6 things the next Xbox One update needs
Microsoft has brought along a handful of updates since the Xbox One’s launch in November, the most recent in March making the single most important feature of the console – namely multiplayer gaming – a much easier affair. But what’s next for the console? What does Microsoft need to work on next? It’s highly likely that, much like the Xbox 360, the Xbox One’s feature set and user interface will evolve over the course of its lifetime, so let’s hope some of these potential features take precedent.
A less strict kinect
Currently the list of commands required for Kinect to understand you are quite strict; even turning the console off requires a very explicit ‘Xbox turn off’, why not just ‘Xbox off’ or ‘shut down’? Why just the one set of rigid commands? Or at least let us customise it so it’s personally tailored to recognise what we actually want to say. ‘Xbox, it’s bedtime’ would be a brilliant shut down command. There’s obviously a bit of give and take needed here – we can’t have Kinect recognising everything as a command, of course – but currently there’s a necessity to memorise a very precise, fixed string of words for every command, rather than Kinect interpreting the action that you want from a more conversational request. The baseline Kinect functionality is there – and works really well – so now Microsoft just needs to add to its database of commands, if only so we can be one step closer to that sci-fi future we’ve always dreamed about.
Make Snap more intuitive
Currently only a selection of apps are compatible with Snap, but even those that can be used through the feature are prevented by a fairly awkward system. It’s a great feature, it just needs a lot of work to reach that potential. Here’s some ways you can fix Snapping, Microsoft:
1. Make everything compatible Surely it can’t be too much to ask that every app on the market can be used in the sidebar? It’s only a tiny version of the screen, after all. Or make it mandatory for Snap versions of apps to be made – you did it with Achievements and XBLA demos, do it for this.
2. Let us quit it
Though it is possible to access the Snap feature with a controller, it is primarily a Kinect function. The problem is that once you’re there it’s not always possible to quit – or minimise – the feature without a lot of palaver. Sometimes we just want to press ‘B’, Microsoft.
3. Dynamic data
Tell you what Snap would be good for: leaderboards. Imagine you’re playing Forza 5, practising for that perfect lap to shave seconds off your fastest time; well how about if games utilised the Snap functionality for a constant feed of latest friends’ times or challenges.
External HDD support
It’s a strange omission considering the limited size of the hard drive inside the Xbox One, but sadly external hard drives just aren’t suited to the console. Whether it’s to ensure your precious save data is intact, you want to access content stored on your hard drive or transfer game clips without having to go through OneDrive, it can be a bit of a nuisance having to juggle games around. And when more come out not everyone will want to delete the launch games to make room for the new stuff. Maybe Microsoft won’t want us installing game data to an external HDD, but that in-built drive will only take so much.
Global control of settings
The Xbox 360 had a feature to set whether you prefer your analogue stick control over the Y Axis to be inverted or not, and every game would automatically pick that setting. So why is this not on the Xbox One? Even the PS4 has a feature to automatically set the screen size of your TV in a similar fashion – the Xbox One should too. While we’re at it why not let us set the global settings for every game with the Xbox One’s in-built settings: screen size, analogue preference, brightness, audio levels, everything. It’ll skip the whole process at the start of every game and get us into the action quicker.
Stop advertising things we own
Microsoft has had stick recently for not properly highlighting games on the Marketplace – and part of the answer to these criticisms is ID@Xbox. But if we own Forza 5 and the Xbox One knows that, then why is it trying to sell the game to us? This is next-gen, it’s time to be smart about all that user data you store Microsoft.
Home themes & avatars
Popular features of the Xbox 360 should return
People liked avatars and home themes. Not only did they add a bit of colour to your home screen but it also brought a bit of personality to your menus. It’s clear these have taken a back seat with the Xbox One, but they were a popular choice – bring them back, Microsoft.