Friday, November 12, 2010

Open Letter To Sony Regarding The PS4 - updated 11/12/2010

Originally posted 3/9/2009. This is open in more ways than one. This letter is open to all to read, but it also is open for addition, and open for you to comment on things you would like to see with the PS4.

In light of the economy being in difficult shape, how is the PS4 going to be able to make things easier for themselves without sacrificing quality?



First, go digital. Sony has already seemed to drop some hints that the next system might not even use DVDs, but as a consumer I am in full support.

It is expensive to do things the "old" way so it makes sense for Sony. Why would I like it? Easy... It's more convenient. I don't want to go out to the bookstore to buy a book, so I use amazon. I don't want to go drive 15 miles to the retailer like Best Buy and back so I would rather just buy at home.

Sony shouldn't have to "pay the middlemen". The wholesalers, and the retailers eat up costs for shipping. In addition, they will raise prices on the already "crunched" consumer.

The consumers can't afford to pay higher prices due to the additional costs that you normally would pass on, but even if they can, the wholesalers are taking money away indirectly by raising the prices to cover their costs of shipping to retailers, and to package and to also make a profit. When they pass it onto the retailers, the retailers must also hike up the price to make a profit.

When the consumer has to pay $80 for a game when Sony sold it to the wholesaler at $40, that's indirectly costing you up to as much as $40 as that $40 could potentially go towards buying another game.

Of course, that ignores the costs of making the game and shipping it out to the wholesalers.

In addition, if developers can only create the game by using your network on the sony digital platform, you may be able to consider collecting fees. The game makers won't mind, because the profit margins for a digital game will be higher anyways.

Oh yeah, and the gas prices are kind of expensive, less driving means more money in my pocket, which means more money for video games... Not to mention that some people go out shopping and they end up coming home with a whole lot more than they intended on buying, most of which is not the video game they set out to buy. Add in all of the impulse buyers and this is just so obvious, it's a no brainer.


This could be done a number of ways, The games could be installed in some digital memory drive similar to Sandisc memory sticks. It could use cartridges, or it could use a more innovative way of a small chip it could be placed inside the front of the console and read. But I think the best option would be to use an online store where people can buy games for reasons already mentioned.

This is probably already something Sony is working on. Afterall, they have the Sony Store in PS3, it would make sense for them to just expand that completely for PS4.



MANY New Features in the Sony Store


If buying at the Sony Store is how you're getting your game sales, you better make sure you do everything to keep them there.


When they turn on the game, they automatically log on. They are brought to a page with a reminder of NEW games. They are told what coupons and discounts they qualify for, or how close they are to the next "level" of discounts. Earn X more points and your discounts are twice as good, or Earn X more points and you get a free game!

All sorts of promotions could be run, buy 2 get one free or buy 1 get the 2nd half off. You could get points for purchases which could be used for special offers, or converted into cash. You might even give them points for playing longer to reward their loyalty to you to ensure they're not off playing nintendo's or microsofts games instead.

Make sure to have all sorts of free ads for the games, but in some cases you can even charge for them to see "full length demos".

One of the best negotiating techniques is "nibbling" this is where you might buy a car and agree to it and then right before you go to sign you say things like "that does come with a free tank of gas right?" "okay, well how about a free warentee?".

From the other side, someone might get you to buy a completely stripped down car with no features for a "really good deal" but then as you go to buy it, they say "for only this much extra you can have this" and so on.

How does Sony use this?

The way The Sony store could run it, is have cheaper games, but then in order to buy additional characters, you'd have to pay extra, then in order to buy additional levels, you'd have to pay extra. You might still give them to have the option to "buy the full game" but have "upgrade packs"

Let all the major game makers know of all the built in features you have to make this VERY easy for them.

Allow people to rent games at this store, and have reminders when they are running out of time, and ask them if they want to renew. Once you have their credit card once to buy one game, they will not need to take it out again to buy, they can just use their account password and verify their actions.

Customers might be a little ticked off at first at all these additional costs until they understand this is how things are done, but will actually learn to like it even more if you take into account the reduced value in the pricing. I hate buying a game that I get bored with, I'd much rather pay $30 for an incomplete game that might end up costing $60, then find out It's too difficult, and I don't want to "upgrade". I might not even buy a game because it seems like too much, and don't want to take the time to go out to a store and rent it. Major successful companies win because of convenience. However, I would pay for a "trial" of several games, and I might even subscribe for continuously new trials.

update: One new feature I have thought of and have been mentioning lately is a netflix style subscription but only for video games instead.Different subscriptions might represent different time lengths you are allowed to play for or the number of new games you get to try and play instantly each month.


WHAT: Make the users involved in the development of the game

WHY: I get tired of all these extentions on game release dates. With this system, they could release sneak previews of the game, then a beta version of the game, and then the complete game, and then bonus games. Every step along the way they could get feedback.

Diehards would love to pay every single step along the way, some might even pay additional amounts to get automatic updates. But with the user providing feedback the games would fit their tastes, and you would make sure they don't continously get disapointed with lack of a real high quality game... if they don't like it they can provide better feedback!

Going along with what was mentioned before, there could be additionl fees for upgrades, but rewards for those who already own the previous game, especially if they have provided a lot of feedback.

Not only that, but you have access to tons of beta testers who are willing to PAY for the games. (sorry beta testers, don't hurt me, just an idea!)

HOW: You can reward them if you want quality feedback with "points" if they are willing to submit reviews about the game, and you can actually track how long they tested the game for to reward them more. This perhaps will be the best part of it. It will provide a lot of hype as well as people will be talking about the games, and brainstorming in forums together about different ideas.

This complete integration will be excellent. An EA Sports game like Madden, may never have to stop being created. Simply pay for an upload of the new features, the new draft class, the changes in teams, and everything else. If they want to play online, they MUST have the latest stuff, and they must occasionally pay for new updates or find someone else who has fewer updates or agrees to play the less complete game.

Some people want the game as soon as possible... others don't even want the game at all if it isn't complete and end up being disapointed that certain glitches aren't fixed, that certain features aren't added. With this method they get to say exactly what they want, and if they don't get it, they can continue to suggest the idea, let other people know until everyone else agrees and the game maker can better suit their customer.

With games made for the gamer, BY the gamer, who wouldn't want to own a PS4?

Update: Seems like Playstation 3 has already integraded some of this stuff to the best of it's ability. But isn't quite there yet. I'm talking about being able to download a beta version of the game

4) What: Remain backward compatible - this may seem to contridict the whole going digital thing but it doesn't have to be. Also, it might be more expensive to provide disc technology when all the new PS4 games are digital.

WHY? People aren't going to be as willing buy the new system if Sony changes their policy and suddenly doesn't support at least the previous game console. But how can this be addressed if it's digital?

It would be more expensive if it was a digital console that also had a dvd

Here's how...

You could go with an additional device a external DVD player, but I don't think that's the best option. The best option I think, is to use the PS3 sony online and hard drive, and have the ability to convert all games to their online account. They could then transfer their old games (only once or twice to prevent theft) to the online store, and login with their new device.

If you allow an external device as an option, people can use that to upload and store it online as well if they wish. People could pay for larger storage that they could access. This way anyone can use their account without lugging around their game console. They simply visit a friend who also has it, and login and play. Some serious gamers have huge Lan parties where they bring over all their friends and have everyone bring a console, they all hook up and connect to lan to play. This makes it MUCH more convenient.
How do you prevent people from not buying a console and just creating an account at their friends and then using that wherever they go? Simple, only one household per account, and only a few accounts per household. There may be a few, but what's to say they wouldn't have done that anyways?

5) What

Protect hackers and mods stealing games from other networks...

Why? It's obvious,


Easy... Since all games are controlled on the PS store, you simply hire people to encrypt it, then to make sure the programmers don't leave themselves the backdoor and later leak the encryption codes, you hire someone else to encrypt the encryption. Of course there will still be people who try to hack it, but making it much more difficult will help

Another solution is to just somehow allow it.
update: I think a subscription gaming would make it easy as no one would have a need to hack to get different games if they can pay $20 a month and play any game they want.

Innovate, Innovate, Innovate: I want to see ground breaking technology, I want to have it revolutionize the way I do things. I want to be able to plug in electrodes and to have all 5 senses stimulated, But I also want to be able to use my 5 senses and my thoughts to have the game react in a different way. I want a simulation of real life. Why not life itself? Because I want to try stuff, knowing that if I fail, I won't die, knowing that if I mess up, I can "reset". I want realism. I want the game to recognize my behavior and anticipate my moves to force me to consciously think about the way I'm thinking. I don't just want this game to change how I think about gaming, I want the gaming to change the way I think about thinking.

I also want an outer experience as well. I want there to be lights that I can turn off with a wave of the hand, but that interact with me, that shine like a flashlight in the dark when I'm playing a game. I want to almost live my fears, and then go on to defeat them walking away knowing there's nothing to be afraid of because I have learned how to outsmart my own thoughts. I want to look death in the eye and walk away feeling victorious. I want a platform so real that businesses will actually PAY you to have access to it's players and choose the person that can handle the simulations. I want the dream that NASA might just contact me about an astronaught, that I can get my pilots license just by playing enough realistic flight simulations, I want NFL teams recruiting me to be a coach just because I can run their offense, or my own offense to such perfection. I want to have investors paying me to invest in real estate because I beat donald trump in the newest real estate game. I want to compete online in tournaments to win cash, or opportunities. I want to be able to transfer everything I've learned by becoming a better gamer toward life, knowing with full confidence that simulation was realistic enough where I actually possess the mental ability under emotional pressures to succeed if that were actually real.

I want to know that the game is a network of everyone's thoughts and it is learning how to adapt, learning how to perhaps even automatically making suggestions to changes in it's own programing for the game to simulate more how the players play, where it models the players that can defeat it, where it models the worst players so they can beat it so new players that choose a low difficulty level can still enjoy winning, and so that even the best players can have a challenge as the game forces you to continue to grow in your abilities to be able to beat it.

6) What: 3d technology
Why: It's cool!
How: PS3 already is implimenting 3d technology, but what I am refering to is an advancement of it. More virtual reality type technology where you put on eyewear and it shades out as much external light as you choose, and you can see the game in 3d. The headwear could also be motion gaming so that in addition to the playstation move, it could also respond to more subtle head movements. Additionally this technology could provide the groundwork to take it portable via virtual reality eyewear. Eventually the technology would be something that could just be a very transparent image that also has features similar to what an iphone has. The advancement of nanotechnology will further be able to allow people to wear a simple contact lense. Of course, there would have to be some sort of way to interact with it and I'm not sure if the thought technology will be discreet enough for people to use everywhere without looking embarasingly weird. So instead perhaps small touchpads that go on the finger so people can type on an empty desk or table or use a desk or table as a touchpad as long as they have the clear possibly even disposable touchpad that can stick to their finger like a peice of tape.

7) Micro Projection -
What: Ability to use something to project the game onto the wall
Why: Gamers can take the game where they want, they can also see it on a bigger screen if they have small TVs, or transfer their game over if someone else in the household needs the TV. Additionally it can provide more convenience and again lay the ground work to make gaming portable and more accessible.
how: This technology exists at least in the early developmental stages already. There is real nano technology that allows someone to use a pen to project a keyboard in front of them, and a monitor for the screen as well. I want PS4 to harness this technology. Maybe this can be more for the future of perhaps the PSP3 as I understand the release of PSP2 may be forthcomming soon. Once the technology in #6 has advanced enough maybe it would make this obsolete, maybe not.
If anyone wants to add something please make a comment!
UnOfficial PS4 site