Monday, February 14, 2011

Dream time for gamers

Just as Sony have announced the arrival of their first Playstation Phone and their next generation PSP the NGP I've started thinking about what I would want from the next generation of consoles.

Here is my wish list so far:

Firstly, interaction - don't drop the humble controller but do make it awesome from the start (don't release the rumble pack edition months after you've paid for the lame-ass edition). I don't want anything half-arsed, if you're going to build in motion sensitivity build it in properly! I love the speakers in the Wii remotes. Please copy this Sony and Microsoft!

Of course the Wii has shown that there is a market for other forms of interaction (and Playstation Move and XBox Kinnect have been launched so that MS/Sony can get their cut of this market). The Wii really changed everything. I doubt these new ways of playing games will disappear as a gimmick. I just hope that traditional gaming doesn't die as a result.

Innovate - has anyone created a game with audio control before? What about touch screens, is there a place for this sort of tech in the gaming domain yet? Certainly touch has opened up new gaming possibilities not available before, can Angry Birds work with a controller? I doubt it (although I've yet to try it on the Ps3)

Have fun - of course there are other ways of controlling certain games that require specialist equipment, e.g. Karoke mics, drum kits, guitars, dance matts, balance or fitness boards, etc - these are all great and have their place. So basically carry on as you were here please Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft/Newcomers?

Secondly the hardware: I want to see some kick-ass graphics and massive processing power in any new system. The Wii's only flaw was a lack of power. The PS3 and XBox rule here, but even they are being stretched these days. 

Blu-Ray player - This is one of the most expensive parts of the PS3 but to drop it would be mad. People like owning things i.e. disks, I want a console I can play my old games on (dropping a disk player would make this impossible), and I want to play Blu-Ray's - part of the attraction of the PS3 is it's a Blu-Ray player, and regardless of how big my hard-drive is one day it will get full! (and no - we're not interested in another format). 

Massive harddrive and cloud computing - A massive hard-drive is ideal to store all those updates and downloads (I've one of the larger PS3 drives and it's clogged; and seamingly with absolutely nothing). Cloud computing could allow my most frequently used data to be stored locally for quick access and my less frequently stored data to be stored elsewhere but not lost. i.e. infinite space on your console via cloud but no lag via hard drive. Cloud computing would allow for back-up's in case of system melt-down. In theory cloud could replace a HDD but only if broadband allows; personally I hate lags of any kind. Users still need locally cached data and lots of it.

Thirdly, I want an entertainment system. - I want my new console to be a practical media server, web-browser, family and indvidual games system, I want IP TV, apps?, social networks? (PlayStation Home had so much potential, as did platforms like SecondLife. I'm hoping the next gen consoles can deliver hi-res, Tron/secondlife-on-speed-eque social networking). I can already do most of this on my PS3; the PS4 I hope will take all of this to the next level (and hopfully integrate with other tech, i.e. my phone, TV, laptop...)

Fourthly, the visuals have to be great. I'm thinking HD and 3D, ideally without the need for silly glasses.   Saying that, is the time right for virtual reality helmets to make a return? Why not, with Kinnect/Wii/Move like controls a VR helmet could fully immerse you into the gaming world (of course the potential for bumping into coffee tables needs to be worked out!)

Finally, make it work - no red rings of death, no half-arsed attempts (yes, I'm talking to you PlayStation Home) - just get it right!

The TechRadar articles are great for some further reading on the next gen consoles:

I'd love to hear what extras you think they should have have. Does anyone have the word on what they are planning?

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