We are nearing the home stretch towards E3 and the console war for the next generation has never been so bloody. With Sony and Nintendo already showing their hands, some fans have already thrown up their flag of allegiance for the next cycle in the home entertainment console generation.
This is all well and good if you are a super fan-boy/fan-girl of a particular brand and PlayStation and the Nintendo consoles definitely have those; in fact, the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3 are the top selling consoles of the current generation of gaming.
With all of this commotion, that leaves one major player out; Microsoft’s Xbox. The Xbox 360 had a strong start among the consoles by releasing a full year earlier than the competition and sure, the Wii did come out and sell like hotcakes. But let’s be honest here; with catering to children, casual gamers and their own core gamers it was a recipe for success.
But that’s not where Microsoft’s head was at with the Xbox. We all know that their main goal was to appeal to the hard-core gamer, and as long as they were ahead of the PlayStation 3 in sales, then it was a total win.
Well, time changes things.
Recently the PS3 has overlapped the Xbox 360 in global sales, leaving the Xbox in last place.
Picking themselves up and gathering all the pieces together, Microsoft plans to reveal the new Xbox on May 21st and more than likely will reveal the rest of its hand at E3. With the living room at stake here, what can the Xbox do to hit the ground running in the generation?
Here are a few pointers.
For starters, they need to make the next Xbox yours all over again.
What do I mean by that? I mean the Xbox 360 was very customizable. From creating a new face plate to customizing your dashboard, name and other cool things the gamer truly felt like they were turning on “their” Xbox. The new console should take this idea and run with it, a person should be able to personalize it to an extent that knows no bounds, almost like a person setting up their own computer rig or customizing their car.
The next order of business for this new console to survive is to restructure the Xbox Live service… because it ain’t right. Playing online with other gamers and even chatting with them is one thing, I understand it and I also understand in being charged for it; but to all of those out there who like to play single player or campaign modes have exactly zero access to the other apps that the service charges for.
Simply put, if a person doesn’t have Xbox Live then they can’t have access to basic apps such as Internet Explorer, YouTube or even Netflix (and other video streaming services). So, the whole back-fall of the Xbox Live service is that one would have to purchase the entire service even if they only use a few apps; also, a person now has to pay double to view services that they already have subscriptions to in the first place.
I am not ignorant. I understand that they have the full legal right to charge however much for their own product, but you as a consumer are in your full legal right to go to another console or computer.
The third order of business is to cut out all of the damn shooters, but that’s pretty much a dead horse. I’m sure there are a million other gaming sites yelling the same thing.
Lastly, we have the cool factor.
Every console has its share of problems, but I will give the Xbox 360 credit for making gaming sexy. It made it somewhat normal for a grown up to have a nice gaming setup with a 360 at the center of it all. Consoles are known to be big ugly boxes, but the 360 had a certain curve to it that made it look like a sexy styrofoam peanut. The new Xbox needs to be sexy and elegant, like something that will actually go with a nice flat screen and a sound system that is easy on the eyes.
It needs to be something that everyone wants to touch, like a sexy little gaming machine. The controller for the 360 would have to be the most comfortable and form fitting controller of all, but kept a nice slick look. The new controller has to continue this trend.
We’ll just have to see in a few weeks just what Microsoft is planning for the next iteration of the Xbox but if they follow any these pointers above then maybe, just maybe they’ll be okay in the new generation.