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Xbox 720: 7 Things We Hope To See In Microsoft's Next-Gen Console

Posted on Monday, January 28 @ 14:08:00 Eastern by Alex_Osborn

4. More Robust Social Features (Miiverse Equivalent)

Nintendo has some interesting features with the Wii U in terms of uniting the gaming community. The Nintendo Network will likely never be the ideal place to play competitive online shooters, but what we've seen with Miiverse thus far could be an exciting glimpse at the future of social networking for gamers.

Microsoft already has an established avatar system much like Nintendo's Miis, so implementing something similar seems like a logical move. Providing a grander picture of what the entire gaming population is playing, along with the ability to post hints, tips, and tricks, would be a great way to build community and connect gamers in new, exciting ways. If the success of Twitter is any indication, this broad, all-encompassing type of community is what people want, so it'd be wise for Microsoft to give it to them. 




3. Xbox 360 Controller With Improved D-Pad


You'll be hard-pressed to find someone out there who downright dislikes the Xbox 360 controller. After having learned from their mistakes with the monstrosity that was the original Xbox controller, Microsoft created a gamepad that just feels great. The offset sticks is a favorite among FPS aficionados, the triggers are virtually unmatched, and the form factor is super comfortable. As such, these few aspects of the controller should remain unchanged.

What still proves to be an issue, however, is the D-pad, which just doesn't deliver the level of precision you'd expect, want, or need. They tried to remedy this with the transforming pad, but it certainly has proven to be the ideal solution. If Microsoft can come up with something that feels more precise, I'm sure fewer people would be jumping ship to play fighting games on competing hardware. In addition, the buttons could afford a slight change. The tactile feel you get from pressing a button on one of Sony or Nintendo's controllers is far more satisfying, so a few modifications in this regard would be nice.




2. Better SmartGlass Integration


Microsoft has no intention of trying to take on the PlayStation Vita and 3DS in the dedicated handheld space, and rightly so. Smartphones are the new way to experience gaming on the go, and nearly everyone has one with them at all times. In addition, we're seeing a rise in the popularity of tablets, which Nintendo has tried to capitalize on with the Wii U GamePad. If Microsoft is smart, they won't attempt to copy that with a new Xbox peripheral but rather deliver on the promise of SmartGlass.

We've seen limited functionality since its launch last year, and I hope we see Microsoft continue to build upon it to take advantage of whatever exciting new features they're packing into the Xbox 720. In this way, there is little risk for them, as there's no need to manufacture and sell a separate piece of hardware, and the customer wins by not having to purchase said peripheral. The foundation is already in place at this point, Microsoft just needs to build on it.




1. More First-Party Exclusives


It's no secret that Microsoft doesn't have a whole lof of exclusive first-party content. Aside from HaloGears of War, Forza, and Kinect titles, there isn't much original software tied to the Xbox platform. Up until this point, we've seen the company rely on the success of the aforementioned franchises in addition to timed exclusivity deals (Call of Duty DLC), but that may not be enough to sell the new console at launch, especially if Sony isn't late to the party this time around.

It's all about software, and when people are trying to decide whether to pick up the next-gen PlayStation or Xbox, they're going to look at which offers the better gaming experience. Sony will likely have several exclusive titles ready to go on day one, so if Microsoft hopes to compete, they better have something new and exciting as well. And no, timed-exclusivity for Bungie's Destiny isn't enough. We need first-party studios to step up and make something tailored to the machine, game experiences that make people say, "I've gotta have an Xbox 720."

What are you hoping to see from Microsoft's next-gen gaming box?
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