Keep Up the Backwards Compatibility Additions
Since it was revealed that the Xbox One would begin building a library of backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles in June 2015, Microsoft has consistently worked on adding titles to make it a seriously impressive roster. From Red Dead Redemption to the entire Mass Effect trilogy, there’s a good chance that your favorite 360 titles are now playable on your Xbox One.
Of course, while many of the major titles are now accounted for on the Xbox One, Microsoft still has a good chunk of smaller 360 titles that still need the backward compatibility treatment. Microsoft shouldn’t take their foot off the gas in 2017 when it comes to bolstering the library. If it continues with the rate that it added games in 2016, fans will be able to play nearly 40% of the 360 library on their Xbox One by the end of 2017. Not bad at all.
A Repeat Reveal Performance
The Xbox One reveal of 2013 seems like a long time ago, and Microsoft will likely be wanting to forget about the muddied messaging and 180’s that plagued the event and the days that followed. Despite the Xbox One boasting some impressive technical specs and an evolution of the 360 experience, it was all cast to the side as the new Kinect and its potential as a media center took center stage. With Microsoft due to reveal and subsequently release the Scorpio later this year, many will be hoping that Microsoft has its focus on the correct features.
Games, games, and more games. Stunning native 4K visuals, and clear and concise messaging will be the orders of the day for Project Scorpio’s official unveiling. Microsoft has certainly learned its lessons since 2013, with the Xbox One S’ lack of a Kinect port signaling the company is all about the core gaming experience. As long as it lets the Scorpio’s impressive potential speak for itself, Microsoft will avoid a repeat performance.
Partner Up for More Third-Party Exclusives
The Xbox One has some exciting exclusive titles coming up this year, there’s no doubt about it. Scalebound will have players join forces with a dragon to save the world, Sea of Thieves will let us sail the seas in search of treasure, and Crackdown 3 is set to bring more futuristic law enforcement fun. Yet, while fans are certainly excited to finally jump into these games in 2017, they’ll be wanting something to play while they wait.
This is where Microsoft has a bit of an issue currently. While it has the general third-party titles coming to all platforms, it doesn’t have quite as extensive of a lineup of exclusive third-party titles as it may have hoped. Though it has the likes of Scalebound and Tacoma already, it could definitely do with adding a few more.
Looking at the Xbox’s 2017 exclusives lineup in isolation so early in the year doesn’t suggest that the console is lacking. After all, Microsoft will likely announce a ton of titles at E3 and throughout the rest of the year. However, when you stand it next to the PS4’s exclusives lineup already confirmed for 2017, the difference is pretty damn huge. If Microsoft wants to further put the pressure on Sony in 2017, third-party exclusives are definitely one way to do exactly that.
Losing Focus on the Xbox One
Toward the end of 2016, Microsoft reaped the rewards of the Xbox One S and a solid lineup of exclusives releasing. The Xbox One became the top-selling console four months in a row in November, allowing it to start closing the gap that Sony has managed to accrue over the past couple of years. Microsoft will likely be looking toward its upcoming Scorpio to help close this gap even further, but that doesn’t mean the Xbox One should be forgotten about.
Though Microsoft has already confirmed that the Scorpio will not have exclusive titles, there’s always the concern that games will begin to struggle to run on the Xbox One. Microsoft needs to ensure that game optimization for the Xbox One doesn’t get pushed into the background in order to make the Scorpio versions the prettiest and most polished they can be. If Microsoft is serious about the Xbox One, and it certainly seems like it is, then it cannot let the Scorpio overshadow its current system.
Improving the First-Party PC Experiences
If you’re a PC player, you’ll likely have faced countless issues when it came to playing Microsoft’s first-party titles on your hardware. With the Play Anywhere program, PC gamers finally got the chance to play Xbox One exclusives on their powerful rigs. Forza Horizon 3, Quantum Break, and Gears of War 4 all released on PC as well as the Xbox One. Unfortunately, all three releases had some teething issues on launch day.
While Gears of War 4’s issues largely revolved around downloading the game from the Windows Store, Forza Horizon 3 and Quantum Break simply didn’t play nicely on PC. Horizon 3 suffered from crashes and constant frame rate stutters, and Quantum Break suffered from a general lack of optimization for PC hardware. With a number of first-party exclusives due to come to the PC this year, Microsoft has the perfect chance to show that the Universal Windows Platform can offer superb gaming experiences regardless of your preferred platform.
Oculus AND HoloLens Scorpio Functionality
While Microsoft has already confirmed that the upcoming Project Scorpio will work with a VR headset, the company also has a very impressive headset of its own that, if utilized correctly, could bring a whole new way to play games on a console. Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset is currently available as a development kit for quite the pretty penny. However, Microsoft could blow the competition straight out of the water if they simply showed what was possible when combining a Scorpio and HoloLens together.
Imagine it. The Scorpio has been revealed and during the presentation, we get another tech demo similar to that which we saw with HoloLens and Minecraft a couple of years ago. With both VR and AR functionality, the Scorpio would not only be the most powerful console ever, but the most versatile in terms of the possibilities it could bring to gaming.
Announcing Games too Early
The Xbox One has been host to some incredible games. Whether it’s 2016’s Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, Halo 5 in 2015, or 2014’s Sunset Overdrive, there have been plenty of reasons to pick up one of Microsoft’s little boxes. However, there have been a number of games that are becoming a little elusive. Namely because they’ve been delayed countless times.
Indie darling Cuphead was originally supposed to release sometime in 2014, yet we still don’t have a confirmed release date. Scalebound was victim to similar issues, and Crackdown 3’s weird half and half release of campaign and multiplayer has suffered a good couple of delays itself. Microsoft cannot afford to continue delaying not only these games, but any future titles they announce. With E3 sure to bring a bunch of huge titles for both the Xbox One and Scorpio, Microsoft will need to ensure that those slated for a 2017 release don’t slip into next year. Especially when it’s releasing new hardware in the holiday season.
A Scorpio Powerhouse Launch Lineup
Fall will bring about the release of Microsoft’s newest console, Project Scorpio. Said to be the most powerful games console ever, with the ability to display native 4K resolutions, it has the potential to be a huge success for Microsoft. That is, of course, if they can provide it with a powerhouse launch lineup.
Though the Scorpio itself, as previously mentioned, won’t have any exclusive titles, Microsoft can still provide players with plenty of reasoning to pick up one of the new systems. The likes of Crackdown 3 and Scalebound are still awaiting confirmed 2017 release dates, so perhaps they could be just two titles in the launch lineup that really show what the Scorpio is capable of. Following the very hit and miss offerings of the PS4 Pro last November, Microsoft has the chance to show the industry that it has the better iterative console of the two. But, it will all come down to the launch lineup to really showcase its potential and sell the system.
Poor Scorpio Pricing
This is possible the most obvious big mistake that Microsoft could potentially succumb to in 2017. With the Scorpio looking to be far superior to anything else that’s out on the market at the moment, nobody quite knows where the price point is going to fall. Xbox Marketing head Aaron Greenberg said that the device is a “premium product” and would be priced as such back in August. However, a few months later, Phil Spencer implied that the Scorpio would be priced comparably to other consoles.
With so much tech crammed into the system, Microsoft runs the risk of outpricing itself. Just as Sony did with the PS3 all those years ago. If Microsoft wants the Scorpio to succeed as well as they hope, then the price point will have to be as close to the competition as possible. Otherwise, it could be a tough sell to existing Xbox One owners.