Game Consoles Left to Right – PS4 Pro, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch

Can you believe that the Xbox One and the PS4 dropped 4 years ago? That’s insane to me.  If it makes you feel any better, the PS3 dropped 12 years ago…no? Still feel old? Yeah, me too. But there’s no sense in looking at the past! The future of console gaming is just over the horizon, as we mark what probably is just over the halfway point of the current generation of console’s lifespan.  So let’s crunch down 10 things that need to be included and need to happen with the next generation of consoles!

Top of the Line Technology

MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 LGA 1151 DDR4 Motherboard

This reason feels like a given, as after all, it will be a NEW generation of game consoles.  However, the state of the gaming world is at a weird place right now.  PCs are more powerful than they ever have been, and there’s almost no restrictions a game can have in any field as long as you have the technology to keep it running.  You can run any game on the market on ultra settings on  PC that has 32GB of RAM, and Nvidia Titan graphics card, so what would make me buy an expensive console rather than upgrading my PC if it’s not nearly as powerful?  That is the question on a lot of gamer’s minds and it is a question that Sony and Microsoft need to address.  Nintendo has been able to remedy this problem for years by having exclusive franchises to their consoles and having a gimmick that works nearly every time for their company in efforts to sell more units.  For Sony and Microsoft, however, they can’t be taking these kinds of risks as it is not what they are known for.  They need to be able to keep up with the ever-evolving gaming landscape in order to stay relevant and keep their consoles moving off the shelves.  These consoles need to at least have a significant upgrade over this generation’s hardware, or they may fall victim to being prematurely outdated by PCs.  The demand and expectation for beautiful, immersive, and smooth gameplay are at an all-time high, and if there isn’t a significant improvement made to the hardware of the consoles, things aren’t going to work out very well.

More Integrated Virtual/Augmented Reality

Playstation VR Headset, Camera, and Control Sticks

This technology has existed for a while now, but I am one of the few unfortunate souls who have never put on an Oculus or Vive (or any other virtual reality headset for that matter), but what I have seen is that people really seem to enjoy it.  It seems to be the next trend in video gaming, it this technology will no doubt help to bring gaming into its future.  What the next generation of consoles need to do is provide a platform in which this new technology can thrive.  How awesome would it be to be able to boot up your game console and have your entire room transform into the game environment? Or if you put on a headset and you went completely unconscious, submersing yourself into the video game world.  That is the power of augmented and virtual reality, and I myself am extremely excited to see the future of this technology.  But for now, we have to take things one step at a time, and that means taking a step forward with each passing console generation, thus making this technology more popular and accessible.

Another Leap in Performance/Visuals

Playstation 3 vs Playstation 4 Graphics Comparison

Earlier in this article I discussed the vitality of increasing the technology in the upcoming generation of consoles, and I briefly discussed how gamers are expecting more realistic and beautiful games.  In this age, 8-bit graphics are a distant memory and we are looking to immerse ourselves in a gaming experience cohesively.  That said, as the technology increases for the consoles, the performance and visuals of the game have to accompany it.  A significant upgrade in the performance and visuals that we are used to in video gaming would provide for another stage in the evolution of video games, and it would ultimately prove that video games are constantly upgrading and getting better.  Games like God of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, No Man’s Sky, and Shadow of the Colossus in recent years have upped the ante in this respect, having some of the greatest visuals in video gaming history.  However, the video game industry always needs to keep evolving in order to give the gamers a constantly changing experience to which they can constantly be impressed.  Along with upgrading the hardware, upgrading the games in which that hardware is used is also a vital thing that needs to happen with this upcoming generation of consoles.  Without games that feel new to this generation, it wouldn’t really feel like a step up would it?  It would just feel like we’re playing games on our previous consoles while we have hardware in our current machine that could do so much more.  It would be like upgrading from a 3-horse stable to a 10-horse stable when you only have 2 horses.

Remasters

Crash Bandicoot vs Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Graphics Comparison

We’re approaching a point in time where both Microsoft and Sony have franchises that were made 20 years ago on their respective systems.  It would be amazing to see those beloved franchise brought back with today’s graphics and technology, as Sony did with Crash Bandicoot last year and are currently doing with Spyro the Dragon later this year.  There are so many classics from both companies, plus quite a number of old Nintendo titles that I really wouldn’t mind getting a remaster, that they could pull from and bring back old memories with new technology.  Crash Bandicoot did insanely well (pun intended) and for me, that’s the ultimate calling card for these companies to begin work on more remasters.  Could you imagine Halo, Banjo-Kazooie, Sly Cooper, Super Mario Sunshine/64 and The Mother Trilogy amongst others getting remastered? That would be absolutely amazing and I would personally pick all of those up right away.  Remastering has also worked in the past with Donkey Kong Country Returns and Ratchet and Clank (technically that was a move tie-in, but it still had improved graphics and mechanics).  So why not go all-in and bring back those childhood classics on these consoles?  I WANT MY REMASTERED CRASH TEAM RACING DAMMIT!

Integration with Phones/Home Technology

Playstation App as portrayed by Sony

There have been slight attempts to bring this technology to the consoles, but not much progress has been made on this front so far.  The extent of this technology pretty much goes as far as turning your console on with your voice and navigating the menu screens by saying commands.  While that is pretty cool, it feels as though we are only scratching the surface with this technology.  Maybe giving these new consoles compatibility with phone commands through bluetooth or even making them compatible with Alexa would be a nice touch.  But picture this.  You just had a long day at work and youre tired – all you want is to play your favorite video game.  You pull into the driveway, pull out your phone, and turn your console on through your phone right there! You can just walk over to your controller and start playing! Or even better yet, you just bought a new game from the virtual store and want to play it right when you get home.  You command your system to start downloading/installing the game through your phone, so there’s no wait and no hassle once you get home.  Sounds like a perfect world doesn’t it?  Well we certainly have the technology for it, the ball is merely in the court of the console manufacturers.

Cross-Platform Gameplay

Diagram of Rocket League‘s Cross-Platform play

For so long we have waited for this feature to become a prominent feature of the gaming industry, and we finally have a faint glimpse of it actually happening.  Rocket League has adapted a full cross-platform play functionality to which you can play with your friends on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.  Similarly, there has been speculation that Fortnite has allowed this feature to some degree in the past, but these reports are unconfirmed.  Regardless, it would be an amazing experience to draw 3 of the 4 pillars of video gaming together with this cross-play functionality.  I don’t forsee Nintendo taking part in this ordeal, strictly because about 75% of multiplayer games available on the other systems don’t make it to Nintendo’s console, and Nintendo generally stays within the realms of their own IPs as well, so it wouldn’t make much sense for them to take part.  However, seeing the other 3 come together in order for people to finally unite in the video game industry rather than divide would be a very welcome change, and one that I’m sure would be universally appreciated by gamers and developers alike.

Backward Compatibility

Diagram of Xbox One’s compatibility with Xbox 360

Look. I get the business reasoning for not allowing your new consoles to play games from your previous ones.  I do.  But come on guys.  It’s the future.  You guys are already ridiculously rich.  Can’t you just do something that makes the gamers happy once? Just once?

Honestly though, it really surprised me that Microsoft beat Sony to the punch on this one, as Microsoft has been notorious for giving gamers the shaft over the last decade.  However, admittedly, this was an amazing and unexpected move by Microsoft when they announced that their Xbox One would be backward compatible with Xbox 360 games.  Now all that needs to happen is for the momentum to keep building and for Sony to follow suit, and we’ll have machines that will be able to take us back in time to our childhoods and relive some great memories.  You’d be surprised just how much people would like to do this.  Speaking from experience, I recently bought a used PS2 just so I could play some of my old favorite games again and man, has it brought back memories for me.  It would be amazing to see the next generation of consoles encompass all previous generations as well with one fell swoop, and give the gamers the ultimate pinnacle of the heights that the video game industry has reached.

Bigger Hard-drives

Hard Drive

If there is one thing that is placed on this list that is absolutely essential for the next-generation of consoles, it would the bigger hard-drives.  I can’t tell you how many times I go to download a new game to my PS4 because of the 2 free games per month that comes with a PS Plus Subscription, but in order to do so I need to delete another game that is already installed on my system because there isn’t enough room.  Judging from the state of digital downloads, as well as the size of games in this age, it should be a no-brainer to put a decent size of hard-drive space on these consoles right?  It is truly baffling to me how it took so long for Sony and Microsoft to begin selling external hard-drives for their systems, and it baffles me even more how they thought that the default size of the hard-drives in these consoles are acceptable.  The amount of room I have on my console makes me furious sometimes, and it isn’t an easy fix (on the wallet anyway) so having the console come with a larger hard-drive, even if it does up the console price $30 – $50 wouldn’t be all that bad.  I doubt anyone would mind paying just that little extra if they’re already planning on paying $350 or more on a console, plus that price range would be completely justified with the amount of games you would be able to keep on the console instead of having to delete them every time you want to play a new game.  This definitely needs to happen.

More Originality

Naughty Dog company logo

Earlier in this list, I mentioned how remasters should make a return to the forefront of gaming.  Before you assume that this is a contradictory statement, allow me to elaborate.  In the current gaming climate, we currently have a handful of franchises that are being beaten like a dead horse in efforts to rake in a cheap cash grab by the already established name of that franchise.  Franchises such as ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Battlefield’, ‘FarCry’, ‘Metal Gear’, and more often take center stage in game conferences such as E3 in efforts for their developers to keep making money.  This is different from remasters, as in that case it is almost the complete opposite.  Remasters are attempting to revitalize a franchise that has long been dormant, and attempts to spark interest in that franchise once again.  These dragging franchises are having their sparks drained game by game by their developers’ greed.  What I would like to see for the next generation of consoles is these developers putting a halt on their established franchises and trying something new.  Look at how well that ended up for Naughty Dog – the Crash Bandicoot franchise, the Jak & Daxter franchise, the Uncharted franchise, and The Last of Us were all extremely well received and welcome additions to the video game world.  Changing it up every once in a while can make for great new games down the line and can stop fatigue for an already existing franchise that is getting to the point of being dead in the water (like call of duty).

What did you think of my list? Is there anything you’d like to see in the next generation of consoles that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!

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