The next generation of consoles is just around the corner and speculation and hype is starting to ramp up. We’re expecting Microsoft to announce the next Xbox at E3, and the odds are good we’ll hear more of the PS5 (if it is called that) not too long after that.
But there is no denying that the current generation is quite special and will probably be around for a few more years to come. That said though, nearly six years in, there are some serious shortcomings this generation has had, that should have been addressed either at the start or along the way.
Keep in mind that some of the consoles did get things right, or are way ahead of the competition, but that fact that some of these things are not standard across the board is a little bit frustrating.
Multi-platform USB headphone support
Buying a decent pair of headphones is an expensive exercise, especially if you want to go wireless, which is, let’s face it, just so much better. So when you start looking at different options, you’ll find that many of the headphones out there will not support multiple platforms, especially the Xbox One. Yes, there are options out there, but often what is a wireless experience on PC and PS4, you still need to plug the headphones into the controller. Why this is the case, I’m not sure, but most of the USB headphones that do work with the Xbox are officially licenced. This is an issue with the Nintendo Switch as well, but it seems the feature is becoming more available, and some USB cans are compatible with the console, so this might change over the next year or so.
The only console that is allowed almost every type of USB headphones (or microphones) is surprisingly the PS4, which is a shocker since Sony have never really liked sharing. That said, this is something that needs to end and having to buy multiple headphones for multiple consoles shouldn’t be something to think about anymore. If I spend R2k+ on a pair of headphones, I need it to work on everything I own.
3rd party Bluetooth support
Travelling recently, I really started falling in love with my Nintendo Switch, but there’s something I realised is severely lacking in the mobile, portable device. The lack of Bluetooth headphones support. Not having a bunch of wires dangling around is absolute bliss, but when using the Switch, you have no choice. I have a pair of Skullcandy Bluetooth earphones. It works with everything, even my Garmin Smartwatch, but not the Nintendo Switch.
This is a serious shortcoming for a mobile device in today’s day and age, even considering that the console does have a Bluetooth radio built into it for the Joycons and controller, but it’s clearly not made available for third-party players. Nintendo’s not the only culprit here, since both the Xbox One and PS4 has the same issue, with Sony even removing the ability to use chat over Bluetooth from the PS3. Now, you are forced to either use a USB headphone or plug an earpiece (remember that piece of crap you got with your PS4?) directly into the controller. Yeah, not the first feature that we’re tackling today that got removed.
A download scheduler
Talk about something that got removed, but do you remember being able to schedule updates and downloads for your PS3? Yes, that was a thing. Now I will be the first to admit that internet prices and speeds have improved considerably over the years, but not being able to schedule a download for midnight was one of the biggest contributing factors in me spending more money and going Uncapped. But not everyone is as fortunate as me, and often when downloading big games or updates on a slightly smaller pipe, it can have a negative effect on your internet experience, and believe me, these consoles are sometimes greedy when it comes to your internet bandwidth.
One of the big arguments might be that we only have this issue here in South Africa, but there are more people across the world, and even in the US who have limited internet packages, and being able to take advantage of cheaper midnight options is often would be nice, if only the consoles that demand 90GB downloads of a game at least allowed you to start the download without setting an alarm.
The fact that the issue of backwards compatibility remains a big discussion point, just shows what a glaring omission it was for the current generation of consoles. The only company to really stand out here is Microsoft, and they should be commended for the amount of effort that went into making older first-party and third-party games available on the Xbox One. It’s kind of ironic since they have a smaller back catalogue of exclusive games than the other two, yet they’re the ones cashing in on the ability to allow players to play their older games.
There is an argument to be made that people want the feature, but it never gets used, and considering that somebody like Sony has already assured their customers that the next console will have it for the PS4 library does show there’s some value to be had for all of us.
Ultrawide screen support
While 4K and HDR was all the rage, I was still playing games on a 23″ 1080P IPS screen. It sounds small, but if you sit at a desk, it’s really not that bad. I’ve since upgraded to a 4K TV (still on a desk) and the difference is quite remarkable, especially with HDR.
That said, while everyone was losing their minds on the bigger number of pixels, I was lamenting the fact that nobody was even talking about giving console gamers the option to play a game in Ultrawide mode. Yes, it can give you a visual advantage when playing a shooter for instance, but being to see more of the open world in something like The Witcher III, or Horizon Zero Dawn could have been quite special. Yes, it would have needed more resources, but isn’t that what the Pro and One X are for?
More 3rd party app integration
This is somewhat of a personal wishlist item, and something I believe should become an absolute no brainer going forward. We’ve seen it starting to creep in, and there’s things like Netflix and Showmax available on your console, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to use Discord on your console?
Wait, you already can on the Xbox One? Damn, that’s cool. But why not anywhere else? Nintendo is not allowing any form of party chat, and because you’re using PlayStation’s servers and infrastructure, you’re limited to the number of people you can chat to. Being a predominantly PS4 player, this is something I am a bit envious about for the Xbox players. But it’s not the only option or tool that we would be like to use, and getting more options than just Spotify on the PS4 will be quite nice.
And there you have it, six things I feel are some serious shortcomings for the current console generation. Think I’m wrong, agree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below.