5 Things the PlayStation 4 Needs
Sony has always performed moderately well in the video game industry, with three successful system launches worldwide and various game franchises, from "God of War" to "Uncharted," that have become quite popular. But not every step has been for the better, as its PlayStation 3 launch was stalled by a rather high price ($499-$599 to start). And an infiltration of its PlayStation Network by hackers in 2011 has left security in question.
For its next big hardware game console, the PlayStation 4, which is expected to be announced later today at a press conference in New York, we have some suggestions on how Sony can get everything right this time around. While these ideas may be a bit costly compared to the cheap way out, they would definitely do the company, and its loyal fans, some good.
Keep PlayStation Plus Services
There's a rumor that the next PlayStation will use more online premium services, a change of pace from the PlayStation Network on the PlayStation 3. One thing the company should keep is the PlayStation Plus program, which rewards loyal subscribers with free games on a weekly basis (like "Infamous 2" and "Vanquish"), as well as discounts and access to betas. In fact, this program needs to flourish on PlayStation 4, with even more game offerings and interactive services to give users their money worth.
Backwards Compatibility Is a Must
Another rumor is that Gaikai, the cloud gaming company that Sony acquired last year, will be utilized to stream PlayStation 3 games on PS4 hardware. While that sounds promising, a price point hasn't been revealed as of yet. To keep Sony fans from being bitter over their PS3 game purchases, Sony should make the PlayStation 4 backwards compatible with the software. Besides it's questionable how well PS 3 games could run from the cloud. "Kill zone 3," for instance, is 45 GB in size. Even the strongest network would have trouble chugging along to keep up with such a complex game.
Don't Make the PlayStation Move Technology a Priority
A leaked early build of the PlayStation 4 controller indicated that a PlayStation Move sensor, which would enable motion-sensitive gaming, would be built into the top. While it's a novel design – and a far cry from the weird-looking "glow ball" controller that's available now – Sony shouldn't force motion integration into its next generation of games. Instead, do as it does now – keep it optional. And for those who do take advantage of it, don't make it gimmicky. For instance, if you're playing a driving game, you should really feel like you're steering the vehicle, instead of just waving your hand blindly to turn.
Continue With the Diverse Mix of Games
If Sony did something truly right with the PlayStation 3, it was offering both quality AAA titles like "PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale" and the forthcoming "The Last of Us," as well as smaller independent darlings like "The Unfinished Swan" and "Dyad." The company should keep this tempo up for its next console, introducing not only a flurry of its popular franchises, but also new games and, more importantly, an avenue for independent developers to show off their chops. [See also: Indie Video Games Become Blockbusters]
Remember the Community
For its next system, Sony is bound to introduce a bevy of new online features to make its owners feel even more involved than ever before. That said, it should avoid introducing gimmicky services that take forever to get anywhere – like its real-world simulator PlayStation Home – and instead focus on attention-getting features, such as tournaments, giveaways and online chat functionality. Make the PlayStation 4 a social machine, not a chatty nightmare.