The PlayStation 4 - My Tips for Sony

Posted by Nadafinga (953 posts) -

With the announcement of a new console just over the horizon, we sit in a pre-dawn light of possibility. With Sony squarely in second place behind Microsoft, they need to really "wow" people in order to make a move to become the console leader again. This post is not meant to be a fanboy rant, nor a Microsoft bashing post. It's simply some ideas I have that might get Sony back in the hunt to become a leader for consoles again.

Sony has already made some moves recently that makes their system more compelling. Most notably is PlayStation Plus. With PS+, subscribers get free games on an almost weekly basis, and it makes MS Gold subscriptions look more and more like a rip off. While MS has actually had the gall to jack up their price by $10 recently without offering a whole lot new or useful (why would I pay money to use Explorer?), Sony has been slowly winning people over by offering a rewarding, worthwhile program, without holding anything back (online play, Netflix access, etc.).

With this momentum, I think Sony is poised to really win people back over to their side, but they really need to set themselves apart...its not going to be enough to simply come out with a new console with better tech specs and graphics. They need functionality that players can only get from them. People are emotionally tied to their Xbox Gamertag and friends list, so Sony needs to really make a compelling argument to get people to switch sides. Here's some things that I think could really make a difference:

First, the no brainers

  • Offer what the current Xbox 360 currently does - you know the list; cross-game chat, voice messages, automatic trophy synch, etc.

  • Continue free online play - Sony has always hung their hat on their ability to provide online play for free, and its crucial that they continue this into the next generation. If they buckle and start charging like MS does, there will be little incentive for people to make the switch.

  • Continue PS+ subs into PS4 - This will most assuredly happen, those of us who have PS+ need to be able to continue our subscriptions into the new PS4 storefront, with freebies and discounts for the early adopters. It will make an argument right off the bat for people to come into the Sony ecosystem.

  • PSN ID import - I think this will most definitely happen as well, people have spent years collecting their trophies and are emotionally invested in it. They need to be able to continue that into this console.
  • Price - this thing needs to be under $500. Sony stunned a lot of people with sticker shock when they priced the PS3 initially at $600, and they would be foolish to do that again. I've seen rumors pricing this thing at $350, but I don't see them pricing this at anything less than $400. And going over $500 would doom their sales and allow Microsoft to swoop in and offer their console for cheaper. So somewhere between $400-500 seems likely.

These Might Happen Too [RUMORS]

  • Native game recording - The rumored "sharing" ability the PS4 might have is brilliant. Constantly recording the previous 15 minutes of gameplay that you can then go back and edit & share is a great feature that I know will attract customers. I know there's been plenty of times I've been in a game of Battlefield 3 and done or seen something amazing, and thought "Man I wish I had that recorded, my friends would love to see that!"
  • Controller Touchpad - This seems like it would be pretty easily implemented, especially since the tech already exists on the Vita, but I worry that they would actually be taking away buttons. Battlefield uses the select button for enemy spotting, and the touchpad would have to retain the function of being a reliable button for gameplay, rather than a gimmick. Customers don't want gimmicks.

These Probably Wont Happen, but Would be Nice!

  • Offer Steam overlay & cross console MP on PC for certain games - Sony has always had a more "open" philosophy than MS when it comes to their software. Valve and Sony have shown with Portal 2 that they can implement a solid and smooth UI for cross console multiplayer. I realize this might not work for a lot of games, but announcing partnerships with Valve & some other devs to commit to some games having this support will also go a long way with consumers. Remember, MS did not allow this functionality for Portal 2, and Sony can prey on this "closed system" approach and really set themselves apart.
  • Backwards Compatibility - I've heard this might be difficult to do based solely on the hardware being so different. Personally, I've never understood people's insistence that the next gen system be backwards compatible. I hardly ever go back a generation once a new one is released, and on the off chance I do, my old system is still sitting there waiting for me to turn it on. That being said, its a popular feature, and one that would certainly help sell the console to people on the fence.

Also, PS4 Games I want to See

Mirror's Edge 2

Battlefield 4 (with 64 player online)

(So, I guess I like DICE...?)

Thanks for looking at my ramblings!

#1 Posted by Nadafinga (953 posts) -

With the announcement of a new console just over the horizon, we sit in a pre-dawn light of possibility. With Sony squarely in second place behind Microsoft, they need to really "wow" people in order to make a move to become the console leader again. This post is not meant to be a fanboy rant, nor a Microsoft bashing post. It's simply some ideas I have that might get Sony back in the hunt to become a leader for consoles again.

Sony has already made some moves recently that makes their system more compelling. Most notably is PlayStation Plus. With PS+, subscribers get free games on an almost weekly basis, and it makes MS Gold subscriptions look more and more like a rip off. While MS has actually had the gall to jack up their price by $10 recently without offering a whole lot new or useful (why would I pay money to use Explorer?), Sony has been slowly winning people over by offering a rewarding, worthwhile program, without holding anything back (online play, Netflix access, etc.).

With this momentum, I think Sony is poised to really win people back over to their side, but they really need to set themselves apart...its not going to be enough to simply come out with a new console with better tech specs and graphics. They need functionality that players can only get from them. People are emotionally tied to their Xbox Gamertag and friends list, so Sony needs to really make a compelling argument to get people to switch sides. Here's some things that I think could really make a difference:

First, the no brainers

  • Offer what the current Xbox 360 currently does - you know the list; cross-game chat, voice messages, automatic trophy synch, etc.

  • Continue free online play - Sony has always hung their hat on their ability to provide online play for free, and its crucial that they continue this into the next generation. If they buckle and start charging like MS does, there will be little incentive for people to make the switch.

  • Continue PS+ subs into PS4 - This will most assuredly happen, those of us who have PS+ need to be able to continue our subscriptions into the new PS4 storefront, with freebies and discounts for the early adopters. It will make an argument right off the bat for people to come into the Sony ecosystem.

  • PSN ID import - I think this will most definitely happen as well, people have spent years collecting their trophies and are emotionally invested in it. They need to be able to continue that into this console.
  • Price - this thing needs to be under $500. Sony stunned a lot of people with sticker shock when they priced the PS3 initially at $600, and they would be foolish to do that again. I've seen rumors pricing this thing at $350, but I don't see them pricing this at anything less than $400. And going over $500 would doom their sales and allow Microsoft to swoop in and offer their console for cheaper. So somewhere between $400-500 seems likely.

These Might Happen Too [RUMORS]

  • Native game recording - The rumored "sharing" ability the PS4 might have is brilliant. Constantly recording the previous 15 minutes of gameplay that you can then go back and edit & share is a great feature that I know will attract customers. I know there's been plenty of times I've been in a game of Battlefield 3 and done or seen something amazing, and thought "Man I wish I had that recorded, my friends would love to see that!"
  • Controller Touchpad - This seems like it would be pretty easily implemented, especially since the tech already exists on the Vita, but I worry that they would actually be taking away buttons. Battlefield uses the select button for enemy spotting, and the touchpad would have to retain the function of being a reliable button for gameplay, rather than a gimmick. Customers don't want gimmicks.

These Probably Wont Happen, but Would be Nice!

  • Offer Steam overlay & cross console MP on PC for certain games - Sony has always had a more "open" philosophy than MS when it comes to their software. Valve and Sony have shown with Portal 2 that they can implement a solid and smooth UI for cross console multiplayer. I realize this might not work for a lot of games, but announcing partnerships with Valve & some other devs to commit to some games having this support will also go a long way with consumers. Remember, MS did not allow this functionality for Portal 2, and Sony can prey on this "closed system" approach and really set themselves apart.
  • Backwards Compatibility - I've heard this might be difficult to do based solely on the hardware being so different. Personally, I've never understood people's insistence that the next gen system be backwards compatible. I hardly ever go back a generation once a new one is released, and on the off chance I do, my old system is still sitting there waiting for me to turn it on. That being said, its a popular feature, and one that would certainly help sell the console to people on the fence.

Also, PS4 Games I want to See

Mirror's Edge 2

Battlefield 4 (with 64 player online)

(So, I guess I like DICE...?)

Thanks for looking at my ramblings!

#2 Posted by djou (828 posts) -

Thanks, this is a good, well-thought out list, my only contributions would be the following:

  • Not sure if you include this with XBox features, if so it still begs to be pointed out, make connecting to other players in game easier. Sending game invites and making game lobbies. The number of interface clicks and snail like response of the PS3 makes me not want to play multiplayer.
  • Put a large capacity HDD in the new console. I don't want to ever run out of space. Don't make the mistake of the WiiU and ask players to buy add ons, just launch with a 1TB or 500GB. One of the best parts of the PS3 was that it used a standard laptop HDD. Slap one of those in there.
  • Beef up the wifi capabilities, my PS3 has terrible wifi. Its slow and disconnects constantly even though the console if six feet from the router. However, don't remove the ability to have a wired connection.
  • A tangential point, but one that also should be pointed out, fix the online store, by that I mean make is faster to navigate and download.
  • Pre-load games. I think Steam connectivity is a long shot, but I don't understand why I can't pre-purchase and pre-load games.
#3 Posted by Nadafinga (953 posts) -

@djou: All excellent points. A lot of the functionality that the PS3 has right now (trophies, lobbies, invites, etc) was shoe-horned in after the fact. Its safe to assume this new system will be much better designed to handle that stuff.

#4 Posted by Funkydupe (3293 posts) -

More focus on digital games, downloading directly to HD. Try to move away from disks. Lower prices of AAA games.

#5 Posted by djou (828 posts) -

@Nadafinga: Good god I hope so. I started PC gaming last year and the social features of Steam slays PS3. The platform is no where near as stable but the simple functionality of in-game chats make it tough to go back to chatting with the XMB. I turned on my PS3 a few weeks ago and was still shocked I couldn't sort my game list which is 50+ at this point.

I haven't seen this posted on GB, maybe not even GAF (although the GAF controller discussion has been very interesting) but Reddit has the best rendering of what I hope the new controller will be. Its true to the dualshock but integrates buttons to allow for all the new features you pointed out. Although there's no side view to show if the triggers have been fixed or scale to show the ergonomics of the grips.

#6 Posted by Nadafinga (953 posts) -

@djou: Hey, I was dubious of this "touchpad" idea at first, but that mock-up looks like it could totally work.

And also, I'm pretty sure you can sort your XMB games. I think you hit and it will sort by alpha, date purchased, last played, etc.

#7 Posted by mikey87144 (1482 posts) -

I thought this blog post might be too biased but all of your suggestions are really well thought out. The Backwards compatibility thing is only an issue for the first 2 years of the consoles life cycle. After that you're basically playing exclusively current gen games. My only question though is how they're going to handle the digital stuff.

#8 Posted by djou (828 posts) -

@Nadafinga: I'm very dubious about the touchpad even after looking at the concepts. I imagine it will require a swiping motion. I tried it on my current controller and its quite awkward to take my right thumb and swipe it across the select/start button spots while keeping my hands on the controller. On Steam this is a simple left hand key stroke while I'm still in game controlling with a mouse, but this seems more awkward. It could work if Sony make the functionality easy.

I just hope they emphasize comfort and ease of use, over cramming in functionality. I remember the PS3 launch and how one of the touted features was that the PS3 could hook up to my computer printer. I have literally never used this and never will. A feature that was totally relevant when a console launches can become tired and dated fast, a useless touchpad could be an eyesore Sony will never live down if they don't implement it right.

Yes, the square button sorts but it defaults to a thumbnail view. On long list of games its very slow. I wish they would implement something closer to the current PSN store where you can scroll by letters.

#9 Edited by louiedog (2330 posts) -

Here's a no-brainer. How about an IR receiver? They touted the PS3 as this great media box. It was a cheap Blu-Ray player when it launched and they've added a ton of media services, but you still need a third party adapter to use a universal remote and most of them won't even let you turn on the system with it.

#10 Posted by Pezen (1465 posts) -

I wish they would hire someone to design a welcoming and user-friendly system OS. Part of what made my 360 the dominant platform (other than the friends list) was simply the UI of the console. It just never felt welcoming. Sure, Microsoft might not have needed 100 versions of their dashboard but somehow you still felt like you entered into a cohesive experience. Everything about the PS3 felt so cold and disconnected. But that's just me.

#11 Posted by Ubersmake (753 posts) -

I've ranted about this in other threads, but the PS4 (and the 360's successor) really need to make downloading not-installed games easier. This is something that isn't even dependent on the hardware, and every PC store from Amazon to Steam does this. Let's say I want to see what games I've bought. What's the easiest way to find them? Look through the store and see which games have the "shopping bag" icon on them? No. The easiest way, unfortunately, is to go through my Downloads list. That massive list of everything I've ever downloaded through PSN, unsorted, and full of everything including demos, themes, and the occasional soundtrack.

It really shouldn't be this difficult to re-download things I've bought a license for.

Otherwise, it's a very sensible list. :)

#12 Posted by DarthOrange (3495 posts) -

My uncle works for Sony, I'll pass these ideas along to him.

#13 Posted by Nadafinga (953 posts) -

@Pezen said:

I wish they would hire someone to design a welcoming and user-friendly system OS. Part of what made my 360 the dominant platform (other than the friends list) was simply the UI of the console. It just never felt welcoming. Sure, Microsoft might not have needed 100 versions of their dashboard but somehow you still felt like you entered into a cohesive experience. Everything about the PS3 felt so cold and disconnected. But that's just me.

It is interesting hearing the two sides of this argument. Some people prefer the warmer, more bubbly interface of the 360, while some prefer the no nonsense XMB. It really comes down to personal taste.

#14 Edited by ProfessorEss (7123 posts) -

Fixing the back-end would be the key for me.  Pretty much everyone I know abandoned Playstation multi-player long ago as a result of slow and iffy connectivity. Plus, there is nothing worse than coming home with a game, getting hyped to play only to find out you have an hour or two of system and game updates to download and install.
 
Every device on my home network has a fast, reliable and consistent connection except for the PS3 which is a total dice roll every time I turn it on. 
 
@louiedog said:

Here's a no-brainer. How about an IR receiver? They touted the PS3 as this great media box. It was a cheap Blu-Ray player when it launched and they've added a ton of media services, but you still need a third party adapter to use a universal remote and most of them won't even let you turn on the system with it.
This would be a great idea too!
#15 Posted by TheHBK (5407 posts) -

Price is really tricky. I really do think they will go to 500 bucks. Inflation and being scared to lose as much money as they did with the PS3 will keep the price up. Also, the year before the PS3 launch, the PS2 was at 99 bucks. The PS3 is still at 299. the Xbox 360's real sku is at 300 bucks. These new consoles will be up there in price. But at the same time, PC components have been going down in price. RAM is so fucking cheap! I feel like if they do get to the $500 mark, I might just say fuck it and build a new PC instead and spend 300 on the graphics card. I already have a good HDD I never used an a case lying around.

#16 Posted by zFUBARz (590 posts) -

This share thing has potential if it can export directly youtube, but 15 minutes is kinda lame, maybe it's just because I'm a GB user, but I've grown to really like long form video's, lets plays, that sort of thing. I could see a PS+ feature being 30-60 min recording plus the ability for commentary via the mics. Support like that would be an incredibly impressive step forward. Just having the ability to record gameplay like halo and most EA games have done for a while doesn't seem that impressive. Frankly anything less than Halo's replay functionality would be a step back.

#17 Posted by Coombs (3449 posts) -

I'm no fanboy I have owned almost all of the major systems for over a decade, But for me anyway MS wins for one simple reason The Controller.

I love the way the 360 controller feels, It just feels right. Until Sony can do that I don't care.

#18 Edited by egg (1339 posts) -

Two things I'd like to see are:

  • The option to use Vita as a controller. (with WiiU-like functionality) Granted, the main reason I want to see this is so Vita can become successful. But I don't see why Sony wouldn't want to do this anyway, since it would turn PS4 into a PS4 + WiiU. "It only does everything" --wasn't that the motto?
  • The ability to play all digital Vita games. (except ones that require touch or augmented reality) Maybe if you play using a Vita as a controller, you unlock new features/controls, such as using the Vita for inventory, or rear view mirror in driving games, while the game is on the TV.

oh and:

  • Remappable controls in the OS

oh and I dunno if this is possible, but what if Vita can stream gameplay to the PS4, so you can play Vita games on the TV? Actually wait, this wouldn't even be necessary, so long as PS4 can play Vita games. The only stipulation is that the Vita game has to be digitally downloaded. Then the PS4 would simply bring up the game you were playing and pull the save file remotely from your Vita. Transfarring would finally become a practical reality. (which is good because it means sites like yahoo would shut up about that) xD

#19 Posted by pudking (13 posts) -

"With Sony squarely in second place behind Microsoft, they need to really "wow" people in order to make a move to become the console leader again"

I'm sure the PS3 and Xbox 360 have both shipped approx 77 million units respectively. I wouldn't call that second place.

#20 Posted by zFUBARz (590 posts) -

Pretty sure the attach rate on 360 was way higher. as well as the constant income from gold memberships. I'm fairly certain they sold more as well, but really if we're gonna nitpick the Wii trounced them both did it not?

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