Whether you want to think about the next generation of consoles or not, some coffee infused, overworked technician is slaving away in their own personal silicone valley on the Playstation 5 right now. PS5 devkits are in studios, meaning developers across the globe now have the rough specifications for the Ps4’s successor.
My imagination wanders at the thought of what every journalist and writer in the games industry would give to get the exclusive scoop on the official specs. Hell, you could probably drop them from the sky into an area loaded with weapons and watch them massacre each other until only one survives, and Sony could offer these gladiators a lot more than a chicken dinner. Through personal experience and scouring the net, here are five things we want from PS5.
PlayStation Store Overhaul
Since gamers—and the industry itself—have taken such a liking to reboots and remasters, it’s about time Sony’s tech team marched out of their cave and rebooted the PlayStation Store. Words that come to mind when I think of the PS Store are “outdated,” “hassle,” and “ what the hell is this search bar?!” Seriously, the perfect example of whats wrong with the PS Store is literally represented by the search bar itself. You don’t have to look any further. The PS Store’s “auto-complete” feature is about as useful as asking a dead squirrel on the side of the road. The actual interface itself is incredibly crowded yet somehow fails to display anything useful. It’s enough to give someone eye-herpes when exposed to it for too long. Also sections like “PS1 classics” are now totally missing! Games that have been purchased digitally on PS3 just don’t appear in the store, or I have to buy them again. But that issue will be addressed later.
Let’s say you wanted to grab the Old Hunters DLC for Bloodborne. It’s going to take at least two or three menus. Navigating games with tons of DLC like Dead or Alive 5 is more frustrating than the worst online beatdown I’ve ever received in that game. Just “browsing” is a unpleasant experience in itself. I know plenty of people who have not purchased DLC for games they like because they are reluctant to navigate the PS Store. It’s a real shame because the store has some incredible flash sales year-round but fails to inform the gamer most of the time. The way the store communicates with the XrossMediaBar (XMB) home screen is atrocious, pretty much non-existent, which is a damn shame for gamers who are looking to save money on a game they are unsure of.
I picked up The Witcher 3 with both expansions for $30! I got the Devil May Cry 4 Remaster for less than $20, and I wonder what other games I’ve paid more for because I missed a sale. There are occasional discounts on premium items and currency in free-to-play games like Warframe, timed demos, betas, and even free trails for games like Rainbow 6: Siege. But the store does not effectively communicate any of these things.
Backward Compatibility and PS Now Improvements
This will be the deciding factor of whether I spend the money on the PS5 console or go to PC Gaming: going into PlayStation 5, I want everything I own on my PS4 to be digitally attached to my account so I can re-install it on my PS5. I want access to all my DLC, digital games, and anything else I got from the PS Store. If I sound irritated about this, it’s because I am! I’ve realized there is one feature that Sony hates, and that’s backward compatibility. Backward compatibility does not exist on PlayStation 4, though it was a feature on the PS3. I amassed a long library of games on PS3, both digital and physical, games I occasionally want to play without swapping all my wires and move my setup around. Sure, I could move my setup, buy another HD cable and have the PS3 and PS4 hooked up, but why should I have to? Especially when platforms like the Xbox one family are much more consumer-friendly about it.
There are PS1 classics I’ve installed on PS3, like Final Fantasy VII-IX, War of the Monsters, Mega Man collection, Legend of Dragoon and Raiden 3, that I cannot transfer to PS4. What’s worse is that Final Fantasy VII is right there in the store and it seems to be $20, compared to the $10 I paid years ago.
PlayStation Now is a decent streaming service. With a strong internet connection, any gamer could get lost inside its impressive library of games, some of them being very, very recent releases, too. However, if your connection speed dips, forget playing these games “now,” and think, “never.” The PS Never service is not consumer-friendly, especially compared to Xbox Game Pass, which directly installs the game, and is optimizing countless games to make the most of Xbox One X’s 4K output. This entire PS Now service needs to be torn down and rebuilt, especially if Sony continues to hate Backward Compatibility.
Better App Integration, Multitasking, and Media Player
The PlayStation is a gaming console, they should not try to make it an “all-in-one” platform, since Microsoft has taken that route with the Xbox One and is already miles ahead. However, that’s no excuse for how slow and unresponsive some apps are. When the apps do work, the controls seemed like they were mapped by a kangaroo on cocaine. YouTube videos randomly fast-forward or rewind at random intervals that I can’t change, and there’s no way to actually access the video track. I’m constantly signed out, and sometimes videos fail to play after ads. This experience pretty much carries over to every app on PlayStation 4, like Netflix, Hulu, and especially Spotify.
While part of the blame can definitely be directed at the actual service providers (looking at you, YouTube), the PS4 itself can be difficult to optimize apps for, and its multitasking ability is severely limited and easily stressed. Recently, Sony has changed the XMB slightly to add some new sections like “TV and Video” but it still takes a long time for the sub-menus to load and its just more of the same problems from the PS Store: a sloppy and sluggish mess. The way things are arranged are unattractive, not to mention I have zero interest in these shows and streaming services that are being shoved in my face. Keep your offers off my dashboard, Sony!
It’s very clear that Sony wants people to rely on Spotify more than the console. My personal issues with Spotify aside, the app itself has loads of issues and seems to get worse with every update. Not to mention all my download speeds plummet if Spotify is open. If Sony wants Spotify to be the Media Player for PS4, they need to treat it like so. Once again, not consumer-friendly.
If Sony fails to improve their apps, store, and PS Now service, at the very least, the PS5 should come with excessive storage for games, not “enough” storage. There should be excessive storage. Game install sizes are becoming monstrous. Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Edition takes 100GB, The Witcher 3, with both expansions, occupies 90GB, and Battlefield 4 is taking up 80 more GB! With over 50GB dedicated to mandatory installs and updates, I basically have no space and hardly any games installed on my PS4. I’m constantly deleting installs and trying to clean up my PS4 but hardly have anything on there!
Sony has to consider this with PS5, because install sizes will only get bigger. Even though external hard drives are getting cheaper and cheaper, it’s still an additional piece of hardware consumers shouldn’t have to buy.
Innovative Design and Architecture
The PS4’s hardware and architecture was already being called dated at launch. In fact, Sony should be all the more pleased with developers like FromSoftware and Guerilla for games like Bloodborne and Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is a visual powerhouse, silencing even the loudest members of the PC Master Race. Sure, those games do “cheat” in certain areas, like Horizon’s water physics, but I really don’t care if puddles splash realistically when I’m trying to tie up a Thunderjaw’s legs while avoiding Stormbirds from above and pack of angry Shellwalkers launching mortar fire at me, all against a gorgeous backdrop of mountains and perfect sunsets.
If the PS4 was designed and fitted with even better tech, which was available at the time, there’s no telling what the PS4 could have accomplished this cycle. It’s a mistake that didn’t hurt the PlayStation this cycle, but could next time. Microsoft takes a loss on every Xbox One X sold, and Sony may have to follow suit. Giving the PS5 state-of-art tech, or at least keeping a very high-standard, could be the difference maker next generation, especially since Xbox has become more of an all-in-one service. Sony needs the PS5 to be a well-built- well-designed console with high standards for hardware.