Don’t get too excited about that shiny new Playstation 3 that you got for Christmas. If “unnamed sources” are to be believed, the PS3’s hardware will soon be a generation old. According to IGN, both Sony and Microsoft have plans to reveal their latest gaming console iterations come June. The two will be vying to one-up each other at E3, the industry’s biggest trade show. As such, we’ve taken the time to jot down 10 things that we’d love to see in the next generation of consoles.
We can’t emphasize enough that this is all speculative. E3 is still months away, and considering how painfully slow information trickles out the video game industry, your guess is as good as ours. Chime in with what you’d like to see in the comments.
1. Innovative 3-D Game Play — Super Mario 3-D Land proved that designers and engineers could use 3-D effects for practical purposes. Given the ever-expanding nature of 3-D technology, we’d love to see a home system find innovative, immersive ways to further gaming. From first-person shooters to soccer simulators, every genre could benefit from a 3-D makeover.
2. Free Online Play For PS4 — The über-profitable, pay-to-use Xbox Live isn’t going anywhere. Let’s hope that Sony continues to allow for free online play, courtesy of its Playstation Network, when the PS4 drops. PSN is a staple, but the newly implemented PSN Plus, which charges a monthly fee, could indicate that Sony will take their online services a different route. Playstation enthusiasts should be begging Sony to not become Microsoft.
3. More New Games — Sequels could be great, but new franchises are able to break ground in status quo-smashing fashion. The tech will be great but it won’t mean much if designers keep rehashing the same tired game formats. Originality was in short supply this gen so let’s hope the next go-round isn’t the same.
4. App Store — PS3 and Xbox 360 have a few apps but their selection is pretty limited. Borrowing a page from Androids and iPhones, some sort of App Store would be a welcome addition to our home consoles. Not to say that we’re pining for Angry Birds in our living room, but there are some genuinely awesome apps that have surfaced over the past couple of years. They’re typically nothing more than quirky time-wasters; however, there’s nothing wrong with that.
5. Mod Support — This is far-fetched, but neck-beards with poor PCs can dream, right? Mods from total conversions and user-made levels can turn games on their head and give titles hours of replay value. Extending them from PCs to popular consoles with ease would be impressive. Yet, with lucrative DLC and closed systems being what they are, we’re not holding our breath.
6. DVR Support Out the Box — You know what? Maybe they should stay separate—even if it’d be convenient to combine the two. Between Cowadooty marathons and It’s Always Sunny episodes, you’d never leave the house if both were on the same box.
7. Better Online Options — Party lobbies should be customary across all platforms. Also, isn’t it annoying to stare at the screen while friends and family go at it online in, say, NBA 2K? At least let heads watch the game while they got next. The consoles ought to provide these things up front so devs can worry about making their games better. Oh, and dedicated servers on all games would be great too. P2P is cheaper but tends to cause lag more often.
8. Free Online Arcade and Retro Games — Okay, so paying five or ten dollars for Sonic CD or Contra is reasonable. But it’d be awesome if Microsoft or Sony comped classics like Pac-Man or Tetris. Really, if we can play free online flash iterations of the game, we shouldn’t have to pay to play on our consoles.
9. A Better Cloud System — As computers turn to online clouds to store data, so, too, should video game systems. Transferring videos and music from computer to console is by no stretch impossible, but a system that automatically updates your console’s hard-drive to match your computer’s would be phenomenal. There would, of course, be a boatload of licensing battles to be fought, but the end result is something that every techie should want.
10. Built-In Motion-Sensor Cameras — You obviously can’t fault Sony or Microsoft for not including technology that didn’t exist when they created the PS3 and Xbox 360. However, considering the influence that motion-capture currently holds over the industry, let’s hope that systems come prepared with built-in cameras. And the benefits could extend past simply controlling a character without a controller. Imagine being able to make a real-to-life avatar, inserting you into the rugged world of Elder Scrolls. That would be some futuristic gaming.