Be careful what you wish for

We want?
I’ve just read IGN’s article “12 Innovations we want from PS4 and XBox 720” and I think we all need to take a step back and think about what we’re hoping for. The main issues with consoles is the manufacturers putting security fences around them in terms of content and who owns what. They do this because often the hardware is sold (initially at least) at a loss. With protective measures in place such as XBox live and Playstations premium access service they get to charge you for things that on any other systems are essentially free. I don’t need a subscription to get on the internet with my iPad or Laptop. I don’t need a subscription to play against people in Battlefield 3 on the PC but I do if I want to do the same sort of things on the XBox. Why? Because they need to re-coupe money and want some control over what we do with their hardware.

 

Cloud Storage – All very well for save games etc but no harddrive? Really? Next time you move house or change broadband provider and they screw up the transfer (you all know they do) do you really want to be unable to use your sleek gaming machine because all your saves and potentially game media is online? I’m pretty sure I don’t. I’d like to ability to store things there if I choose but be forced to. I think XBox have this right at the moment.

 

Complete Online Retail – I want my cheap second hand plastic box complete with game that I never got around to playing when it was first out. Hell I only just finished playing Halo 3 the other month and that cost me 99p from a lucky ebay bid. Do I want all my media to only be available online where the retailer can inflate the price? No way. Think about it this way. Origin part of EA was selling “Knights of the Old Republic” online for £44.99 as a digital download. You can buy it in Asda with the physical media so you don’t need to ramp up your download limit with your hosting provider or waste 8 hours of electricity while it downloads for £37. So when the publisher owns the media they will charge you more, much more and you will have no option if you want to play the game than to pay that price. At the time of writing this the Origin store is currently down, I think Asda is however still open.

 

Retroactive Parity – Yeah good plan.

 

Unified Video Service – It would be handy to have a simple interface that lets you browse content from all providers I must admit but how is that going to work when you have so many different providers. What we need is a tweek deck for video services.

 

Automatic updates – Yes please. Ones that take your rights to legal action away, no thanks.

 

Mods – Well it’s a lovely thought but as they don’t even want you taking the cover of the hardware you spent your hard earn money on they’re very unlikely to let you modify it’s software. Hell you couldn’t even copy your save files effectively from your old dead XBox HDD to your new dying XBox HDD, they are that scared of you accessing it’s file system.

 

Stronger voice codec – Yes please, also a way of blocking the droaning idiots out would be a great deal of help.

 

Expanded achievements – Not a bad plan but again it seems to blend for a lot of developers into a way of charging you extra for things. If this leads to anything like the system that nearly all iPhone games go for where you get the basic game for free (basic as in it basically says “Hello World” at you) then if you want to play it you have to buy in-game coins or an in-game player to play for you or an in-game job to earn in game coins to give to your in-game player to spend on a shitty in-game iPhone game that has the worst money grabbing in-game system ever devised.

 

Backward Compatibility – Yeah maybe. It’s handy if you want to complete the games you never did but apart from that how many people have played an XBox game on their 360? How many people purchased the original PS3 with the backwards compatibility so they could play PS2 games? Not many I’ll bet and those that did will not still be doing so. Sure it would be handy but far from something to wish for?

 

More Non-games – Yes because every one of them makes me seem much less like an aging geek.

 

No more Microsoft points – See above for Expanded Achievements. While you are at it lets kill paying for XBox live. The internet should be free to use. Conversely no more Sony having such piss poor security that your credit card details get sold to the highest bidder.

 

Better motion tech – How about some motion tracking technology? The Kinect often decides that I have no legs or that I have managed to turn myself completely invisible. The games that use it are just as bad. The driving game where you are supposed to hold onto an imaginary steering wheel in order to turn the car was won by my daughter who simply did and impression of a windmill. Then again she won the bowling on the Wii just by sitting on the controller at the right point. Maybe there is something in this sitting down technique.

 

So the grump man says
So all in all IGN I think we need to wish harder and bigger as at the moment it sounds like everyone needs a nice powerful PC with an interface that even Wayne Roney could use. You would have your decent sound quality, mod-ing community, backwards compatibility (I still play “UFO : Enemy Unknown” on my PC). I can buy things online (if I choose) via any number of retailers not just the one my hardware provider chooses for me. Trouble is PC’s don’t come in a nice friendly box, they’re not simple enough for Wayne and the software money predominantly goes to the software publishers/developers not the hardware manufacturers.

 

That will never do. Minecraft anyone?

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