What Sony fans need from the next PlayStation

Sony is expected to announce its next PlayStation console at its February 20th press event. Every day until then, Shacknews will look at PlayStation's history, and analyze what that could mean for the company's future.
Fans. They may parade around the internet, making a mess of YouTube comment pages with half-truths and insecure attacks on other platforms. But, they are an important part of a console's lifeblood. Without a dedicated army of fans, systems can launch... and simply disappear. Over the past three generations, Sony has amassed quite an army of gamers loyal to the PlayStation brand. For many of these gamers, PS4 (or Orbis, or whatever they end up calling it) will be an automatic day-one purchase. Others, however, are still on the fence. We asked fans and two of our favorite PlayStation-focused sites about what they want, nay need, from Sony's next.

This is PS4's trojan horse

PlayStation Plus The great thing about subscription services is that it keeps customers engaged in your ecosystem. PlayStation Plus has evolved over the years into a truly great service, one that offers a tremendous value with its Instant Game Collection. Like Netflix, access to that library of content disappears when your subscription ends--and for many, Plus is incentive to continue onto the next PlayStation system. "At this point I am so heavily invested in the PlayStation Ecosystem there isn't much they need to do. All of my friends are on PSN, I have a ton of trophies, and I have a PlayStation Plus membership for the next few years," Chris Kuspis, Editor-in-Chief of PSN Stores told us. Glenn Percival, Editor-in-Chief of PS Nation, echoed that sentiment. "Not only maintain, but escalate the status quo that's been established in the current generation. Keep online services free, keep what's being offered by PlayStation Plus," he told us. @Geekrocker told us the same on Twitter: "More PS+ free games/features." Free PlayStation Network Access Oddly, although many PlayStation fans are subscribing to PlayStation Plus, they also want PlayStation Network to continue offering free access to online gaming. @UnnXandros told us: "No bull----, meaning free PSN (although I pay for Plus). No second-hand BS." ReaLgoesWronG also thinks free PSN access must continue. "Honestly if XBL stays the same course w/fee then that's already a deal breaker for the next Xbox," he said.
Frustration at Microsoft's move towards "general entertainment" could be seen in multiple responses, including this tweet from @berthiaume: "I want a dedicated gaming machine, not a set-top box." Backwards Compatibility Although PS3 launched with full backwards compatibility, the feature was removed in later versions of the console. Recent reports suggest PS3 games will be supported on PS4 through Sony's newly-acquired Gaikai tech. But how important is BC to PlayStation fans? Apparently, very. "To keep my interest, PlayStation 4 needs to support the full back catalog of PlayStation digital content. Everything that the PS3 can play, the PS4 must play at the bare minimum," Nick Kosmides, Features Editor for PSN Stores said. "Backwards compatibility is more important in the upcoming generation than the last," PS Nation co-host Josh Langford added. "I don't care how they do it, through hardware or software emulation, through the Gaikai technology, whatever. I've spent a lot of money on the PSN over the past 6+ years and I don't want to keep the PS3 plugged in just to play those titles."

Sony must continue to support indies, fans demand

The Games Finally, at the end of the day, it's all about the games for PlayStation's most dedicated fans. "Keep bringing awesome and unique exclusive titles," Percival said. "Just keep being PlayStation. Offer games like Uncharted, God of War, Sly Cooper, Wipeout, Heavy Rain, LittleBigPlanet, MLB The Show, Sorcery, Killzone, inFamous, Twisted Metal, Hot Shots Golf, Shadow of the Colossus, Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, Warhawk, and well, you get the idea." "Sony's ability to attract innovative teams to create content for PSN has lead to some of my most enjoyable gaming experiences these past six years. If Sony can continue to bring fantastic games to PSN when they release the next PlayStation then my money will continue to support them," PSN Stores' Andrew Brewer added. Intriguingly, Sony fans seem hungry to see brand new IPs, and see Sony continue to experiment with new studios and new ideas," PS Nation's Emrah Rakiposki said. "Sony should continue to take chances on those abstract games that may not necessarily appeal to the masses." "Letting studios take a break from their respected franchises next generation would be great," PS Nation's Michal Cwick added. "I want to know what Guerilla can do outside of Killzone or what Sucker Punch has up their sleeves after inFamous." "I would have to say that Sony should continue to be unafraid of taking chances with new concepts. One thing that has always separated them from the competition is their willingness to stray away from the cookie-cutter "sure-hit" genres and give studios a chance to try something new. The gaming world is starting to see a lot of clones, and it would be nice to see Sony continue the trend of letting games like Journey, Flower, Shadow of Colossus, inFamous, to be made under their belt," PS Nation's Rey Barrera said. "The PS4 needs to have games that are offering unique and compelling that will make me want to hit that power button. The console can look like a piece of wood for all I care. I just want some unique gaming experiences that no other console provides," PS Nation's Nathan Hensler noted.