Each new generation of consoles creates a huge amount of anticipation and enthusiasm. Gamers look forward to nothing as much as the introduction of a new platform. It’s perfectly understandable. New hardware inevitably means more impressive specifications and brand new features. These, in turn, lead to all kinds of new gaming experiences as developers take advantage of the latest hardware.
Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are set to launch at the end of 2020. So it seems like the perfect time to discuss the features that these consoles have to include. Gaming has changed so much in the last decade that things players never envisioned needing are now necessities. If the next generation is to be successful, these features will be an absolute must.
Digital Price Reductions
One of the biggest player annoyances is that digital games are the same price as their physical counterparts. In some cases, a title on an online store can even be more expensive. This makes little sense when you consider that digital releases don’t have to take into account production costs. Without having to construct boxes, print labels, and manufacture discs, publishers save money. But the savings are never passed on to players. Next-generation consoles should do something to rectify this issue.
Cross-platform gaming has become a big thing in recent times. While Sony was seemingly cautious about allowing players on other consoles into their ecosystem, they have lately warmed to the idea. As gamers are now playing on so many different platforms, including smartphones and streaming services, crossplay is even more important. Consoles that don’t allow you to team up with your friends regardless of their console will be frowned upon.
Proper Wishlists and Gifting
Although it is possible to purchase and gift a game on Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 offers no such functionality. Both platforms also lack a proper wishlist that lets you add games you want to buy from the store. The new consoles offer a chance to fix this issue. A wishlist that actually notifies users when a game is on sale would be very useful. Meanwhile, they should put in place gifting to take full advantage of the wishlist and allow family or friends to use the feature.
Bluetooth support is lacking in current generation consoles. Without the use of special dongles, Bluetooth devices simply don’t work. What’s worse is that both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only allow authorized accessories to function correctly. The latest platforms should get rid of this limitation and open up the hardware. This would save customers plenty of money but also allow them to use their favorite accessories. For example, you could use your comfortable wireless headphones to play games.
Backward compatibility is more important than ever before. Players have access to so many games, especially with the likes of Xbox Game Pass and EA Access. Digital storefronts also mean that most users have amassed big backlogs that they will not want to abandon. A lack of backward compatibility in the Xbox One at launch harmed its image and the same would be true of new consoles. Being able to play all your purchased games is an absolute must. Otherwise, there is little incentive to upgrade to the new hardware as it would mean losing access to your library.
Longer-Lasting Controller Batteries
There is nothing more infuriating in modern gaming than having your controller die. If you are in the middle of a particularly tense sequence or playing online, this can be devastating. It was never a problem in the past as controllers were all wired and didn’t run out of power. However, the modern age means that controllers are almost all wireless. Unfortunately, they usually only last a few hours before needing replacement batteries. While you can buy rechargeable batteries separately, they should be included as standard with vastly improved lifespans.
Plenty of Hard Drive Space
When the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launched, 500GB hard drives seemed like more than enough. However, games soon began to balloon to huge sizes. It is not uncommon for AAA releases to require installs of more than 100GB. That’s a huge problem as it means that players can only have a handful of games on their devices. The next generation of consoles must combat that problem with suitably large hard drives. Forcing players to employ external solutions is not a viable alternative.
Support for Digital Assistants
Although the Xbox One did include voice control with the Kinect, it now lags behind other entertainment devices. The same is true of the PlayStation 4, which doesn’t offer much in the way of support for digital assistants. As smart speakers are becoming ever more popular, integrating them with modern consoles makes sense. This would allow players to control media playback and app functions without the need for a controller.
What features do you think are absolutely necessary for the next generation of consoles? Sound off in the comments below!