It’s January 2020, and nothing is going on besides game delays. So let’s ramble some more about the upcoming generational shift. It’s easy to be excited about the things we know about; as both Microsoft and Sony's consoles are looking hella powerful in their own right. Some of the rumored features are sounding great. But most of it is new stuff or the usual powering up that happens. One thing I’m particularly interested in is righting wrongs.
What I mean by that, is despite being in its final year before the downturn towards sunsetting, there are issues with the PS4 and Xbox One platforms that haven’t been addressed. Some of them were probably never going to happen, and others just didn’t become “important." Either way, here are some things I’ve been whining about for years now, that will hopefully be addressed with the Xbox Series X, PS5, and whatever Nintendo does next, I guess.
This is the biggest one for me. When it comes to actually curating your video game collection, especially if you’re all digital, each and every console available right now is just terrible. It’s like the games industry collectively decided that giving a crap about a good UI experience wasn’t worth time, money, or revisiting. From the PS4’s flaccid carousel and barebones folder options to the Switch’s Literally Nothing, no console makes tidying up a collection a thing you can really do. It’s either buy physical and have a nice shelf with an ugly digital dashboard or just the ugly digital dashboard.
Meanwhile, PC-based platforms have only made improvements in this arena. Hopefully we’ll go beyond things like purchasable themes for the next gen, and get experiences like the 3DS or PS3 that allowed for much more tangible organization.
Accessible USB Ports
If we’re going to stick with USB ports as our catch-all for attaching things to consoles, can we please not have to pull the box out and turn it around like a deadly puzzle in an ancient temple every time we need to maneuver a cord? Despite all their power and fidelity, the Xbox One and PS4 are not interested in convenience or logic when it comes to ports. I shouldn’t feel the need to buy a hub for my stinkin’ PlayStation, but here we are.
Controller Charging Solutions
Speaking of USB ports, I’m also tired of how much of a pain it is to upkeep your controllers. The ones for the Xbox One don’t even come with rechargable batteries! What is this, the dark age? I jest, but seriously, it sucks to constantly have to have a cord at the ready or purchase an external charging unit.
Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch’s joy-cons just snap onto the dang console and charge with no hassle (and the dock has a couple of USB ports right on the side, in plain sight. Shout outs to Nintendo here.
Microsoft and Sony should really just bite the bullet and include a hardware solution for controller charging.
Oh no it’s a Lucas White article on CheatCC; he’s gonna whine about backwards compatibility! You’re damn right I am. This generation was shameful when it came to backwards compatibility. Sony didn’t even try, and that extended to even the PS1 emulators! Sure, some PS2 games came out, but it's too small of a list for that to matter much. (Shout out to Dark Cloud, though.)
Meanwhile, Microsoft just kind of randomly rolled out games, and it wasn’t until later in the generation that we started getting cool stuff. But then the company just decided it was done, presumably (hopefully) due to the generation shift and what’s in store.
But look, we’re basically just gaming on PCs with cool cases at this point. Backwards compatibility is important and more doable than before. Yes that’s an oversimplification and the PS3 was an incredibly ludicrous piece of gaming hardware, but I’m being incorrigible.
Accessibility has really only grown majorly as a concern outside of people directly involved in recent years. Many games, especially in AAA, have made great strides in being more inclusive and open with respect to subtitles, difficulty settings, and color options. The consoles however, didn’t really ship with anything notable on day one. Options were added over time, especially on the Xbox side of the equation. However, this stuff is all still buried in settings menus you have to navigate to first. Next gen, I’d love to see accessibility options take the stage as a natural part of the onboarding process. Making sure anyone can play who wants to should be a priority, not a firmware update