With 226 Daily Reactions under our belt, we’ve discussed a lot of topics covering every aspect of the industry, but our favorite DRs have to be when developers ask us questions. In the past we’ve had gaming icons such as Ted Price and the fine folks at Media Molecule, but now we have a very special treat for you – the mind behind the PS4 has a question for us, and for you.
Welcome to Mark Cerny asks Daily Reaction.
Mark Cerny: As a PlayStation gamer, what is it that you’d want to see on the PlayStation 4?
Seb: Oh my god Mark, pull up a chair, we’ve got so much to talk about.
The biggest news at the moment is that Microsoft has backtracked on their ‘no self-publishing’ rule, but they’ve actually gone a step further and are set to allow any Xbox One to be used as a dev kit (at some time after launch, possibly for a small fee). That’s pretty awesome, let’s be honest.
Dev kits for the PS3 were stupidly expensive (over $20k), but Sony has taken note, with PS4 dev kits costing $2,500. Of course, as Polygon notes, Sony has lent out a number PS4 dev kits to indie studios, but dropping the cost almost entirely would mean that complete bedroom developers could create PS4 games – or at least play about with the hardware and get used to it for the future.
However, the big problem with everyone being able to create games is that everybody is able to create games… and that leads to a lot of sub-par titles. At the moment Sony is giving out free dev kits, but only to experienced, proven, quality developers, so that means that the risk of shoddy titles is mitigated. If Sony were to follow the XBO’s route, I’d want to see a clear plan for how they aim to ensure there isn’t a flood of rubbish games.
Next up, here’s something I want on all games – standardized cutscene controls. I hate how different games have different ways of pausing cutscenes or skipping them and don’t tell you what’s what. The skip button on one game is the same as the pause on another – which means that there’s always a frightful moment in a game where I have to hope I don’t ruin the story. Worse still, some games don’t even allow pausing during a cutscene. What is this, the 90s?
Another peeve of mine is that the PSN Store still regularly says that downloadable games require several KB of space (the space needed to save missions), when they should actually say how many GBs of space are needed for the full download. This is a minor issue that’s worse on Vita, but still galling.
Then there’s the rest of the PSN. We’ve talked about it before, so there’s no point reiterating how there’s too much downtime and that download speeds are slower than on Xbox Live. Fix that, especially because we’re all expected to pay.
XBL is also set to be a lot more important with all that cloud computing that Microsoft loves to bang on about. Consumers – and developers – still have yet to see whether cloud power can actually bring anything to the table, but the one thing that is undeniably beneficial to multiplayer games is dedicated servers, and Microsoft plans to rent out dedicated servers at a far cheaper rate than the industry standard. As Respawn’s Jon Shiring puts it: “This is a really big deal, and it can make online games better.” You can read more about why it’s awesome here, and I’d love to see Sony embrace something like this. The problem is that it’s a massive investment, with Microsoft recently spending $677.6 million on a single datacenter for XBL and Office 365. Ouch.
But one thing that I really, really want to see come to PS4, and something that is relatively realistic, is mod support. I’m not talking the crappy mod support available in a handful of PS3 games that make you jump through a multitude of hoops. I’m talking proper mod support with a structure in place to make it easier for the average user, and for developers to implement. Some sort of monetization system would also be awesome (and great for Sony), but any simple way to use mods would be fantastic for gamers, as well as increasing the longevity of titles – which should help curb trade-ins.
Dan: Well, first of all, I just wanted to say from everything I have seen and played on the PS4 you guys have done a wonderful job pushing the system forward while keeping it centered as a gaming platform. With that, I do think there is always room for improvement and, much like we have seen with the evolution of the PS3’s interface, it really comes down to the smallest of changes.
The first thing, that might seem minor, but is something that I am sure is an issue for many people, is the organization of the friends list. Having been at maximum capacity for a number of years now, it has become increasingly difficult to remember who all of the people on my list are and how I know them. I know there will be some evolution of this system with the next generation, but I think having a labeling system that could list people as friends, colleagues, fans, or whatever, could allow everyone to keep track of who is who even better – just like we have seen with Google Plus.
While the PS4 will allow for the internal HDD to be swapped out for a larger capacity one like with the PS3, I always need to store media on an external HDD but have found the compatibility lacking. Currently on the PS3, for an external drive to be recognized and supported it needs to be formatted with a FAT32 file structure, a system that does not support files that are over 4GB and cannot be used on drives over 2TB. As we are moving into an HD only market, the short sighted nature of these limitations seem counterintuitive as most HD files easily exceed 3 or 4GB. This leads me to want a less archaic format like Microsoft’s NTFS, exFAT or something proprietary to circumvent these issues.
If, by chance, we were able to support files bigger than 4GB on an external, the ability to backup our digital files seems like the next logical step. So, can we make that happen?
The web browser for the PS3 was a phenomenal idea, even though most people didn’t really use it because of how clunky the interface was. I would like to see it make a return, but in a more streamlined fashion. Bookmarks in general are the driving force for any non-PC browsing interface, as you are likely looking to just quickly get your information/update and get back to doing what you were doing. While the PS3’s browser does have bookmarks, adding a folder or tab directly onto the PS4 GUI that contained all of your history and bookmarks could allow people to utilize the browser without having to worry about them fighting the interface each time they use it.
Also, if you are going to expand functionality between tablets or mobile devices, why not add the ability to use a device to control the browser on your television? Or, if an alternate device is too much for most people, simply allow the DualShock 4’s trackpad to work as the mouse, click and all.
Finally, the one thing that will be chanted again and again in the comments is, of course, games. Obviously, given the number of titles that are said to be in development, and number of titles already known to be in development, that will not be an issue. But, I am looking for something that seems to have been lost this generation – iconic characters. We have Nathan Drake and a few other characters that have become memorable, but, if you look at the individuals that still have the most weight as far as characterization, then it’s clear that the majority were all created last generation. We need to move away from increasingly generic casts, and I can only hope we see some truly memorable characters on the PS4.
What would you like improved on the PS4, or do you think it’s already perfect? Share your thoughts in the comments below, tell us how much you love Cerny’s Large Hadron Collider by emailing us at [email protected], and tweet us your Xbox One ideas to Seb and Dan.
For more from Mark Cerny, be sure to read our in-depth interview with him about a myriad of topics, including the PS4, controllers and Portal.