As the dust from the launch of the new consoles settles, we begin to see a few of the intrinsic problems that come with new gaming hardware. We’ve seen the launch games, some of the new features and more new ideas that the new consoles present. However, there are still many things that these consoles can improve on. While each console has its own unique issues, I will be focusing on the PlayStation 4 and its flaws. From yet unimplemented features, to some ideas on how to improve the user interface and more, I will propose a few ideas on how the PS4 can improve its already sound base of a powerful machine.
At the PlayStation 4 reveal event in February 2013, Sony brought Mark Cerny on stage to explain some interesting new features about the PlayStation 4. While many of these were implemented from day one — including Play as you Download and the Real World Friend Network — others are not yet part of the software. One yet unimplemented feature is the ability to take over a friend’s game at any point. While this may seem inconsequential, I have — and undoubtedly will again — ran into sequences in games that I can’t pass. This may be a difficult combat sequence or a confusing puzzle. This feature would let a friend take over the game and finish the sequence for me, in turn allowing me to progress.
When I first heard this idea, it was overshadowed by other features, but I still hope it is implemented soon so that instead of having to look up a solution, or yelling at the TV for a while, a friend can help. Also announced at the PlayStation 4 launch event was the “Suspend” feature, allowing you to turn off the console while not exiting the game. This would allow for immediate re-entering of the game from the start up of the console, eliminating load times and menu maneuvering.
Another more obvious feature that is not yet part of the PlayStation 4, is the ability to share gameplay clips to YouTube. This, as well as a dedicated YouTube app, is something fans have been clamoring for since the initial reveal of the Share button. Currently, videos can only be shared to Facebook, which is not as useful for YouTubers or anyone trying to share their gameplay with the masses. For many, this has proved disappointing as there is no way to currently upload videos to YouTube because external capture cards are also not usable. Both of these should be applied to fully capture the “shared” console experience the PlayStation 4 has been marketed as. There is also no way to save a stream on Twitch directly from the PlayStation 4. After a stream has ended, the recording of the stream is lost and it cannot be watched again. As someone who likes to watch streams I’ve missed, this is disappointing and I hope to see it fixed in the near future.
As for problems with the User Interface, I have a few minor gripes. Firstly, there should be a way to see when a friend has signed on and off the PlayStation Network as there was on the PlayStation 3. At the moment, you have to exit to the main menu and check your friends list to see which friends are online. Because there is the possibility to have up to 2000 friends on PSN, there should also be ways to turn these notifications on and off for certain friends so that these notifications do not become intrusive.
Moreover, there should be purchasable themes and avatars like the PlayStation 3 has. Currently, there is only one preset background for the User Interface and a handful of preloaded avatars if the user doesn’t already have one from the PS3. These would allow for more customization options for the main menu and profiles, and would make the menus a bit less boring.
These are just a few problems with the PlayStation 4 that have either not yet been implemented or should be addressed in the near future. There are, however, many things Sony did right with the console and I only want it to improve. I would love to see YouTube uploading and customization for the Dynamic Menu, as well as putting in the features announced at the reveal event. None of these problems are deal breakers for the console, as there is much more good than bad; however, I feel that these would help better the console and eventually achieve its full potential in the near future.