In an interview with Business Insider Japan, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said that the PlayStation 5 will include “more unique elements for PlayStation 5 to come that separate it from previous consoles.” What’s really interesting is that he says those unique elements “have yet to be announced.”
We already know that the PS5 will include an SSD, ray tracing support, and that its controller will likely even support adaptive triggers. Assuming that Ryan isn’t blowing smoke, though, the biggest PS5 features haven’t even been confirmed yet.
What could those features be? Time will tell, but here are five unannounced features we’d love to see on the PlayStation 5 when it launches later in 2020.
At this point, we’d be stunned if Sony didn’t reveal some kind of backward compatibility support for the PS5.
Sony’s often frustrating excuses for why the PS4 didn’t benefit from native backward compatibility options left many gamers with a stack of classic PlayStation titles that sat on the shelves gathering dust. Meanwhile, Microsoft turned the Xbox One into the one Xbox you’ll ever need (see what they did there?) by introducing backward compatibility early and expanding their console’s supported retro library as the years went on.
Considering the strength of the PS4’s library of exclusive titles, it would be a crime to learn that we won’t be able to play those games on the PS5 at launch.
Cross-Play Out of the Box
Here’s another feature that Sony will need to support given the trends of this console generation.
Sony justifiably caught a lot of flak for not supporting cross-play multiplayer options until well into the lifespan of the PS4. While they eventually corrected that controversial policy, it still took quite a while for many of the PS4’s best multiplayer titles to properly support cross-play compatibility. Meanwhile, Microsoft practically memed the PlayStation team on Twitter over their inability to play nice with other consoles.
There’s almost no chance that the PS5 launches without proper cross-play support.
PlayStation Now/PlayStation Plus Combo Membership
You’ll notice that some of the features throughout this list are ones that Microsoft implemented with the Xbox One that Sony did not with the PS4. The PS4 may have beaten the Xbox One in many respects, but the Xbox One proved to be an overall more progressive and sometimes user-friendly console in terms of its policies and features. That’s especially true of the Xbox’s Game Pass program.
Now that Sony seems determined to convert PlayStation Now into their own version of Game Pass (at least in terms of support), they need to offer PS5 owners the chance to bundle PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus. Microsoft is already doing something similar with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundle for $15, and Sony is starting to look just a bit silly for not offering something as competitively priced.
If Sony is serious about expanding the appeal of PlayStation Now, they need to offer their users an easier (and cheaper) way to access it.
A More Useful Touchpad For the PS Controller
Early reports indicate that the PlayStation 5 controller will benefit from some kind of haptic feedback/reactive triggers system. That’s nice and all, but what we really want is a better PS controller touchpad.
Simply put, the PS4’s touchpad is a bit…err…simple. Sony and other developers occasionally tried to take advantage of the technology, but most uses of it ultimately came across as gimmicks that didn’t justify the amount of space the touchpad took up on the controller.
We’d love to see a proper PS5 controller touchpad that allows us to do things like more easily navigate menus and swap between slots on item wheels more efficiently. Sony just has to find a way to integrate such a touchpad so that it feels like something that’s worth using.
Expanded Cloud Functionality For Mobile Gaming
This is certainly our most ambitious wish in terms of PS5 launch features, but if Sony really is keeping some of the PS5’s best features under wraps, this is one of the biggest reveals they could make.
You can play your Nintendo Switch everywhere due to its design, and Microsoft’s xCloud program will one day let you play Xbox titles on the go. Even Google Stadia supports mobile gaming (of course, that feature hardly negates the service’s other problems). We know that Sony is working on (or are at least interested in) cloud gaming, and we think the launch of the PS5 is the perfect time for the PlayStation team to reveal their vision of that future.
This is a feature that Sony could add down the road, but if the Xbox Series X launches with full cloud support and the PS5 doesn’t, it could be a bad look for Sony.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.