A few simple ways to not lose the war.
Every new console comes with a slew of rumors, which we try to avoid as much as we can since you never really know if what you’re reading is true or not. With Microsoft set to official reveal the next Xbox on May 21st, we decided to take a look at what we want it to do, rather than what the rest of the internet tells us it will or won’t do. Aside from the obvious things that we’ll get, like shiny new graphics and more powerful hardware, these are the top five things we want from the next Xbox.
Not Be Always-On
Rumors of the next Xbox being an always-online console have been floating around for a while, but a recently leaked internal Microsoft memo seems to have put the rumors to rest. Having to be connected to the internet at all times, especially when playing a single player game, wouldn’t be very fun for those who don’t have reliable internet service and even worse for all of us when there’s an outage with the Xbox Live service. Hopefully Microsoft will confirm this isn’t something we need to worry about on May 21st and we can all move on with our lives.
Day One Digital Downloads
While it’s the standard for PC games and becoming more and more normal for the Playstation Store, the Xbox Live Marketplace is so far behind when it comes to day one digital downloads for retail games, it’s not even funny. Why bother going to a retail store when you can just download new games from the comfort of your couch? Sure, you lose all trade-in value for that game, but that really shouldn’t be your primary concern when buying a game. There’s no disc to lose, you don’t have to worry about it getting scratched and digital prices are often cheaper from the start, at least on Steam anyway, and who doesn’t like saving money? When it takes weeks, or even months, for the big retail games to end up in the Xbox Live Games On Demand catalog, most people have already bought it elsewhere. Microsoft have already lost this battle, but there’s no reason why they have to lose it again with the next Xbox.
More Realistic Digital Prices
Now, after you release all of those games digitally you need to keep up with the market and keep their prices realistic. Right now, Xbox Live Games On Demand prices are a joke for the most part, with games like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter going for $19.99 on Xbox Live, $9.99 on Steam and $2.95 at GameStop. Another great example is Modern Warfare 3 for $59.99 on Xbox Live, $24.99 at GameStop and $19.99 on Steam. As far as digital stores go, Steam has some of the best prices around, with frequent price drops and awesome sales throughout the year as well, so Microsoft could learn a thing or two about digital pricing from Valve. If you don’t update the price of a game as it gets older, no one is going to buy it from you, it’s that simple.
Easier Access For Indie Developers
Again, Steam is our comparison when it comes to how to treat indie developers and how to make their lives easier when it comes to releasing their games and updating them. We’ve all heard at least one horror story about an indie developer either having a brutal time getting their game released on the Xbox Live Arcade or all of the complications they run into when they try to release a patch for it. Valve seems to be doing it the right way as more developers are skipping consoles and releasing their games only on PC these days. Current games like Orcs Must Die 2 and Torchlight 2 skipped both the Xbox 360 and PS3 and upcoming games like Anomaly 2 and Dungeon Defenders 2 are skipping them as well. Sony have been doing a better job with indies lately though, with games like Hotline Miami, Guacamelee and Thomas Was Alone, coming to the PS Store and not Xbox Live. They are also setting themselves up nicely with the PS4 and Microsoft need to act fast or they are going to lose the next-gen indie battle and Xbox owners will miss out on even more great indie games.
More Games, Less Entertainment
It seems like there was a point when Microsoft stopped worrying about releasing more exclusive Xbox games and more about allowing the Xbox 360 to entertain us in other ways, such as watching movies, TV shows, music videos and live sports. Being able to use apps like NetFlix, YouTube and UFC on the Xbox 360 is great, but we would trade all of that in for more exclusive Xbox games. As much as we love the Halo, Forza and Gears of War series, the next Xbox needs more than just more sequels in its few big franchises. If you want people to buy your system, the most important thing you can do is give them more exclusive games. Sony is in the same boat with the PS4 and its exclusives, but if they keep getting the indies, those basically turn into exclusives for them as well. The bottom line is that the next Xbox needs more exclusive games, big and small, and no Microsoft, Kinect games don’t count.
What do you think? Do you agree with our choices? If not, what do you want to see the next Xbox do?