PS4 & XBOX 720 – MOST WANTED FEATURES
The PS3 and Xbox 360 days are numbered. Sure, great games will continue to come out on those systems over the next couple years, but fans attention is ever shifting towards the next iteration of consoles. The PS4 and Xbox 720 have been in the rumor mill for quite some time now, and should be a reality sooner than later. Features of the systems have been a hot topic ever since those rumors started, but which ones are necessary and truly most wanted? Flydrs takes a look at some possible features of these next-gen consoles.
Graphically speaking, the PS4 and Xbox 720 most likely won’t be showcasing the same jump in technology that has been seen in the recent past. When the original PlayStation was replaced with the PS2, and subsequently the PS3, the enhancement in graphics was astounding. 2D was replaced with 3D, polygons became part of the gamers vernacular, and the overall visuals of games became stunning. Taking one look at games like Uncharted 2 / 3, Forza Horizon, or the upcoming Halo 4, and it’s clear that the graphical prominence of these games is remarkable. There is no doubt that games on the next-gen consoles will look better, but by how much? Granted, rumors of 4K capabilities are abundant, but how realistic or widespread would this feature even be, given the exorbitant costs of 4K TVs? If the visuals can only be improved incrementally, perhaps developers need to focus on how to better utilize the new technology, specifically with regards to AI systems.
The AI in current games have gotten noticeably better, particularly with a handful of titles that are coming out in the near future. One game that immediately comes to mind is The Last of Us, which flydrs has been raving about since the game was first announced. Here we see a game that has really placed an emphasis how enemies respond and react to the players actions. On the PS4 and Xbox 720, one would expect these improvements to be expounded upon. More sophisticated dialogue and choices would be well-suited. Take a game like The Walking Dead, where the choices a player makes fundamentally direct the storyline and narrative. While these choices are a start, the number of options is relatively limited, and the outcome often ends up in a similar, or even the same spot. That is not to discredit TWD; it’s one of the best games to come out this year, especially given its price. However, these examples of choices in games are one that should be taken to a new level on the next-gen consoles.
With the Nintendo Wii U, you see an excellent example of how older products can successfully be integrated with new ones. Not only does the Wii U play original Wii games, but existing accessories like the Wiimote+ are fully integrated with the new system. For one, this provides an incentive for existing Wii owners to purchase the new system, as their old collection won’t end up on eBay or traded in at GameStop. Secondly, the initial investment doesn’t have to be cumbersome to the point that it prevents people from buying the new system at launch. With the PS4 and Xbox 720, Sony and Microsoft would be wise to not completely separate their existing consoles with the new.
For instance, the PS Vita has yet to fully gain steam and acceptance by the PlayStation community. To be sure, the launch price of the system was certainly questionable, and while a bundle has been suggested, it’s clear that something needs to change before the PS4 arrives. A harmonious relationship between the PS Vita and PS4 would be both advantageous for Sony, and provide value to owners of the Vita. Furthermore, it might even incentivize people to pick up a Vita before the PS4 comes out. Cross-play needs to run more smoothly and be fully integrated with as many games as possible. Simply put, the Vita needs to be more complimentary to the PS4 than it is with the PS3.
On the Xbox 720’s side (and also applicable to the PS4), Microsoft needs to be cognizant of the fact that the current 360 controller is a great piece of hardware, save for the need to purchase batteries. Current hardware like the wireless controller should be fully integrated with the 720, with perhaps a new version made that doesn’t need batteries. While seemingly minor in scope, at $50 a pop, saving money on controllers can mean the difference between picking up a launch day game or not.
PSN and XBLA
The PSN and XBLA have been able to accomplish some amazing things on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Owners of these consoles have spent a considerable amount of money on these stores, and this shouldn’t be ignored. To that end, when these games inevitably pick up the PS4 / Xbox 720, they should be able to transfer games and save files to their new system. In addition, game sharing should also be kept or even improved upon. Increasing the number of systems that can be shared would be ideal, but what about the idea of selling game shares? Perhaps one could buy 10 game shares for $19.99. I could then share full games or DLC with family and friends, or use the game share to get a piece of content from someone else.
Aside from being able to transfer old games to the new system, or improving game sharing, another area that can be tightened up is online play in general. The free online of PS3 is noteworthy, but at times lacking compared to the paid online with Xbox Live. Both the PS4 and Xbox 720 should have free to play online, but a 2nd tier service with online perks. PS+ could be expanded on to include a more robust online gaming experience. Xbox Live Gold could be the higher-tier service for the 720. Most importantly, folks that don’t want these features would still be able to play online, preventing the online communities from being compromised. What are some ways in which you think online gaming could be improved?