It’s a new year and a new decade with the previous decade being mostly owned by both Sony and Microsoft, I have some very high expectations for both console makers new generation of home video game systems. Coming after a sound defeat by Sony, Microsoft this coming gen has a lot to prove in both what games they bring to the table as well as giving gamers a reason as to why they should purchase their product, to begin with. Phil Spencer recently stated that Xbox is no longer in the console battle and they are moving ahead to more cloud-based gaming projects with their Project xCloud service which could very well be released sometime this year. While Microsoft sure has a lot to prove and bring to the table that doesn’t excuse Sony from doing the same, considering the past two console generations have not been dominated back-to-back by either Sony or Microsoft. Sony has a lot to prove to themselves as well and hoping to not fumble like their competition did in the previous generation.
With that being said, both Microsoft and Sony have a lot to prove to gamers this fall, granted we still have no idea of a specific date as of this writing for when either system is released, but I am confident that both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X will be in our hands come the holidays. Regardless, what exactly are my expectations you ask? Well, after having had a very fair share of time with the current offerings this is what I have come up with.
Console Streaming Needs to be, Streamlined
The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One for the very first time, introduced the ability to stream the games you play to Twitch, YouTube and Mixer right from your very own console. No graphics cards, no streaming programs or even a PC were required as they have been before. However, streaming from consoles is extremely limited with exactly what you can do. Monetizing your content can be very hard if your just streaming from your console unless you have an Xbox One due to Microsoft streaming company Beam back in 2016 and giving it a complete overhaul and changing the name to Mixer. While Mixer has become a very hot competitor to Twitch, especially with former Twitch star Ninja going to Mixer back in 2019, Microsoft has proven they are in it for the long run and doubling down on their streaming service. However, the problem with this is that they have put Twitch on the back burner and seemingly decided that if you’re not streaming on Mixer from your Xbox One, you don’t really matter and thus making it extremely difficult for those that are looking to build their Twitch brand strictly from their Xbox One. The same can even be said for the PlayStation 4 which is also very limited in it’s streaming capabilities.
Streaming from a console needs an entire facelift this time around especially if it wants to give gamers a reason to use it in the first place. The biggest difference between streaming from a PC and strictly from a video game console is the fact that there is still no way to have custom layouts appear on your stream, no notifications that pop up and the lack of any real program designed for simply streaming from your console without the use of a PC. I firmly believe it is time for both Sony and Microsoft to get with the times and build their consoles to stream just as much as a PC can. Provide a layout program for your consoles, allow for notifications, and give gamers the ability to link their PSN and Xbox Live accounts to services such as Stream Labs so that way notifications can pop up while streaming. Streaming isn’t just the future anymore, it’s the present and next-generation consoles need to be thriving in it, plus it would bring consoles on par with streaming PC capabilities.
A Much Faster and Easy-to-Use UI
Over the last almost ten years we have been in the current generation of video game consoles, I have noticed that between Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony has had the absolute best user interface I have seen and I am really hoping that it maintains its layout. However, when it comes to Microsoft, they just cannot seem to figure out their identity as far as having a user interface is concerned. They have had numerous updates to their UI with a more recent one coming to users soon. Granted, the updates have been great and I am all for some things needing to change to be better, this is one key aspect that I hope and pray isn’t a thing that constantly needs to be updated with the Series X and one that I hope remains the same with a slight touch of next-gen on the PlayStation 5. While I get that both companies want to advertise their products and games to us, I really hope that Microsoft decides to cut back on the advertisements, this is one aspect that took them nearly ten years to finally get right with this latest update and yet this is another area that Sony seems to get right. I can only hope that by having a better UI on both next-gen consoles will make things faster and an overall much better user experience.
It’s Time for SSD to Come to Consoles
Since the beginning of consoles no longer using a physical memory card gamers have been pleased with having an onboard storage space ala a Hard Disk Drive. Ever since the introduction of the much faster, quicker and quieter Solid-State Drive or SSD, I have been anticipating with bated breath for home video game consoles to finally go the route of an SSD. For those unaware, an SSD is able to load programs and games far quicker than that of any HDD as well as providing an even quieter system and even less work on the CPU. I believe the wait should finally be over and that now is the time to do away with the inferior HDD and move on to a more superior means of storage via the SSD. Not only that, but it will also make loading times in games and programs seem non-existent. Sure, it’ll make the cost of consoles be a bit pricer, but in the long run, it will certainly make them much more worth it. Plus, it’ll make the user-interface that I mentioned before work so much better. Now for the real question, just how much storage size should these SSD’s have? I would have to say that I expect each console to have no fewer than 2TB considering just how large some games files are today especially games like Halo and Call of Duty on top of needing even more storage space for updates. At maximum, I’d love to see a 5 or even 8 terabyte console myself, but that is probably just wishful thinking for now.
A Cross-Platform Means of Communication
Sure, you could say, “but Brian, we have programs like Discord for this” however, I myself am so tired of needing other programs to do everything else when the time is now for us to break even more barriers. Microsoft ended up leading the charge to break down those barriers by giving us crossplay for games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty with Sony finally deciding to play well with others. However, I believe that it is time we break down the ultimate barrier of them all between the big two, communication. Sure, you can currently play games like the ones mentioned previously with people on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation, but what about actually wanting to communicate with your squad? Yeah, yeah I am well aware of things such as Discord, but why should anyone have to use an outside program just to talk to people especially when it would only be in the form of a party chat? I am hoping that this is where Microsoft will take charge and allow gamers to be able to speak freely via voice chat to others on PC, Sony and even Nintendo which would truly be amazing. Imagine being able to talk in a group with others from various platforms. Yes, I know this would mean the big three would need to work together on a universal means of communication that can be accessed via each consoles own gaming network, but who is to say this cannot be done? Maybe there is a way for Discord to be accessible across all platforms and thus not making everyone feel so alienated and allow everyone to still enjoy whatever console they choose but still be able to chat with their friends despite what system they own. Who will step up and making communicating among all platforms a universal system for all gamers to enjoy?
Well, that really is it. Surprised I didn’t mention graphics? That’s because to me, the graphics are a given and one of if not the most discussed reasons why anyone purchases a console, but to me, I want more innovation and maybe that’s because I grew up in a time where there were several different consoles and companies trying to bring out all kinds of wacky ideas. I’m certainly excited to see what the future holds for us later this year and you can bet that I will be discussing it once we cross that next-gen bridge.