2019 is an odd year. A year that isn’t quite about change in the console space but about learning when that change is coming. We’re winding down on the current consoles life cycle as rumours and light announcements are starting to be made. Whilst Microsoft have made their intentions known, Sony have not. They’re quiet on that front, perhaps worried of overshadowing the first party titles they’ve already announced, which currently don’t have release dates. Sony have, however, made some decisions for 2019 which might signify a big change, or could be absolutely nothing.
I’ve a bunch of ideas on the things Sony could do this year to improve upon the PlayStation ecosystem we have now. Some of these are plausible, – others are complete fantasy so here are three at varying levels of reality.
After not holding PSX in 2018 and announcing they won’t be at E3 this year Sony clearly want to change how they engage with their audience. At the time of writing they haven’t given an indication on their presence at the other trade shows (such as PGW and TGS) nor have they made any big announcements so we don’t have any idea on what this new approach will be. One idea I think they may implement is the Nintendo direct style of announcement, not necessarily that exact form but to use their platforms and inform consumers what is coming up. When a game is a month or two out from a release date they’ll build up to it on social media. This is then followed by a full announcement on the PlayStation blog and YouTube. Some announcements might be around the same time as E3 or other big events but this allows Sony a little more control on the information. They don’t have to have a huge slew of stuff to show at a trade event. From a consumer point of view I love E3 and the other trade shows and I’m a little disappointed PlayStation won’t have a presence there. I get excited by the prospect of the announcements, yet now I have less time to digest all that info at once. A steady trickle of release dates and game reveals through the year would suit me much better. Sony would also be in the public eye and hold the media’s attention on a more frequent and positive basis.
Making you’re announcements work for you is one thing but making your infrastructure work for your customers is on another level. I feel one of the worst things about PlayStation is PSN and it needs to improve. It’s not just me. Plenty of people, PlayStation enthusiast and haters alike know Sony need to improve their online service. Frequent (though not recent) outages, slow download speeds and issues with game authentication are just some of the problems PSN has. Whilst my experience with the service has been fairly decent many people have issue with it enough that I think it needs an overhaul. PSN 2.0 should be a priority for Sony before the release of the PS5. If we do get a PS5 announcement this year I’d love them to finish with the one more thing, “PSN will be down for maintenance and relaunch as PSN 2.0. Improved speeds, less frequent authentication, more stability.” With this change I also want amendments to PS Plus and PS Now. The possibility of having these bundled together for a cheaper price than individually would bring more people to Now and the increased infrastructure would make the service a must have for PlayStation owners.
Finally, this is about as far out of an idea as I could think within the realms of possibility. The Vita 2, or whatever fucking stupid name they can think of. Actually not the Vita 2 what I want is a different beast. Rather than a handheld with traditional media delivery I want an ergonomic, well designed device that makes full use of their Gaikai (the tech that underpins PS Now) acquisition. A handheld streaming device. This could either be a control pad that Wraps around a phone with a dedicated app or a full standalone device. Whilst this builds on the roll out of better network and PS Now it should also allow you to mirror your PS4 and then PS5 for remote play. Everything should be streamable in the best way possible. This could be a stream from a downloaded game on the console or a full stream of a game from a server. This would need to know you’ve purchased a game but essentially could eliminate any download needed. I think the tech is a little way off for this to run well for a majority of people and depends hugely on Internet connections. It would allow PlayStation to compete on the Switch’s terms, full console experiences on the go. I’d love a control pad that wraps around my phone for this. I’ve used remote play with a DS4 on my phone and I’m happy with that experience but something that could sit under and to the side of my phone would be killer. If I could play Cyberpunk 2077 or The Last of Us 2 on my phone seamlessly picking up from my last console save or play a twitch, online multiplayer game with zero latency Sony would command my wallet for years to come.
There are a ton of other things I want from PlayStation this year including releases of a number of games they’re developing. We know the games are coming; their first party studios have an excellent record behind them. The three ideas discussed here are what I think Sony should build towards. Innovations that would build towards a better message, infrastructure and experience.
What do you want from PlayStation this year, if anything? Give me a shout and we can chat PlayStation all day or come and join us on our discord server to never miss a conversation.