It’s going to be interesting to see how history remembers the Xbox One. While the console itself is quite good, Microsoft’s inability to secure exclusives and struggles to stay on message regarding the console have left it struggling in sales.
Regardless, Microsoft will release a new console next generation. Before they do so, they’re going to ask a lot of questions regarding what it will take to ensure their next console doesn’t struggle as the Xbox One has struggled. While there’s no easy path to that particular victory, there are a few things that Microsoft’s next console needs to feature.
Here are the things the next Xbox needs to be.
Full 4K Features
This feature might sound obvious, but because it’s not quite a guarantee, it bears mentioning.
4K is here to stay, but you’d have a hard time telling it based on how slow media streaming services have been in providing full 4K content. That hesitation seems to be based on a “slow” adoption rate of 4K technology. However, the adoption rate isn’t really slow so much as it is slow compared to the adoption of previous technological upgrades.
The point is that there’s no longer any reason to release a console that isn’t primarily designed to output in 4K. That doesn’t mean that the next Xbox shouldn’t accommodate lower resolutions, but rather that it should be primarily designed to take advantage of 4K.
A Release Date Ahead of the PlayStation 5’s
Historically speaking, beating your competition to the market is arguably the most important thing a console can do. While that’s not a hard and fast rule – hello Sega Dreamcast – being first on the market does have many advantages.
Having said that, it seems unlikely that the next Xbox will be first on the market. Microsoft was late to the game in releasing a higher-end console – the Xbox One X – which could theoretically delay their potential release window. However, we do think that it’s important that Microsoft take the initiative and help kickstart the next generation of high-end consoles.
A Ton of Support for Game Pass and Digital Content
Years ago, Microsoft envisioned a version of the Xbox One that was almost entirely digital. That idea was almost universally reviled.
Looking back, though, it wasn’t a bad idea; it was bad timing. The world wasn’t ready for such a device at that time, but a lot has changed since then. The introduction of Game Pass alone shows that there is a future for digital content that caters not only to those who want to buy games online but those who just want to subscribe and enjoy a steady flow of gaming experiences.
Should the next Xbox be digital-only? Probably not, but Microsoft should build the console around its digital delivery capabilities.
Full Backward Compatibility
Some companies – namely Sony – have stated that they don’t necessarily believe that offering the ability to play older titles is really all that profitable/popular. However, others argue that it is essential.
Microsoft has leaned heavily towards the latter argument in recent years, and it’s kind of worked out for them. Backward compatibility is one of the few untarnished gems in Microsoft’s crown. It’s a shining feature that fans love to know is there even if they don’t regularly use it.
Whether or not you love backward compatibility or could care less about it, there’s simply no way that Microsoft can go from having it to not having it.
The Most Accessible Console (Not the Most Powerful)
The Xbox One X is by far the most powerful console on the market. While it’s selling reasonably well, it’s not exactly changing the world.
Power matters, but only to an extent. What is more important for Microsoft moving forward is to design a system that is developer friendly. The Xbox One isn’t particularly unfriendly to developers, but Sony has done a tremendous job of billing the PS4 as the most developer friendly console out there. It’s part of the reason why they’ve been able to court so many exclusives.
It would be nice if the next Xbox is especially powerful, but it must be accessible above all else.