PS4, Xbox Infinity, and You
While most of us are unsure of what to expect, there is something we can all come to somewhat of an agreement on. Slowly, but surely, we are headed towards the next generation of video game home consoles. Whether they bring about a much needed upgrade to the hardcore gamer demographic, or seek to change the very fabric of entertainment as we know it, Microsoft and Sony are providing a new console this year for a new generation; complete with fully integrated social interactivity, a brand new library of games, and some other unknowns that could possibly float or sink the system. Since it has been confirmed that the PlayStation 4 will arrive to store shelves this year, it is pretty well known that Microsoft will not be left out in the dark, so we decided that it’s time for us to speculate on things we would like to see most with the newest iteration of home gaming consoles.
Since 1997, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been donating millions and millions of dollars to public libraries all over the world. Their goal has been to improve web connectivity in these facilities, and to promote open access digital literacy for people everywhere. In 2013, free and open computer access is a core feature of public libraries and that is at least partly thanks to the work this foundation has done.
As video games become part of core collections in public libraries, using them for programming is also becoming more common. Gaming nights for children, teens, and adults is very popular and represents a fantastic opportunity for console manufacturers to get in on the action.
I’d love to see Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo donate consoles to public libraries. Sure; it’s expensive and they’ll all lose a lot of money off the top, but it is also an incredible PR opportunity and a chance for them to demonstrate that gaming is for EVERYONE. I realize this is a total pie in the sky, but I’d like to believe that the developers of the three consoles view video game enthusiasts (both existing and potential) as more than just ATMs in shoes.
What I want to see from nextgen consoles is polishing up all the nongaming aspects of the consoles, such as the built-in browser, Netflix app, and the music apps. While my consoles aren’t my first choice for using these features, sometimes I’m too tired (read: lazy) to go up to my room to get my laptop and that’s their time to shine.
Instead of a nice streamlined process to find what I’m looking for, most of the time it’s an exercise in how patient I can be with the absolutely shitty search function that insists on giving you a list of letters that you have to scroll through instead of (God forbid) a regular keyboard or even a simple T9 keypad that has been around for almost 20 years. Especially with the release of the Xbox Smartglass app a few months ago and the increase of control options now and upcoming, there shouldn’t be a reason that it takes me longer than 10 seconds to search for something, find it, and start enjoying it. Get your shit together consoles. I understand that your primary use is for playing games, but if you’re going to bother making the system capable of doing all these multimedia functions, maybe make them not crappy…
As a recent addition to the #PCMasterRace, I’m a bit at odds as to what I want out of new consoles. If I’m being honest, I want both Microsoft and Sony to bring the thunder when it comes to exclusives. Hopefully the new IPs will start rolling out soon — another Gears of War or inFamous isn’t exactly going to force me to invest. Unless there are some insane new features that haven’t been seen or heard of yet, I’ll happily play my multiplatform games on PC and defer to consoles for the exclusives. Both parties are equally guilty in my mind this generation when it came to delivering games that were worth buying each system. Don’t make the same mistake twice. I love having a light wallet.
Backwards compatibility is a thing that is amazing. It literally means I can take my old console that is a bit worse for wear and throw it in a closet to collect dust while my new shiny console plays Assassin’s Creed 2: Electric Boogaloo. I know it’s only a pipe dream, because major console manufacturers would rather try to sell you an old game online than give you a console that could play one. Still, though, wouldn’t it just be nice to open up your brand new PS4, plop in your Blu-Ray disc and be amazed that you didn’t have to wait off until the next God of War game comes out? That you had one to play at launch? That would be much better than Ridge Racer.
I grew up in a small city where playing games with other people meant either them riding the bus to your house after school or vice versa. Now with social media being fully integrated in the PlayStation 4, I would like them to make it more than just seeing what your friends are up to. I want the ability to drop in and out of any game without disrupting their progress. I like the idea of streaming your gameplay very much, but as far as I can tell, the ideal hasn’t been fully realized yet. The notion of playing anytime with your friends seems like a logical request for ‘the next generation of gaming’ because not everyone has the time or patience to play for hours to get through a quest or mission, so it would be nice for it to be made easier for those people while still keeping the progress of the game from being halted whenever someone stops playing or joins in on the fly.
The next wave of home consoles is quickly approaching. Tell us what you want to see with your PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720-90 degrees-fusion!