With the competition for the next generation console in full swing between Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4, both consoles are certainly delivering on their promises. Of course, now that the initial novelty has worn off, it’s time for some real work to begin if one side wants to dominate the North American market. Fortunately, fans of the PS4 already know what they want, and more importantly, will make their PS4 the full home entertainment system the want it to be. Even from launch, we know exactly what the PS4 is capable of; with a few little changes, it could easily be a hands-down winner against the Xbox One.
1) Better Exclusive Games
It’s kind of a hard fact; if you want to have a better game system, you need better exclusive games than the competition. While the Xbox One was off to a rocky start on the exclusives front, releasing Ryse: Son of Rome and the lackluster Dead Rising 3, it has since found its footing. Now, Microsoft is bringing in its A-listers; Sunset Overdrive exceeded all expectations for style, substance, and just generally being a fun game, while the re-release of Halo and the trailers for the upcoming Halo 5 work because…well, it’s Halo. Unfortunately, PS4 is falling a bit short in the exclusives category, having not quite yet found its feet this generation. We had a bit of a bright spot with the re-release of The Last of Us, but later titles like Little Big Planet 3 and Killzone: Shadow Fall simply didn’t pack enough punch to be memorable. Even now, with the recently released The Order: 1886, we’ve got the same problem; we’ve got beautiful looking games that come up shorter than Microsoft in the actual gameplay category.
What we’re really looking for as the PS4 moves forward is a stronger selection of exclusive titles, and the PS4 has the means to get them, no question. In the exclusives market, Sony has always had the edge in getting indie and eclectic games; moving forward, we just need that to translate into solid PS4 exclusive AAA IPs.
2) External HDD Capability
Whether we like it or not, the future of gaming is probably going to be cloud-based, internet purchased, and entirely digital. Whatever your feelings for the used game market may be, there is actually a solid set of benefits to data-only games; game companies can cut out creation and distribution of physical media and edgy indie games can actually compete side by side with the AAA big boys in the online marketplace. Provided we have the memory for it, an all-digital game library is actually a fairly solid idea.
But that’s the caveat; we’re going to need a lot more space to keep our ever-expanding libraries of games. Even though the PS4 comes with an impressive 500 gb internal hard drive, with the current size of games averaging around 40 gb apiece (not including DLC), we can really only keep about twelve games on our hard disk at any one time. Combine that with our movie collections (at about 1.5 gb apiece) and our music library (from 500 mb to 100 gb for real audiophiles), and suddenly the console that was supposed to replace our entire home theater is feeling very small.
Options exist right now to pump up your PS4 with a 1 Tb or 2 Tb hard drive – see our How to upgrade your PS4 HDD article, as well as the ability to simply move around your external data through a hard drive, but there are some limitations; you can’t play games directly from these drives, and the transfer rates are abysmally slow. What we’re looking for is a good external hard drive system that allows us to play our games whenever, wherever, without the need to download each and every time. Whether Sony wants to make it a proprietary item or not is entirely up to them; whatever they choose, it’s not only something we want to see, but it would be a huge edge over the Xbox One.
3) DLNA Streaming
This particular feature has been in the back of our minds for a long time, and it’s a continuation of Sony’s whole policy of a complete streaming entertainment system; we really do want our consoles to have DLNA streaming. For those of you who don’t know, DLNA, short for Digital Living Network Alliance, is a set of standards for interconnecting devices on a home network, essentially letting you stream music and movie files from your home computer directly through your PS4. While there’s still a small minefield of DRM to negotiate, It’s pretty obvious just from this article that having DLNA for the PS4, even in its simplest form, would be a boon; our movie and music collections can stay on our computers, and our PS4 hard drives can be reserved just for games and DLC.
Fortunately, we can be reasonably sure that this feature is coming soon. Sony was one of the original founders of the DLNA standards association back in 2003, so it would just make sense for their flagship console to conform. In addition, since the Xbox One can already work with DLNA, the gauntlet has already been thrown down, so it’s a safe bet that somewhere inside Sony, somebody is working on their own DLNA system. If we can get it to work, it will certainly make Sony’s vision of an all-data entertainment system that much closer to reality.