As a gamer predominantly based on the PC, I’ve been thinking. What console could theoretically exist which would make me turn my back on the trusty PC and pick up a controller once again?
Firstly, if there is one thing that the PC is currently superior in, it is the 1080p, 60fps experience. While the trend is starting to change with the latest generation of consoles, the PC has traditionally outperformed the Xbox and Playstation systems. While the price point has long been much higher, a PC has huge amounts of extra functionality and offers, a generally improved experience. My dream console would have the hardware to run any title of my choice at a solid 60 fps, at 3840×2160 resolution. This is currently a feature only available on the very best gaming PCs, costing thousands of pounds, and to have this experience in a console setting would be a major positive for me. It would also be able to run this on what would be the maximum graphical settings, including many features that are perhaps not as common on consoles, such as 16x anti-aliasing and high levels of ambient occlusion.
Despite my love of the PC, sometimes it is just an all round more pleasurable experience to slouch on the sofa, controller in hand and play casually. Sometimes being sat at my desk constantly is not what I want and a change of scenery can make all the difference. That, coupled with the more casual nature of the gaming on console, can make for a much more positive time. Call me lazy, but sometimes when you want to change games, you can’t quite be bothered to change the discs over. To solve this, why not just alter the outputs to have a wireless function? In a similar way to the Chromecast, there would be a dongle that plugged into the HDMI port on your TV, and it streamed the data from the console that way.
The newly-released Steam Link already does this, of course, but there’s not yet a PC equivalent. It would be more functional for consoles and also unrestricted by cables. Of course it would still require power, but often plug sockets are in abundance – and even if not, USB-charged batteries are ubiquitous these days. While on the topics of power, it would have a mini UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) built in, so should you lose power at some crucial moment, losing hours worth of gameplay, the built in battery could support it for another hour, giving plenty of time to save your game and shut the console down properly.
For peripherals, it would still use a controller, but would be a different experience for the user. The main controller style would be heavily based on the Xbox One controller, which is one of the best I ever experienced. Atached to the bottom could be an optional touch screen that can be removed and attached, acting as a second screen, in much the same way as the Wii U does. Like the Wii U Gamepad so seldom is, it could be used for a wide variety of functions, from minimaps to inventories to being used for special minigames.
Along with support for all the current games, all future iterations would be entirely backwards compatible, ensuring that your favourite classics never become unplayable. A good idea right? Particularly with modern hardware being as suitable for emulation as it is.
The latest generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony both require you to pay to access online features of any titles, which is a new introduction for Sony, as they made their Playstation Plus service the only way of playing online. I would have the online aspect of my console to be accessible to all for free. While not a good decision in terms of business, a much more customer friendly approach might be popular if someone could be found the bankroll it.
Most of this is not exactly going to happen any time soon. But hey, a man can dream.
Do you have thoughts on what you’d ideally like to see from future consoles? Tell us in the comments below.