There have been a lot of rumors and speculation surrounding the Playstation 4 from Sony. With their upcoming press conference we might even find out in a few weeks. Some of the biggest topics are RFID chips imbedded in the discs, a new controller, and a revamped XrossMediaBar. Now I’m not saying the PS3 is a bad system but Sony could stand to make a few improvements.
The purpose of imbedding an RFID chip in a game disc would be to limit that disc to a single console. This means no more lending games to friends, playing on two different consoles you own, and no more game rentals or used games. That last one is kind of a big deal. Restricting the used games market would hit retailers like GameStop HARD as they make most of their profits from these sales. I know a lot of people who trade in and buy used games, myself included, and this would have a large impact on peoples wallets. So are there any benefits that could come from limiting a game to one console?
Cheaper games: There was a huge leap in the cost of games with the latest console generation; $60 is a lot to pay for a starving college student. One of the reasons for this steep price was because game developers were losing profit to used game sales. And it’s likely places like GameStop make more off a game than the developer does. In an attempt to recoup some of their lost profits game prices went up; though developers still struggle to make ends meet. If you could no longer play a used game and had to buy it new there’s less need to pad the price of the game for more profit. I know it’s wishful thinking but wouldn’t paying less for a new game be nice for a change?
Free Downloadable Content: DLC has been a hot topic recently among us here at 4Player as well as every gamer. Remember when you’d beat a game and unlock an alternative costume for the player or even get to play the game as a different character, all for FREE? Well that has become a thing of the past and now we pay for everything from costumes to hair color, most of which doesn’t change gameplay that much. If the price of games didn’t drop and they stayed around $60 there should be no reason to have to pay for DLC for a game. Everything small should come with the game or should be in a free update, for larger expansions they shouldn't charge ridiculous prices. I'm looking at you Capcom $40 for Dragon's Dogma expansion? Come on! If you have to pay full price for a game expanions should be in the $5 to $10 range max.
Sony has been using the current DualShock style controller for their past 3 consoles. DualShock came out in late 1997; that’s 15 years of the same style controller with a few minor updates. Now we all remember the atrocity that was the original Sixaxis design; a horrible hot mess of a boomerang. I doubt Sony is going to make that mistake again, but you know they have to have been trying to come up with something new. I doubt the new design with be drastically different from the current one; they’re going to drive the DualShock into its grave. There have been rumors of an LCD touch screen on the back of the controller, but I’m not sure what I think about that. What would you touch it with? Would you take your middle fingers off the triggers? Would you use your ring fingers and leave the main support of the grips to your pinkies? I think both of those would be odd angles for your fingers, but I won’t knock it will I try it.
There’s also speculation of biometrics in the grips of the controller that register things like your pulse and temperature. So is this going to be like Nintendo’s Wii Vitality Sensor? We all know how well that did. I’m curious as to if current features will remain in the new controller. Will there still be pressure sensitive buttons and what about Sixaxis? I don’t really remember using the pressure sensitivity or Sixaxis as of late for anything relevant. My assumption is that since most developers are creating games for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 they don’t bother adding in those extra features for the PS3 and just map the buttons the same on both controllers. I wouldn’t mind if they took both out personally. However if said features are removed that would mean if the system is backwards compatible you wouldn’t have access to those them in older games so they might have got themselves in a corner with that one. Either put in features no one is using, don’t put them in and have it effect backwards compatibility, or let people use the DualShock 3 which would limit sales on a new controller.
I have never been a huge fan of the design of the XrossMediaBar. The interface is so busy with buttons for this and that; I only use the settings section and maybe five or six other buttons on the entire display! The information box on the top right is too cluttered for its own good. The box is small so it has icons and a tiny ticker which I doubt people sit and read as it scrolls across useless information. The bad interface aside, I will say Sony did some nice things with their XrossMediaBar. It's fast and smooth compared to the Xbox 360 and the Wii or Wii U. They have nothing on how quick Sony got their home screen moving. The popup keyboard on the PS3 is also lightning fast and the word prediction using past used words is extremely helpful. I wouldn’t mind them keeping a similar style interface provided they clear out some of the useless clutter that it currently contains.
I am excited to see what the next console generation has in store for us. I used to be a “Sony Fan Boy” but over the past few years I starting leaning more towards my Xbox 360 for personal preferences in the consoles interface. Maybe with this new console Sony will convince me to come back, or at least leave some clothes at their place and stay over more often. Do you think this will be the first console ever I buy on day one? Do think and LCD on the controller is a good idea? What improvements do you want Sony to make? Leave your comments below.
*Also I know Kaz Hirai isn't CEO of Sony anymore and it will most likely be Jack Tretton making the announcement but Kaz is so much cooler.