Xbox Durango: How Microsoft Can Win Next-Gen
With rumours swirling around about next-generation consoles, Sony’s unveiling of ‘some’ PlayStation 4 information has gotten people wondering what exactly Microsoft can do to match or surpass Sony’s new console. With some mysteries still surrounding the PS4, Microsoft would do well to capitalize on some weaknesses from Sony’s PS4 announcement. Microsoft still haven’t announced a name for their new console either, so here we’ll use the rumoured Durango moniker. Personally, I don’t think Durango will remain as a name, so it may very well be called the Xbox 3 or something similar.
Integrate Kinect Properly Into Hardcore Games
Not a lot of hardcore gamers have embraced the idea of motion gaming and truth be told, it is because Kinect hasn’t really been incorporated well into hardcore games. Kinect is looking to be the biggest draw for the casual crowd in the next-generation, so Microsoft can’t give up on the peripheral. Rumours that Kinect will be sold together with the new console is big news in order to draw in more gamers to utilise the Kinect peripheral. That said though, Microsoft needs to push their own first-party games to utilise Kinect in an innovative way. Dubbed Kinect 2.0, the device needs to do much more than just track movement in a 3D environment. Utilised in tandem with the gamepad controller, the full potential of the Kinect device has not yet been shown. Now would be a good time to showcase it.
Introduce Fresh New IPs
With all the hullabaloo surrounding the PS4 announcement, only a handful of games was actually shown, some of which will no doubt be multiplatform titles. Microsoft should definitely step up their first-party game development to introduce new and exciting franchises. Microsoft has been very successful with their first-party IPs as Gears of War, Forza Motorsports and the Halo series have all done extremely well both critically and commercially. It looks rather obvious that Microsoft can craft games that gamers want to play, with an online infrastructure that further enables enjoyment from these games. Microsoft shouldn’t be too scared of developing new IPs as they have built up a substantial amount of trust amongst their userbase that new IPs should be embraced rather well. This is even more important during the early parts of a new console’s life as more users will buy games outside of their comfort zone to justify their console purchase.
Backwards Compatibility From Day 1
One of the few murmurings after the Sony press conference is that Sony are having a hard time figuring out how to handle backwards compatibility. From console titles to digital titles, it seems that Sony gamers may need to either wait a while before gaining access to old games, or that they may even need to re-buy those titles. The fact that Sony remains elusive on backwards compatibility provides Microsoft with a strong tool to utilise themselves. Should Microsoft show a much easier adoption of backwards compatibility, gamers will notice how more reliable Microsoft is in this regard compared to Sony. This could be a major boast for Microsoft especially in a push for a more digital friendly console.
One of the major downsides of the next Microsoft console will be the Xbox Live fees that needs to be paid to play online. With Sony still being coy on whether they too will charge for online gaming next-gen however, Microsoft can rest a lot easier with announcing their updated Xbox Live service for their next console. By adding more incentive to purchasing Xbox Live, such as day 1 backwards compatibility, Microsoft can show gamers that the new Xbox will be a console worthy of next-gen gaming.