Xbox had a 2015 lineup that was filled with great exclusives and hearty system updates. We saw backwards compatibility make its way onto the console, the New Xbox One Experience that introduced Windows 10, and the much awaited launch of Halo 5: Guardians! For a full recap on just how great a year 2015 was for our friends at Microsoft check out our year in review.
Despite the valiant effort to make up ground on their competition, the Xbox One is still lagging behind in sales. However, momentum for the console has been building since E3 2014, and 2016 can bring about even more great additions to an already solid console. So let’s take a look at 6 things we’d like to see from Xbox in 2016!
Xbox One Slim
It took the Xbox 360 nearly five years to bring a slimmer version of the original console to market. The redesign was the same prices as the Xbox Elite, and featured a built-in wi-fi adapter and a 250 GB hard drive. The current Xbox One is big, really big. Though not entirely aesthetically unappealing, the console would benefit from a redesign that maintains the clean lines while making the system significantly smaller.
With the Xbox One trailing the PS4 in sales the redesign could reinvigorate the market. The release of slim consoles allows for the use of smaller and often cheaper parts, allowing the consumer to get more bang for their buck. A slimmer Xbox that could feature either a 1 TB HDD or an elite controller for around the $400 price point would allow Xbox to regain a bit of ground not only from new adopters but also from early adopters looking for an upgrade.
Alan Wake 2
Microsoft published Alan Wake in 2010 with great success both critically and commercially. The psychological survival horror tells the story of a thriller writer whose wife goes missing under what turns out to be supernatural circumstances. With the authorities convinced that he is to blame for the disappearance of his wife, Alan must track down the forces responsible for this crime. The atmosphere is ominous and downright sinister, proving that a game can rely on far more than gore and incessant jump scares to create good horror.
After selling over 3 million copies, it seemed fairly inevitable that a sequel was going to come, but so far the only indication we have of a sequel coming is a brief “yes,” from game creator Sam Lake when asked by GameInformer if fans can expect to play an Alan Wake 2.
Currently, Remedy Entertainment is working on bringing Quantum Break to Xbox One on April 5, 2016, but fans shouldn’t rule out a return of Alan Wake 2 in the near future.
Bring Back The Wireless Chat Headset
However, one of the most well-received pieces of hardware during the Xbox 360 era has yet to find its iteration on the Xbox One, the Wireless Chat Headset. The single-ear bluetooth headset launched alongside the Xbox 36o in North America on November 22, 2005, and offered a great option for players wanting to go wireless without shelling out a couple hundred bucks for a headset that did both chat and game audio. Two years after the Xbox One’s release and we still have yet to see a similar product for the console.
Over on Xbox’s User Voice website, the suggestion of bringing back the wireless chat headset has over 4,000 votes and 512 comments of people pleading for Microsoft to make one.
Forget About Timed Console Exclusivity
Exclusivity is a part of gaming business. One of the determining factors for many people when purchasing a console is whether or not it has games that they want to play. Exclusivity allows there to be a certain level of parity between offerings. Whether it is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd party titles being tied to a specific console, the practice isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
However, timed exclusivity is a whole different animal. In the cases of games that have small teams that want to ensure the game runs on a particular platform before giving over resources to putting it on another the practice is completely acceptable. But for deals such as the one Microsoft struck with Square Enix to bring Rise of the Tomb Raider to Xbox One a year prior its release on the PlayStation 4, just seems like bad business all around.
The deal drew the ire of Tomb Raider fans all around when its muddled details were revealed at Gamescom in 2014, and the deal may have done more harm than good for Xbox. The game did not sell well as it was cannibalized by other major releases (Star Wars Battlefront, Fallout 4, Call of Duty Black Ops III), and with the game coming to PlayStation 4 in a year, fans of Sony’s console simply resolved to wait it out. With the sales numbers as poor as they were, despite the fact the game has been praised critcally, it is safe to assume that the move did not result in more Xbox Ones moved.
Acquire Undead Labs and Playground Games
Instead of focusing shifting on timed-exclusivity, Microsoft should spend more time on acquiring studios that have been doing and continue to do great work for them. Two of those studios are Undead Labs and Playground Games.
Headed by former Diablo, Warcraft III, and Guild Wars developer, Jeff Strain, Undead Labs has released only one title, State of Decay in 2009. However, State of Decay released exclusively on Xbox 360 and PC with enough critical success to warrant a re-release, State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, on Xbox One. The studio has big plans to expand on the success they created with State of the Decay, and Microsoft would benefit from locking the franchise up long-term moving forward.
Playground Games is the developer behind the open-world racing title, Forza Horizon. While supporting developer, Turn 10 Studios, is under the first-party umbrella, the UK-based studio remains a 3rd party developer. The pedigree for greatness is there, however, with former employees from Ubisoft, Criterion, and Slightly Mad Studios.
Bring Back Conker
Xbox fans were disappointed to say the least when it was revealed at this year’s E3 that the big Conker announcement was about his inclusion in Project Spark, an announcement that didn’t fully come to fruition. Fans of the series received a bit of consolation though when Conker’s Bad Fur Day was included in Rare Replay.
However, a new installment of our vulgar friend would be a welcome addition to the Xbox lineup. Rare was moved in full force to the the Kinect when it launched, and the Conker IP was forced deep into the Xbox vault ever since. With the plead from Sony fans to bring back Crash Bandicoot and the success of the Yooka Laylee Kickstarter, the demand for mascot action-platform games would seem to justify jumping into another alcohol induced misadventure! As of March, there is no new Conker game in development, but a lot can happen in nine months!
These are just a few items on our Xbox One wishlist. What are some of yours? Leave what you would like to see in the comments below!