3 Ways Sony Can (And Should) Improve The PS4 This Year

Sony has had one of its best console launches with the PS4 and experienced a solid all-round start to the console’s lifecycle. But now that the dust has settled and the excitement has died down, it’s time to look to how they are going to improve the platform in the long run – and what they should reveal come this year’s E3.

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Backwards Compatibility

One of the most disappointing exclusions from both the PS3 and PS4 has been the lack of backwards compatibility, meaning that if you wanted to play your previous generation games, you either had to keep the old consoles or shell out to re buy from the PSN store.

Now though, that’s set to change, as Sony have unveiled their plans for the Gaikai streaming service that they teased when they first unveiled the PS4 last year. Officially called Playstation Now, Sony hopes to bring the entire PS3 catalog of games to a multitude of devices, such as the PS Vita and other platforms.

The only thing that Sony have yet to reveal is the price plans, i.e. will you have to pay per game or will it be a monthly subscription like Netflix; or the release date as the current launch window is Q3/Q4 of this year.

That is only half of it as there are plans to bring the PS2 and PS1 titles to PS4 using emulation, which means the added bonus of HD enhancements. This would mean that the upscaling effect of current downloaded PS1 titles would be eliminated and replaced with what we have become accustomed to with the HD remasters of titles such as the Prince of Persia trilogy. It also means that any latency problems that come with the Playstation Now service will be eliminated.

Support External Devices, MP3 Files and PC Media Streaming

In what came as a surprise to many, Sony announced that the PS4 won’t support the use of external hard drives to play content, the ability to play MP3 files or to stream content from home PC’s either. While some would look at this and wonder what the problem is, the vast majority of gamers saw this as a huge downside. While Sony had built this image of the console that was ‘For the Players’, this late announcement so close to the launch of the console angered many.

Let’s start with the problem of external hard drives. The main one being that each game now requires a mandatory install, and with some installs reaching 50GB in size, that standard 500GB hard drive is going to fill up fairly quickly. Add to this the amount of indie games that are download-only and the titles offered under the PS Plus service, and gamers are going to find that they are going to be swapping out or upgrading hard drives fairly regularly.

When it comes to the lack of MP3 support, this isn’t one that bothers me personally. Ater all, if I want to listen to music, I can just as easily use my laptop or phone. However, for those who do want to use their console as an all round home entertainment system, I can see where they would have issue. Not only does it mean that they can no longer use the PS4 to play their personal collection, it also means that they if they want to play music from their PS4, they would have to subscribe to Sony’s own Music Unlimited service.

Finally there’s the lack of support for a media server, which for those who do want to use their console as an all round device, would disadvantage them. This means that users wont be able to stream any video content from their PC in one room to their console in the living room, and would have to subscribe to yet another service just to access the same content.

More Share Options

The idea behind the share option on the PS4 was for players to show off their skills to the rest of the world, but without the option to share footage via YouTube, this particular feature doesn’t seem to be as fully realized as it should be.

After all, when people want to watch people play videogames, the first place that they go to is YouTube, and while you can share to sites like Facebook and Twitter, not many people will seek out videogame footage there.

However, with the recent changes implemented by Google regarding copyright footage, the ability to upload recorded gameplay to YouTube may now prove very difficult to do, especially for Sony who might be placed in a difficult position with their own footage being used.

This should not stop them though, as there are a huge number of gaming-related channels on YouTube, and a move to support direct uploads would prove very popular with them – as the smaller channels would no longer have to use a separate device to capture footage. There is a big call from many in the YouTube community for Sony to do this, and it’s a wonder why they didn’t have YouTube support from the beginning.

We are going to have to wait until E3 to see whether or not these last two will be implemented, but if Sony want to continue to win this generation, then adding these features to the console will be a huge plus in the eyes of many gamers.

 



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