No more backwards compatibility
Backwards compatibility has always been a luxury for those purchasing new hardware. It allows you to enjoy an older allotment of games that maybe you hadn’t experienced yet or just simply wanted to revisit. Fact of the matter is software stagnates because the option of creating for an antiquated platform, well, is still an option. Besides creative boundaries it is another expense that drives up the cost of hardware. If Next Gen hardware eliminated this “luxury” from its specs we could see lower hardware prices out the gate, which means you can get that awesome new system faster. No more $600 price tags like the Playstation 3 at launch. Granted the PS3 had a lot under the hood for that asking price, but that price would have been lower had the feature never been implemented to begin with.
Ostensibly, when you leave this feature in, you are afraid to let go of that platform, but in order to ensure your newest system can thrive, you need one less mouth to feed. A similar problem is plaguing the Vita, not in terms of backwards compatibility, but Sony just not pulling the support plug on the PSP, but that is a whole other can of worms.
You can pay homage to your previous system by incorporating what worked well into the new one, just leave out the ability to play those old games to ensure forward thinking on behalf of developers and that your consumers are supporting your new venture 100%.
Ditch motion controllers or bundle them in from the beginning
I have jumped between both camps when it comes to motion controlled gaming. I hated it at first, then saw the value and purpose it served, but then kind of fell somewhere in between. I currently own all three motion controlled platforms (Wii, Kinect, and Move). Do I think they serve gaming well in some capacity, yes, but I also think that if every single person who buys a new console doesn’t have it, what’s the point? I have all current motion controlled platforms, well, because I have a compulsive spending problem, but I also own them so I could partake in all of the experiences that come with each respective platform. Just cut out that middle man with purchasing that stuff separately.
They want to include a variety of controlling experiences, I get that, I really do, but what I don’t get is why they want to create an experience that only a fraction of that user base can enjoy. And even that fraction of the user will be segmented even further by those who actually show interest in a particular piece of software.
So if Microsoft wants to go a second round with Kinect and if Sony wants to do Move again, go for it, but bundle it from the onset. Give developers an entire cycle to create for it and you will get (on occasion) an amazing piece of software that creatively uses said motion platform, not just experiences that have been shoehorned in at the ass end of a console cycle. Make sure that every single home that buys your new system will have the option to play every experience that becomes available for it (whether they choose to or not), or don’t do it at all. This generation created a rift between gamers because of this and needs to be avoided come next.
Avoid multiple SKUs
There is nothing more confusing to a consumer than trying to explain to them that the same system will do different things, because one has a larger hard drive and this one has two extra USB ports, and then this one has HDMI, et cetera, et cetera. Last generation was a nightmare for people buying systems (at least non-gamers or if you were buying a Wii). This time around let’s keep it simple. Let’s take a cue from the PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, and Dreamcast generation and keep it to one SKU. I understand how silly that may sound, take a step backwards moving forward, but I think it would serve all of us much better than having to wrap our heads around 2, 3 or 4 different permutations of the same thing.
I know more people are gaming now than ever and each person exhibits different demands for what they want their system to be able to do, but couldn’t Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo create one killer version of their hardware that could blanket an entire gaming audience, as opposed to creating a 4GB version that can’t handle anything more substantial than an app or a small downloadable title. I am not opposed to console redesigns, the slims if you will, but wait on them too, reduce buyer’s remorse as much as you can.
Give us definitive SKU, one that is going to rock our socks off, one that is going to have such an obscenely large hard drive we never have to worry about filling it. Will this happen? I highly doubt it, but its food for thought.
Make web browsing and social media easy to use
PS3 and Wii have web browsing capabilities, but are a pain in the ass to use and the Xbox 360 has cool Facebook and Twitter apps, but they are a chore to navigate. So I propose that every Next Gen system works on a way to make all of the aforementioned items run as well as they do on my smartphone, tablet and computer.
Let’s face it, we love social media and we want to use it everywhere and on everything. The Next Gen systems are going to have more robust online communities and the integration will be more noticeable than ever. So let them work seamlessly with one another. Let me float from one app to another without closing them, let me tweet, then in the next breath like a status update on Facebook.
It’s already being done on tablets, smartphones, and computers and it works really well, so let’s make the next lineup of systems do it the same, if not better.
Integrate with other devices
This generation started to do this, but really didn’t do anything too mind boggling. I’d say it was a good warm up, but this coming generation needs to bring the heat. Every new console and I mean every, needs to integrate intimately with other devices we use in our daily lives (smartphones, tablets, computers).
I want to start a video chat on my phone, than pick it up on my Xbox 720. Or I want to be playing a social game on my tablet and transition it to my PS4 when I get home from work. Maybe even start a movie on my laptop and finish watching it on my Wii U. These are the kinds of things that can’t be negotiable moving forward. Consoles have evolved so far beyond just playing games this generation and with that evolution continuing, we require greater integration.
The Wii U is set to come out by year’s end and details about the next Xbox and Playstation still are taking up residency in rumor land, but let’s hope that these things, these thoughts are floating around in the great minds developing the next wave of systems.
So what do you think of this list? What did I miss? Do you agree or disagree with any of these ideas? Sound off in the comments section and let us know what you think the Next Gen consoles should be capable of.