I'm not as much of a console gamer as of late (my only console is a PS2 with Tekken 5 always loaded in the tray), but I've always watched and admired the newest technologies from afar without being able to make the counter transaction. Despite that, I know what I like. And these are the six big things I want to see in the next generation of consoles.
1. Digital Distibution
I'm a big fan of digital distribution. I love that I never have to worry about a game's in-store availability or whether or not it's even in print any more. I can just load up the store and buy what I want. That said, I still think it's too early for a complete abandonment of physical media. Consumers just aren't too used to the idea of buying things over the counter. What the Orbis720ü needs to do is strongly appeal to consumers to switch to DD with affordable pricing and constant deals that retailers can't beat. By converting people now, it leaves plenty of room for the succeeding generation to abandon physical media all together.
2. Extensive Past-Gen Catalogue
While I know that there are select retro games available on the Wii and Sony stores (no idea about Live), what is currently is but a short step in the right direction. If you really want to bring people to the DD side for the force, you need to be able to guarantee that every game they buy today or next year will be playable next generation and the generation after. Considering the basis of DD is online authentication, the only way to make sure each game you've paid for is always available to you is complete backwards compatibility. I don't know the ins and outs of building a system that's old-code friendly, but surely if basement hackers can reverse-engineer working emulators, then those with the source should be able to do some pretty streamlined stuff.
3. Online experience
It goes without saying, really. Online interaction has become a big part of gaming, and it's not going away any time soon. Nintendo in particular have step their game up to be able to provide a service to compete with Live and PSN (it's been renamed, hasn't it?).
4. 6-Button Controller Face
The Sega Genesis/Megadrive was my favourite controller of all time. Six face buttons. Words cannot deceive how much I'd love for that to return to consoles with the added functionality of triggers and analogue sticks. More inputs means more in-depth game mechanics. More in-depth game mechanics means more involving games. More involving games means more happiness for me.
5. Memory Card
Lolwut? But memory cards are so old and unnecessary when we have hard drives! Maybe, but it depends and how you think about it. For those of you who don't know much about the SEGA Dreamcast, it was SEGA's last ditch effort at beating Nintendo in the console market before resigning to making Sonic games of questionable quality. It didn't sell very well, which is a shame considering it was quite an innovative piece of hardware. The controller and memory card especially. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about how awesome they were, since the point I'm making isn't for a memory card to have a screen to display in-game information. No, what I want to take away from this is simply the fact that you can slot your memory card into your controller. Now, wouldn't it be convenient if you could save all your control schemes, player profile, and custom content to your controller? Picture this scenario: You want to go get drunk with your friends and shoot each other in Modern Warfare 6, but upon arriving you discover that they have inverted the Y-axis because 'it feels natural'. Pfft. You also notice that every other command had been changed as well to suit their girly, campy, playstyle. So rather than spend too much drinking time fixing the mess they've caused, you just whip out your controller with your preloaded controls, load out, and signature penis emblem and Rambo his baby ass to oblivion.
6. Modern Graphics
Rah-rah-rah, gameplay before graphics. I couldn't agree more. However, graphics can very often either compliment or detriment gameplay. You wouldn't play God of War if it was in 8-bit colour but kept all gameplay mechanics identical, would you? Not only that, but developers will not properly support a piece of hardware that requires a completely different build of the game. Keeping up with the modern standard for processing and graphics is a necessity for third-party support.
(Dis)agree? Leave a potentially hurtful comment below.