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10 features we want to see in the next Xbox

Jared Newman, Jason Cross | April 12, 2013
The next Xbox's announcement is coming in late May. We drop a few ideas in the suggestion box.

4. An improved controller

The Xbox 360 has one of the most confortable controllers ever made, but it could certainly be improved. A better D-Pad and less wiggle-prone thumbsticks would be welcome, but why stop there? The eight-year-old wireless technology used for the Xbox 360 makes for high latency and very low bandwidth for voice communications. New controllers should focus on higher bandwidth and lower latency, clearer voice, and should lift the 4-controller limit imposed by the current system. It didn't seem like a problem at the time, but it has been a real problem for games like Rock Band. Vibration technology has advanced quite a bit in the last decade, allowing for the possiblity of what one could call "high definition rumble". Wireless charging would be a nice touch as well.

5. No more Microsoft Points

Although you can buy full retail titles on the Xbox 360 in actual dollars, other games still require you to use Microsoft Points, a virtual currency that obfuscates how much money you're really spending. Microsoft has said that the points system allows it to have a single currency around the world, but that reasoning doesn't hold up now that the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store accept real currency in almost every major market. It's time for Microsoft Points to go away for good.

6. Better community features

Microsoft has never fully explained why you can't have more than 100 friends on Xbox Live, aside from blaming the limit on vague technical limitations dating back to the original Xbox. Hopefully the next Xbox will remove the roadblocks. We'd also like to see more robust community features such as groups/clans/guilds, scheduled games or matches, tournament brackets and contests, and finally the real ability for users to create, trade, and even sell in-game content. Does anyone remember Velocity Girl?

7. A competitive downloadable games market

Instead of simply cracking down on used games in the next Xbox, Microsoft should compete with fairly-priced downloadable games. Give us great deals on older games or bundles, similar to the sales found on Steam, and we'll gladly save ourselves the trip to GameStop. Really, just put pricing control direclty and freely in the hands of the game makers, as is done with the Store on Windows 8 and Windows Phone. As for new games, they should all be available to download on the same day as boxed, retail copies go on sale, with pre-loading available to prevent a big download crush all release day.

8. Lower barriers for game developers

The current Xbox splits games into three markets - one for downloadable games that were available at retail (Games on Demand), another for smaller download-only titles (Xbox Live Arcade), and a third for independant games that don't have to jump through the steep and expensive requirements necessary for Xbox Live Arcade (Xbox Indie Games). As Wired recently pointed out, releasing an indie game on the Xbox Live Arcade can be a grueling process.


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