People sometimes think that I only critique non-Xbox game consoles, but the truth of the matter is that I critique everything I use. Here are six ways that I think each of the current “next-gen” consoles fail. The order goes from most familiar console to least (I don’t own a Wii personally), and from biggest failure to smallest. This is just my take on it, what do you guys think? How would you change them?
Update: I posted a follow-up The Seven Ways Each “Next-Gen” Console Succeeds
- HD-DVD: It should have come built-in. It would have allowed more room for games, disc-based HD movies, and the format may have actually survived if one of its two biggest backers actually got behind it.
- Better storage options: It should come with a much larger hard drive (especially at launch) and the ability to swap in standard 2.5” SATA drives. It would be really nice if it had the ability to use any standard USB key or SD card for a memory card too. The day of proprietary memory cards really should have ended already.
- Headset: Why aren’t the audio controls built into the controller so that any headset would work? I should be able to mute my wireless headset without taking my hands off the controller.
- Quieter: I know the DVD drive spins fast so that load times are shorter but some sound insulation would be nice. Maybe installing onto the hard drive will help this, but see bullet #2.
- Web Browser: I could understand not having a browser when the console launched, but the time is far overdue for the 360 to get the web. The PS3 and Wii each have it, and it is more useful than I would have guessed.
- D-Pad: For a console with so much classic and arcade content it is ridiculous how bad the D-pad is. I really think that they’d sell more XBLA games if it didn’t feel so wrong to play classics like Street Fighter II with that D-pad. It looks like they may actually fix this soon.
- Better UI than the XMB: Sony, would it kill you to use some icons with color? After all, it is one of the key ways for people to quickly identify items (see #6). The XMB is about as intuitive a way to tie together hierarchal lists of functions and data as any OS’s file system. Playing music should not use the exact same UI as your friends list.
- Built-in IR “eye”: It may seem petty, but it drives me nuts that every AV device I own is controlled by my slick Harmony universal remote except for the PS3. If it really wants to be the center of my entertainment it needs to work with my existing stuff.
- More memory for textures: The low quality textures so often seen on the PS3 are really the only thing keeping it from surpassing the Xbox 360’s graphics. Low quality textures were the only thing that marred the otherwise amazing graphics of Metal Gear Solid 4 for me.
- Cables: Sony, get with the program and start including component HD and/or HDMI cables in the box. It is so nickel-and-dime to sell a $500 console based on its ability to play HD games without the cables to do it.
- Memory Card Readers: Drop ‘em, they probably cost more than an HDMI cable but almost nobody uses them.
- Real motion sensing: It is either all or nothing for me on this one, so Sony really shouldn’t have even bothered because Sixaxis is thoroughly mediocre. Even PS3 exclusive developers are saying that it is “useless”. It’d probably save Sony some money on making controllers too.
Filed In: GamingAugust 27, 2008
- Lackluster motion control: FYI, I really don’t enjoy playing the Wii. It isn’t that the concept is bad, I think the concept is great. The motion control is just so terrible though. For proof look no further than the existence of a first-party add-on to fix the motion control.
- Weak GPU and CPU: The graphics and CPU power should have been at least 50% greater than the original Xbox, and it should be able to output video in 720p. I’m not saying it should compete with the PS3/Xbox 360, it just needs to be better than all of the last-gen stuff. Low quality 480p looks pretty bad on those fancy flat-panel TVs. :)
- Friend Codes: Here is a tip Nintendo, look at what Microsoft is doing with Xbox Live and copy it.
- Media support: It is really ridiculous that the Wii doesn’t have legitimate support for playing your pictures, music, and videos. You can do some of it, but it can’t do it over your network so I hope you have a lot of big SD cards. I’m sure that would be a popular feature for their target market.
- Better storage options: It is clear now that the built-in storage on the Wii is lacking and that Nintendo still doesn’t have a fix lined up yet. Why not increase the built-in storage and/or allow memory cards to (actually) expand the console’s usable space.
- Wired Networking: Sometimes you just want the reliability of a wire. The lame duck Wii WiFi also requires a “long preamble” (usually only required for old wireless-B devices) which kills your wireless-G and N performance.