Someone with brains once said, “Nothing is perfect.” I assume that very statement isn't perfect either, though I'm hard-pressed to find any fault. No matter, one thing I know for sure is that next-gen gaming is far from flawless. Since I'm such a generous guy, I thought I'd layout my top fixes for various platforms in the (futile) attempt to repair what is broken.
In no particular order...
Overhaul PSN Interface
Sony, I have news for you: the PSN interface on the PS3 is a disaster. It's cumbersome, unwieldy, ugly and frustrating. Nuke it and start over. I mean, start from scratch. Not a single element of the current infrastructure should remain in the redesign. Your objective is to sell me stuff, not scare me away.
Retain Video Settings Between Setups
Sony has had well over a year to address this issue that plagues a large number of players, including myself. I generally play games on a 22” monitor, via component cables. When I want to watch a Blu-Ray movie, I luge the unit into the living room and hook it up to an HDTV via HDMI. Every time I do this I need to go through the setup process. In the case of going from HDMI back to Component, I have to physically reset the machine and jump through hoops. How hard can it possibly be to save these settings?
More Multiplayer Enabled PSN games
I enjoy most of the PSN games, especially Pain, Super Stardust, Blast Factor and Everday Shooter. Unfortunately, none of these game have online multiplayer. While it's great that PSN is free for everyone, it's not so great that the majority of PSN games are local multiplayer only.
I'm sure we all understand that Microsoft is inherently greedy, but I mean, c'mon! Paying a couple of bucks for 4 panels of art that are nothing more than glorified advertisements is beyond ridiculous. Somehow Sony manages to release a large number of themes without charging their customers. I suspect MS could do the same without filing Chapter 11 in the process.
Abandon File Size Limit for Arcade Games
Sony's PSN service is poised to trounce Xbox Live Arcade by sheer quality alone. With Microsoft's arbitrary imposition of a file size limit, developers are constantly fighting against restrictions that ultimately weaken the product. Case in point is the forthcoming Bionic Commando, which the devs have already said will look better on the PS3 because there is no restriction on file size. This is all the more curious because Microsoft allows you to download Pirates, an original Xbox game, that weighs in at over 1-gigabyte. Give it up MS!
Make Xbox Live Free for Everyone
When Sony finally unleashes Home..for free, I might add, then the pressure will start to mount on MS to either deliver something equitable...or at least make their service free. We all paid the same amount for an Xbox 360, we all should enjoy the benefits of that purchase. That means Microsoft needs to abandon this Silver/Gold bullcrap and open it up to all. What's the worst that could happen? You sell more games? More players in the pool? More people buying downloadable content? I know one thing for sure: if Microsoft rid themselves of this membership nonsense, more PC players would be apt to transition to a console. PC players have been enjoying free multiplayer for years and justifiably don't see any reason to start paying now, especially when in-game advertising is here to stay.
– Abandon Friend Codes
This will never happen, but I can dream, can't I? No one but Nintendo likes Friend's Codes. It's a nightmare of a system, cumbersome and lame. I realize it's in place to protect children, but really Nintendo, there are better ways to handle this. At the end of the day, Nintendo is too busy making tons of money to realize this is a problem.
Wii – Do NOT Charge People Multiplayer Fees
One rumor with legs that came out of the recent GDC was news that Nintendo is entertaining the idea of charging a fee to play future titles. Supposedly games that will require a monthly subscription will have a nice, red logo on the box, which is great as I will know which games NOT to buy. I thought Microsoft was greedy, but Nintendo, if you go ahead with this plan then you may actually steal the crown. You simply can't have a family-orientated system that gouges people for online play. I don't know many 8-year-olds with a credit card.
PSP – New Analog Stick...Please!
While we all welcomed the PSP Slim as a nice little upgrade, how about going the extra mile and releasing a third generation PSP that boasts an analog stick that actually works? The current stick is just a huge pain in the ass, lacking all semblance of control. Every game on the PSP is made all the more difficult because of the poor design.
ALL – Lower Game Prices
This is probably the only thing we can all agree on. Paying $60 for a game is ridiculous, especially when each game offers a different length of play, features, etc. Lowering prices , especially in the face of the looming economic disaster we're all faced with, just makes sense. The industry would ultimately sell more games, which means more sells for downloadable content. Lowering prices also makes it easier for people to explore games that they may not have purchased at a higher price. Perhaps most importantly, lowering prices would eat into the lucrative Used Game market, of which developers never see a single cent. If a new game is being sold at a lower price, you'll be much more likely to purchase a new copy instead of waiting a few weeks for Ebay auctions and Gamestop stock.