. Custom soundtracks
For all their bland dashboards, there’s one feature that the Beast That Shall Remain Nameless has always waved over the PS3 like a bully holding a sticky bun above a hungry boy’s head: custom soundtracks. The ability to play whatever music we like, whenever we like, is pretty much essential – especially given the PS3’s place in the home as a massively efficient media server. For something like Red Dead Redemption, splunging Nicki Minaj over the top would obviously be punishable with death by Chinese burns, but we can think of plenty of games – including and especially anything published by EA – that desperately need this. For PS4, please.
Remote play for everything
‘You want the moon on a stick, you do.’ Yes, we do. Also: remote play for everything. The technology is already there for the Vita and PS3 to communicate, like two beautiful lovers whispering about games. Give the Vita a genuine boost by making Remote Play work on everything. Suddenly, opposition consoles are obsolete and the world is a wonderful place. Continue playing Grand Theft Auto 5 while you eat dinner with your parents, have a toilet or go to bed. We want it for PS4, and we want it for everything.
Nothing kicks excitement quite so squarely in the soft bits and getting a new game, running home, popping in the machine then having to wait for a length PS3 update. Then a restart. Then a game update. The weeping and shouting. Background updates would largely eliminate this frustration, and make us feel like amazing, multitasking, ambidextrous ninjas . Failing that, give us a shiny handheld app
that lets us queue the updates while we’re out drinking frappuccinos.
Cross game chat
We bet of some of you thought that this existed already, but you just hadn’t found it. It’s that ridiculous that cross game chat isn’t already a thing. The ability to tell your friends the ending of Arkham City while they play something else should be considered a basic human necessity, like bread, water and marshmallow wafers. It’s a community staple, and would give us even more reasons to spend every moment of our waking lives in a pleasing PS3 haze.
Auto Trophy syncing
Syncing trophies can feel like long division using an abacus. Intricate, opaque nonsense that leads to something intangible – not to mention the fact that it wastes minutes of precious game time. Yes, we want people to known how many games we’ve Platinumed, but do we want it to feel like work? Absolutely not. It’s something that PS Plus users already had, but in an age where trophies are such an integral part of gaming, auto syncing trophies should come as standard. To use a car analogy: this isn’t a Blaupunkt radio – it’s the steering wheel.
Better web browsing
Having a web browser is moderately handy. Having one that’s borderline unusable? Less so. Touchscreen phones were the stuff of Tomorrow’s World speculate-lies when the PS3 came out, so any kind of browser was an added treat. Since then, smartphones have explored numerous ways to make browsing the internet quick and easy –Sony now needs to do the same, and come up with something better that laboriously jabbing in letters on a sluggish QWERTY keyboard. Go talk to Google, see if you can borrow Chrome. It’ll be great.
Better account management
Type ‘PS3 account management’ into Google and you get pages of FAQs, manuals and sub-sections detailing how it all works. It’s drier than a sand Ryvita, and it takes a law degree to understand fully. By the time the PS4 comes around, it needs to be cleaned, streamlined and far more intuitive. This extends to better control over the XMB, which game sometimes feel like an everything-drawer, where the stuff that has no other place gets hidden. It’s wonderful that the PS3 lets us do so much: it would be more wonderful if the PS4 actually made it easy.
Cloud streamed demos
Now that Sony owns Gaikai, cloud gaming is almost a certainty
– it’s a ‘when’, not an ‘if’. However, with Sony maintaining that retail will form still a big part of the PS4 strategy, we’re not likely to get cloud support for the release of the new machine. Instead, we should ease ourselves in gently with streaming demos, getting a taste for this deliciously easy alternative to filling up your hard drive. All we need now is for someone to learn how to stream New Manual Smell, and the cloud will rule.
Proper TV on the XMB
We do love the iPlayer, but is it as good as real telly? No, it isn’t. PS4 should give us the full functionality of television, but better. Give us a big fat hard drive and means to use it – and maybe a monstrous 4K to play it on
. An EPG optimized for the next-gen machine, and the ability to record Come Dine With Me while play Army of Two. This is technology that’s so old now it’s almost fossilised, and if the console is truly going to move from bedroom to living room, it needs to incorporate TV. Even if most of the programs are rubbish.
Backwards compatibility for everything
We know that console manufacturers don’t like backwards compatibility – maybe because we than have to spend our pennies on old games via online stores – but we’ve spent years fighting in your name on gaming forums and YouTube, and by Criminey we deserve a treat. A day will never come when the scowl of Arkham City doesn’t tempt us back, and all those Collector’s Editions can’t sit festering and unloved on our shelves forever (no, we’re definitely not selling them). If only for their sake, give the PS4 backwards compatibility. They’re like children to us.