However, all of the little details of a console are arguably as important as its raw power. If it’s not that great to generally use or simply missing some bells and whistles that the competition possesses, the overall package may not be quite as compelling. The PS4 was missing plenty of features at launch and for years after, it only relatively recently getting external HDD compatibility and custom wallpapers.
With the PlayStation 5 looking set for a release in 2020, here are some of smaller features that we’d love to see as part of the package from day one.
1. Push To Talk Controller Integration
Using a mic while playing online in a multiplayer game is easy among friends with you always likely having an open channel, but fiddly when with randoms. Only Fortnite springs to mind as a game on the console that allows you to map a push-to-talk button to your controller.
For the sake of not hearing a young kid’s relatives apparently making a rocket ship in the background, how about a dedicated push to talk button on the (presumably) DualShock 5? It’s not as outlandish as you might think.
In terms of placement, unless Sony are drastically thinking of overhauling the iconic design with six touchpads or something, a good spot would be on the back of the controller in the middle, easily in reach of your typically unused ring finger. Hey, if the N64 had that weird button, why not?
Anything from feeling like you have to keep a conversation going because of the open channels, please.
2. Better Wish Lists
You can put together a wish list on the PlayStation Store website, though (to the best of my knowledge) it doesn’t notify you when a game is on sale. Considering how most people use the PlayStation Store on the app instead, it can be easy to forget all about whatever you’ve added on the website. Example: apparently I wanted Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier early last year.
Allowing players to put together a wish list on the PlayStation 5 just makes sense. With the Xbox One already having a very easy wish listing tool and Steam’s wish list tool being the granddaddy of them all, it’s an oversight not to have one. Heck, even the Switch, as light as it is on features, has a wish list.
There’s another reason to add a wish list feature to the PS5, and it ties in with the next request.
The ability to gift games to others would be an all-round financial win for Sony. With the sad fact of physical sales being on the decline, the rise of digital purchases means that gifting on the PS5 should be a necessity.
You can currently buy a physical PSN card with a set balance on it to give to someone as a gift, but that’s too much effort in a world where you can go on an app and get a pizza delivered almost directly into your mouth.
Even the most oblivious of parents will be able to figure out how to go on their child’s wishlist and then buy them something for a special occasion. No more confusion over buying PES instead of FIFA.
The inclusion of gifting may lead to more spam and potentially malicious intentions from people promising games in return for something or other, but if Sony implemented some sort of grace period where you must be friends with someone for a set amount of time before you can send and receive gifts, that would tidy the process up a lot.
With cross-play looking like a feature of gaming that will become even more prominent in the next generation, there needs to be a universal, simple way of getting players across platforms to chat without fuss. Nobody deserves to put up with in-game voice chat.
Discord is probably the most popular, easily accessible voice app to help bridge the gap between platforms. Microsoft recognised this, giving the Xbox One Discord integration to help players come together.
You could technically use Discord on your phone as you play, but that’s far too fiddly. Even though Sony will no doubt improve the chat audio quality for the PS5, adopting Discord could save them a huge chunk of change.
Even the worst PS4 games seldom go under three stars on the PlayStation Store, which suggests there’s something in the system being exploited. You might think that perhaps PS4 players are less cynical than on other platforms, but when something like the awful Putty Squad has four stars, something’s clearly afoot.
Sony need to tighten the review system up for the next gen to make sure reviews are more reflective of the actual product. They could do this by making reviewers needing to have played a set amount of time before they can review, have accounts with verified emails, or something along those lines.
While they’re there, Sony adding the option to include written reviews would also be very helpful.
6. Framerate Gauge
This is maybe the smallest feature request of the bunch, but one that will be invaluable for reviewers, YouTubers and those who are serious about games all the same.
Having a small framerate gauge in the top left or right of the screen will be an easy way for players to tell how a game is holding up, which can then be used to better reference to developers where and when dips occur so they can work on a fix far easier.
As things stand, figuring out frames on a console is guesswork, so having a frame gauge will eliminate all of that and prove if promises of a smooth and stable performance are true or not.
Sony may be reticent to include such a thing, but it’s a constant feature of PC gaming that is always a straightforward point of reference that would no doubt be appreciated on the PS5.
As much as we may want to see all of these new and tweaked features, the most important thing for the PlayStation 5 is to launch with the same features as the PS4 has currently. Let’s not wait years for the occasional big update and “this system software update improves system performance”.