As we near the inevitable announcement of the next PlayStation gaming machine, excitement for new hardware is at an all-time high. While the Wii U helped to scratch that itch ever so slightly, nothing will truly satiate the tech-hungry nerd within like a shiny new console from Sony or Microsoft. Since a couple of us here at GR are of the opinion that Sony will be first to pull back the curtain, we're going to kick things off with a wishlist for the PlayStation 4.
7. DualShock 4 With Improved Triggers
Many would argue that the Xbox 360 has an edge over the PlayStation 3 when it comes to its controller. The ergonomic design, smooth concave triggers, and offset thumb sticks make it a favorite among gamers, especially fans of first-person shooters. While I don't think Sony should abandon the DualShock design completely (especially if that means a pull-apart Move controller) [Or getting rid of a D-pad that actually works. ~Ed. Nick], I do think the controller could benefit significantly if the triggers were a bit more like the competition's. The thumb sticks, buttons, and form factor can stay the way they are, as I'm sure PlayStation fans have grown accustomed to the layout over the past 15+ some-odd years.
6. 4K Support
Sony's made it pretty clear that 4K is the future—at least as far as they're concerned—so it'd be foolish for them not to build this super high-def support into the next PlayStation. While, yes, 4K televisions won't be a mainstream staple for at least a few years, let's not forget Sony's promise to deliver a ten-year lifespan for each of its consoles. If you believe 4K won't catch on, then I'm willing to bet that you weren't at CES earlier this month. Virtually everyone that has seen these televisions in action is convinced that this is the future, noting that the jump in quality is more significant than you might think.
5. Free Online Gaming
One major advantage that the PlayStation Network has over Xbox Live is the ability to play games online without having to pay a monthly subscription. I really hope that they continue to offer this with the PlayStation 4, while still providing PlayStation Plus to those who want access to free games for a yearly fee. I know a lot of gamers that lean toward the PlayStation 3 solely based on this fact. Sure, there isn't cross-game chat, but we'll get that with the next console… right? RIGHT?!
4. Backwards Compatibility… Via Cloud Streaming
We know that Sony has something cloud-centric cooking with its recent acquisition of Gaikai, and I really hope that it comes in the form of a streamable back catalog. Perhaps we'll see a second tier of PlayStation Plus, where those who shell out a bit of extra cash will have access to the massive libraries of the original PlayStation and PS2. Who knows, maybe they'll even find a way to squeeze some PlayStation 3 games on there as well.
And why stop with just PlayStation 4 support? Who says this service can't carry over to the PlayStation Vita as well? Clearly I'm a bit of a dreamer, but something like this isn't too far out of the realm of possibility. Will we see it day one? That would be ideal, but something tells me we'll have to be patient as we wait for Sony to work out all of the kinks.
3. Second Screen Connectivity With Vita
For whatever reason, Sony likes to copy Nintendo. We saw it with the Move controller, and again with LittleBigPlanet Karting and PlayStation All-Stars. I really hope that they don't feel compelled to create a whole new tablet controller, when they've already got the perfect solution out on store shelves. There are loads of untapped potential for interconnectivity between the PlayStation Vita and the upcoming console. If done right—which sadly probably won't happen—the PlayStation Vita could blow the Wii U's GamePad out of the water.
The issue here is that the Vita almost certainly won't come bundled with the PS4, so not everyone will have this second screen option. [CrossBuy for PS4 & Vita? If only. ~Ed. Nick] As such, developers won't be quite as compelled to take advantage of the feature, especially if the Vita continues to struggle. I'm just holding out hope that Sony's got something so awesome by way of interconnectivity that gamers and developers will be willing to invest in the concept.
2. "PlayStation 4"
Sony opted out of going with the traditional numbering scheme for the PSP's successor, but I really hope that doesn't carry over to their console line. If the Wii U has taught us anything, it's that consumers like things simple and straightforward. If they decide to call it the PlayStation Orbis or something else along those ridiculous lines, they're going to confuse the average consumer. Sure, the number four bears some sort of negative connotation in Japanese, but seriously, are they really going to go out of their way to avoid using that number? I don't think so.
Plus, we're anticipating a bunch of fourth entries in a number of Sony's signature first-party franchises. Imagine if they came out of the gate swinging with God of War 4, Killzone 4, and even Uncharted 4; I wish I could throw Resistance 4 and/or Jak 4 in there, but that's a bit farfetched. Wouldn't that be a great marketing opportunity for the company? Oh wait…
1. A Price Tag Under $599
If there's one thing Sony should have learned after the launch of the PlayStation 3, it's that consumers are really turned off by a console with a price tag over $500. If the company has truly learned their lesson, we won't see the PS4 priced over $400, which is very possible, especially when considering the rumors that Sony is using off-the-shelf parts. There really isn't much more to say to this point. It's as simple as finding the right balance between cost and performance. Let's just hope Sony's found that sweet spot.