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If respected media outlets and anonymous industry insiders are to be believed, the next-generation PlayStation (code named Orbis) will be…

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If respected media outlets and anonymous industry insiders are to be believed, the next-generation PlayStation (code named Orbis) will be unveiled at PlayStation Meeting 2013; which takes place on February 20th in New York City. The event was first teased by Sony through the “See the future” video which they released on January 31st. Being a fan of the PlayStation brand and owning all five main iterations of PS products (3 home consoles and 2 portables), I’ve come up with a list of things I want to see in PlayStation 4.

A faster OS

A lot of the PS3’s OS functions take a long time to finish, from loading and saving, to the much dreaded firmware updates. I hope that for the PS4, the speed of OS functions are greatly improved. I also hope that a dedicated amount of flash memory is allocated for the OS as flash memory is known to be faster than magnetic hard drives.

A touch pad on the controller (I don’t want a touch screen).

Of all the items on this list, my desire for a touch pad on the PS4 controller is the most likely to come true; as leaked images of PS4 controller prototypes have shown that a touch pad is indeed placed at the center of the controller. The touch pad occupies the space where the Dual Shock 3’s “select” and “start” buttons are located.

I’m intrigued by how developers can integrate touch-pad controls into their games (swiping motions, easier scrolling through lists, etc.); and I prefer a touch-pad over a touch screen as it provides new control options without me having to look at the controller (I prefer everything to be on-screen).

Better social functionality

As long as it isn’t intrusive, I would welcome greater social functionality in the PS4. There have been rumors of a “share” button in the PS4 controller, which would enable the player to instantly share screenshots and actual gameplay videos of games being played. I think this is an excellent idea, as a lot of people would prefer to tell their friends about the games that they’re playing. This is even better for gamers who make gameplay videos as Sony could allow direct uploads to YouTube. Twitter and Facebook integration would also be cool if done right. Lastly, I hope PS4’s avatar system is better than the PS3’s. I wouldn’t mind if PlayStation Home (or its next-gen form which is probably the Sony-patented “BigFest” online service) is integrated into the PS4’s avatar system in some way.

Hardware Backwards compatibility

While it is doubtful due to the PS4’s rumored architecture, I am still hoping that the PS4 would be backwards compatible with PS3 games. The current console generation has been the longest in history and there have been many games released during the PS3 era. Backwards compatibility would make it easier for people like me who still want to play PS3 games (or have a PS3 backlog) to purchase a PS4 right away. Backwards compatibility could also help the PS4 mitigate a software drought if it occurs early on in the console’s lifespan.

Lag free remote play on the PS Vita.

The PS Vita hardware is excellent (dual analog sticks, OLED screen, front and rear touch) and I would like Sony to take advantage of it more by implementing lag-free remote play for all PS4 games. The Vita could surely emulate all the input capabilities of the PS4 controller (front and rear touch and all) and off-TV play (as Nintendo calls it) would be a welcome addition for PS4 and Vita owners who would like to play PS4 games while in bed; or are currently unable to use the TV.

The next-gen PlayStation is almost here and I hope it delivers the goods. I hope Sony unveils a console that targets the core gamers first; but also offers features designed to gain mass market appeal. More importantly, I hope that the console would build on the PS3’s strengths and improve its weaknesses; and usher in gaming experiences that are truly next-gen.

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