PS3 Wishlist

What is SEMPERTHREE's PS3 wishlist, you ask? It is an airing of grievances! We may drink deeply of Sony goodness twenty-three hours a day up here at SEMPERTHREE, but the remaining hour is devoted solely to complaining, and lots of it.

We love our PS3s and we love our XMBs, but there are always things that could be done better. Here we discuss ideas and suggestions in the hopes that somebody higher up will listen and take heed.

If you have suggestions for the wish list, send your thoughts to us with the subject 'PS3 Wishlist.'

1.Improved XMB Music Navigation

This has been on my mind for quite a while. I had an issue with my desktop computer last year and lost all of my music, but it had all been copied to my PS3 beforehand. My PS3 became my primary music player. It's connected to my surroundsound, I use remote play as a portable control screen for music around my house, it's a full system. All that said, it can be really tough to get around. I have thousands of tracks on my PS3, all sorted by album title.

The XMB NEEDS more creative, less rudimentary means of browsing music and other large directories of files. There is no rapid-scrolling, or even a function to jump ahead from the A's to the B's and etc. You can resort all tracks into 26 alphabetized folders by title, but that isn't much more convenient. All four shoulder buttons go generally unused on the XMB; why not those?

Furthermore, nearly all modern music software knows to alphabetize PAST the word “The.” The XMB doesn't know to ignore 'the,' and, as a result, I have dozens of albums starting with 'The' lumped together after the S-albums and before the U-albums. The interface should know better.

Recent XMB updates dramatically improved image browsing. I'd love to see a similar upgrade for the music column.

2.No copy-protected savefiles

This is generally a minor issue but can strike at very frustrating times; developers have the option of copy-protecting game saves, effectively preventing them from being backed up or re-established.

This is really unnecessary; games like Borderlands have proven that precautions can prevent false trophies. Games like Soulcalibur IV have saves tied to PSN accounts and corresponding DLC as well, so it can only be used by its intended owner.

The only reason to prevent users from backing up their saves individually is a developer obsession with disallowing users to trade files to advance in games. If a game has online functions that could be compromised by users copying save files, simply tie them to server-side management or validation. Don't let anal-retentive developers dismiss the freedoms of your end-users, Sony; easy file management and compatibility is what makes the PS3 great!

3.Expanded PS1 Classics

On one hand this may be a no-brainer, but you could argue that they're already doing well enough. In reality, Sony has been delivering PS1 titles with some regularity now (after a year of hiatus) but still has a long way to go.

Final Fantasy VII is a great example of this. This was a game that sold original Playstations left and right fourteen years ago; a game people still discuss constantly today. The week that Final Fantasy VII was released on PSN in North America it skyrocked instantly to the top-selling spot on PSN charts and stayed there for months. At $14.99 a download, it was significantly cheaper than buying a vintage hard copy for users, and still very profitable for Sony. It was win-win.

Why, then, was it three years into the system's lifespan for its release? Bug-testing the PSN version aside, it is simply absurd that it took three years for Sony to release the most popular PS1 game of all time to a massive audience that obviously wanted it. There have been other legitimate classics released, the original Crash Bandicoot series and Jet Moto to name a few, but otherwise the really “classic” PS1 games have been absent.

The semi-consistent PS1 Classics releases we are seeing now are unfortunately trivial and generally uninteresting titles. Extreme Pinball and the Spec Ops series aren't what the PlayStation built its legacy on. The Japan PSN Store gets the entire Front Mission series and we get Reel Fishing and Sno-Cross Championship?

I'm glad significant titles like the original three Resident Evils have shown up, but there is a wealth that is still being ignored. Sony has been dropping a number of hints lately about the possibility of premium subscriptions and paid services in order to recoup expenses from its game divisions, and yet the PSN store goes unexploited. Desirable PS1 games have massive potential, and the release of Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid showed that people will pay premium rates for genuinely 'classic' titles. Catch the hint, Sony; in fact, while I'm at it, here are several hints:

  • Xenogears
  • Final Fantasy IX, Anthology, Origins and Collection
  • Parasite Eve I and II
  • Metal Gear Solid VR Missions
  • Bushido Blade Saga
  • Frontier I and II
  • Ehrgeiz (at least for the novelty)
  • Ape Escape
  • G Darius
  • Intelligent Qube
  • Mega Man 8, X4, X5, and X6
  • Mr Driller
  • Puzzle Bobble / Bust-a-move
  • Policenauts
  • Darkstalkers

I look forward to adding strikethrough tags to this list, Sony. It's time to get Square on board.

5.Custom soundtracks mandatory / standardized

The in-game XMB functions are clean and easy to use, especially in custom-soundtrack enabled games like Warhawk. Games like Burnout Paradise and Super Stardust HD don't directly use the XMB but still enjoys user-customized content playback.

Why isn't this more common? The PS3 is billed as a multimedia machine and it has more than the capacity to do this. Too many cross-platform games have custom soundtracks on 360 without the same functions on PS3. Push those developers to keep us end-users in mind!

6.A pony

It's a wish list, right? Just saying.

7.Significant web browser upgrades

The PS3 has a great advantage over its peers with its functional web browser. Flash applications and tabbed browsing make it a solid solution for web browsing, but not an ideal one.

The browser is buggy, and the flash compatibility can be patchy. Furthermore, Youtube compatibility is a much-hyped function by Sony itself, yet still cannot perform reliably. Youtube playback tends to suffer from errors and inability to sync. The browser itself is generally crash-prone, and the control scheme is not ideal either.

Right now the PS3 web browser is a function worth acknowledging. With some development and a major overhaul, it can be a point worth seriously bragging about. Until then, this is the singular function where the Wii outperforms the PS3.

...kinda sad when you put it that way, isn't it?

8.Expanded Remote Play Functionality

Bringing more and more functions to remote play was a big talking point throughout 2008 and 2009 that didn't see much follow-through. PSN-downloaded video content is still completely blocked from remote play access. DVDs and Blu-rays still aren't viewable. The only PS3 retail disc with remote-playability is Lair.

Remote play is a great function that adds massive worth to the PSP console and strengthens the Playstation 'family.' Why isn't it being exploited to its fullest? With some expansion, the PSP can genuinely become a portable monitor for your PS3 at home... and honestly, don't we all hate being away from our PS3s?

9.Mass Effect Trilogy on one enormous Blu-Ray

Now we're talking a bit more dream-like, but I'll be damned if it isn't a nice dream. I have both a PS3 and an Xbox 360 in my house, but the latter only gets plugged back in when I need to get my Mass Effect on. The best sci-fi story ever told in a video game, and entirely too intelligent for the console it resides on, Mass Effect NEEDS to be on Playstation, if for no other reason than to let me throw out my 360 already.

It isn't as farfetched as it may seem; with Mass Effect's parents at Bioware now property of Electronic Arts, it doesn't necessarily hold the exclusivity it did before. Furthermore, the game is built on Unreal Engine III, which Digital Extremes' PS3 port of Bioshock proved to be more than PS3-worthy.

It isn't too late, Sony! Mass Effect 1 has aged well enough, and 2 is a work of art. Throw some money at EA now and remind Bioware about the luxurious storage capacities of the Blu-ray format, and we might have a shot before Mass Effect 3 rolls around.

I'm not kidding about the 360, either. Get me a PS3 fix to my Mass Effect problem and I won't need the thing in my house anymore.

10.Non-PSN LAN-enabled chat functions

The PS3 has a lot of LAN-enabled games available, but they all seem to assume everybody just LANs in their living room with their TVs in a row. There are households with multiple PS3s nowadays, and not always in the same room.

I can say from experience that the convenience of the LAN connection wears off when you're shouting back and forth up a flight of stairs to your fellow players. Find us a solution for communication and perhaps distinct identities for PS3s on the same local network!

11.Gran Turismo 5 Before The Eventual Death of the Earth's Sun

What more can I say? GT5 and Sol are in a neck-and-neck race with each other, and the finish line is either a retail release or planet-obliterating nova event. It's hard to say which will come first.

12.More Avatars, Custom Avatars, Something Besides these Same Old Avatars

Signing up for a PSN account hasn't changed much in three years. If you look solely at the 'Avatar' page of the signup, it hasn't really changed whatsoever.

The firmware update to add Premium Avatar functionality came months and months ago, and only recently did we get a single batch of downloadable options; all of which are Littlebigplanet-themed. I like LBP plenty, but we really need more variety. With a list of several dozen PSN friends and growing, I'm tired of seeing the same Helghast icon for every other user on my list.

Plenty of people have paid real money for those LBP avatars just to break up the monotony. More would pay money for icons they actually want! Catching my drift, Sony?

At the very least, a custom option would be desireable- Xbox Live has a standard user image, and then allows you to set a personal image that only confirmed friends can see. This is an easy way to dodge the pitfalls of allowing custom content.

13.More Demos and Trial Options for Downloadable Games and Add-Ons

This pains me to say, but this is a department where Xbox Live has PSN cornered. Nearly all downloadable titles on Live have demos or trial modes for free sampling. PSN's lack of demos comes across as a lack of confidence in its products! I can't say how many PSN games I've passed over I couldn't justify a blind buy.

If Sony wants to take the lead in DLC, they need to find ways to demo add-on content. I'm not saying there are any obvious elegant solutions, but if a workable system can be put into place we will all benefit.

14.Cancel the North American Release of Eyepet, Retain Dignity

It's no secret that the Playstation eye is floundering without a killer app. It's no secret that Eyepet is not that app. At best, Eyepet will embarrass us all. At worst, it will unravel all the world's governments and plunge mankind into a new dark age. Take that fuzzy little thing behind the shed and do what has to be done.

15.Fix The L2 and R2 Triggers

Everybody knows what we're talking about here. Come on, just make them concave for us. Please.

16.Bring Back Premium SKU Alternatives With PS2 Compatibility

The 'clamor' for backwards compatibility has degenerated to whining nowadays, with consumers constantly complaining about the lack of PS2 support despite the fact that the PS3 is now HALF the price it was when it HAD PS2 support. We don't mean to just gripe, though; we offer a thought-out suggestion.

Most of the PS3's lifespan has been spent with two SKUs available in the market at a time; generally a 'premium and standard' pair or a 'standard and lite' pair. When the CECHA 60gb system launched as a 'standard' PS3, the CECHB 20gb debuted as a stripped-down alternative. With the 80gb systems to the 160gb and now the 120gb to 250gb, we're seeing a trend of 'standard' models with a high-end alternative for a few more bucks. Right now its just a fifty dollar difference to bump up the hard drive capacity.

Why not go all the way? Let's see a genuinely high-end, premium PS3 for high-end consumers. Keep the current 120gb just as it is, $299 price tag and all, but give us a special-order option. Bump up the price tag if you have to, make them in limited quantity or made-to-order if you must! There ARE people out there who will pay a good price for a PS3 with PS2 compatibility, four (or more, hint hint) USB ports, Wireless-N receiver, and a potentially massive stock hard drive. A consumer-inspired premium PS3 could be a mighty beast.

You guys can do this. There are still new PS2s shipping, so you can't tell us you don't want to make more emotion chips. I could see a $449 tag for just the features listed above and still be happy with it. We don't expect to see such a thing on Wal-mart shelves, or any just about any store shelves for that matter; just make them available for the hardcore folks among us and let them know where to get them.

17.Faster Hard Drives and Blu-Ray Drives

This isn't a farfetched wish or even something we expect to influence; as disc technology grows, read and write speeds are enhanced. Blu-ray is still slow in its infancy, but we wholeheartedly expect the next generations of the console to introduce quicker drives and compatibility with quicker hard disks. Just making sure, though!

18.Rear USB Ports For Regular Devices

I have an external hard drive and a headset dock that are connected to my PS3 at all times, among other devices that liver there semi-regularly. That shouldn't necessitate having a mess of cables in front of the system at all times! For a device meant to do 'everything,' it doesn't always look pretty doing so.

This is something we need to catch up on; both competitors have at least one rear USB port. When's our turn?

19.Wireless-N Compatibility Via Firmware or USB Add-on

See #16, but if we can't get the whole package, at least work in the Wireless-N option by itself. There's talk that it can even be accomplished with current hardware using only software/firmware updates- let's see some progress!

20.“Kaz Bandicoot,” The Action/Platformer Starring Kaz Hirai

My dream video game, the run-and-jump platform adventure starring Sony Computer Entertainment chairman Kaz Hirai, is the ultimate console exclusive. Sony has a loveable mascot already available that can blow Mario, Sonic, and whatever Microsoft has right now straight out of the water. That's our buddy Kaz. With high-flying thrills, wild off-road vehicle segments, and a slew of multiplayer options, Kaz Bandicoot will be the must-own family title of 2010. Please?