significant portion of the gaming world that uses FAQs for all of their gaming needs, so integrating their usage directly into the console would help out tons of gamers everywhere.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: March 20, 2013