The rumour mill has been grinding for well over half a year, and it now seems all but inevitable that the next generation of consoles will dominate this year's E3. This being the case, we've drawn up our wishlists for the features we want in the next offerings from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
Tom Orry, Editor
I'd really like to see every game playable from the hard drive without needing a disc - whether purchased digitally or installed from a physical copy. I took my Xbox 360 to my parents over Christmas and the majority of games I played were those downloaded from Xbox LIVE - having the convenience of playing what you want without the disc clearly counts for a lot. There must be a way to make it happen without causing widespread piracy.
The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have both got some excellent titles available via Xbox LIVE Arcade and PSN, but in the iOS world we live in, a proper (well advertised) digital store for smaller titles, priced similarly to the Apple App Store, would be great. The Xbox 360 already has this to an extent via Indie Games, but the majority of those titles are sent to die and because of it the quality isn't nearly as high as on iOS.
Speaking of Xbox LIVE, the cost of the service (which I have been fully behind for a long time) is starting to grate slightly now that PlayStation Plus for the PlayStation 3 offers so much for your money. A similar free game and discount scheme for Gold members would be excellent.
The PlayStation 4 also needs to radically improve its update system. I'm fed up of having to sit through lengthy firmware updates all the time and wait while large game updates are downloaded when I just want to be playing. At the moment, if I know I want to play something on the PS3, I boot it up the day before to make sure it's got time to update ahead of playing it, which is ridiculous.
Due to the rise of YouTube some form of in-built video capture with direct upload functionality would be superb. Some games already allow this to some extent, but it's not supported on a system-wide level. PVR tech in consoles doesn't really excite me when it comes to TV (I have that through other devices), but recording game footage would be a nice addition.
The use of the Wii U tablet as a portable games console is a great idea, and I'd like Sony to really push hard to make the exact same experience possible between the PS4 and PlayStation Vita. Remote play in some titles is already there for PS3 games on Vita, but it should be an option for every title.
Having said all that, if I can get PGR 5 on Xbox 720, God of War 4 on PS4 and a new Mario game on Wii U close to launch, I won't really care what features each console has.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor
I want better pads from both Microsoft and Sony. The next Xbox controller needs a D-Pad that can actually be used for, y'know, games, and Sony need to overhaul the DualShock 3. I'm sure they'll keep the old design, but for the love of all that is holy, they need to fix those spongy L2/R2 triggers.
In terms of the actual machines, it's harder for me to make specific requests – when it comes to the next gen, it's the games I'm more bothered about. That being the case, I want the consoles to be as developer-friendly as possible; there's no point giving the consoles extra graphical clout if they're going to be a nightmare to work with. Let's make them more user-friendly for us, too – I echo Tom's plea to fix the PS3 update system.
Finally, it'd be nice if we could avoid all that RROD / YLOD bullshit this time. No more wrapping consoles in towels, please.