With the PlayStation 4 still years away from launch, the features it will or will not contain are free for us to speculate and fantasize about. Never one to shy away from fantasizing (why this one time, I fantasized about Zhang Ziyi and I…well, never mind that), I've drawn up a wish list of the ten features I'd like to see included with the PlayStation 4.
- Shorter Loading - If there's one thing that sticks in my craw (whatever that means) more than anything, it's staring at loading screens. No matter how powerful systems get it seems loading times get worse and worse. Sony needs to include a boatload of RAM in the PS4 so that no matter how hard developers push it, games will stream and load quickly. More playing and less waiting is always a good thing.
- More Games - If there's one thing most gamers expected of the PS3, it's that it would have the most games, and the most killer exclusives. This just hasn't materialized yet. The PS4 needs to be easy to develop for above all things, so the system is inundated with great games from across the globe.
- Give Me RPG's!! - One of my favourite genres was expected to reign supreme on a PlayStation console for the third straight generation, yet the PS3 has been completely lacking in RPG's, getting trumped so badly by the Xbox 360 of all systems, that Microsoft's console has actually made some headway in Japan where the original RPG-devoid Xbox was embarrassed. The RPG and videogame loving country of Japan has bought more than 5 million PlayStation 3's as of 2010, a low indicator of the system's lack of RPG's. The PlayStation 4 needs to right this wrong, and get RPG developers ready to go from day one.
- Better Voice Chat - If there's one technical aspect where the PS3 struggles, it's in the voice chat department. Built-in voice chat with crystal clear clarity should be a priority with the PS4.
- Physical Discs Please - As much as the concept of purchasing games solely online through the PS4 Network would be convenient, with the potential for cost savings by cutting out the middle man, I'm not yet ready to abandon the joy of bringing a game home from the store, tearing into that annoying wrapping, and staring lovingly at my new game disc and instruction booklet. Please give us the option of purchasing our games however we like, the old fashioned way, or the instant gratification way.
- Do My Work For Me - If there's one thing that cuts into gaming time more than anything, it's work. I fully expect the PS4 to be able do my work for me so I have more time to play. I'm counting on you Sony.
- DualShock 4 - The PS4 will almost certainly contain a new version of the DualShock, the undisputed king of videogame controllers. With that in mind, I'm hoping Sony changes absolutely nothing about this top-notch controller.
- Expanded PS Home - PS Home was a great idea, and I'd love to see it built upon in the PS4, with game and developer spaces for every game and developer, and unlockable rewards from games being integrated into Home.
- Full Backwards Compatibility - The PS2 did a great job with backwards compatibility, but the PS3 dropped the ball slightly, with far too many PS2 games being incompatible with the PS3. Let's see a PS4 that can flawlessly play all 4 generations of the system's games, with resolution and loading enhancements for the older versions.
- Don't Cost Me an Arm and a Leg - I already lost an arm and a leg with the PS3, please let me keep my single remaining ones with the PS4. Of course if you go ahead and hit me up with the 9 features above, you can have them. I can always play the PS4 with my nose if need be.
What I don't particularly care about are achievements/trophies. Don't get me wrong, the concept is good in practice, but all it ultimately amounts to is making gamers spend extra time on games completing often inane tasks for nothing but bragging rights. If you're a completionist like me (someone who refuses to put a game down until you've accomplished everything there is to accomplish), these extra tasks are usually a pain. Unfortunately this is the path games have moved towards for the last decade, adding content and playtime in superficial ways, while the actual games are getting shorter and shorter than ever to play straight through.
There's an early list of 10 (mostly) game-related features I'd like to see incorporated into the PlayStation 4. If the PS4 can expand and perfect the experience delivered by the PS3, they'll undoubtedly have the hottest system of the next generation on their hands.