“Microsoft, please make me care about gaming on Xbox One again”
Adam Cook thinks Xbox One can be great, but Microsoft needs to take a long hard look at itself
Last generation I played a ridiculous amount of games on Xbox 360. PS3 was my ‘exclusive’ console, and every multi-format game was played on Microsoft’s phenomenal machine – and I’d bet many of you were the same. So what’s changed? When I think back about to Xbox 360, I often link its success to achievements and online play. Now, they’ve been devalued to the point you can get them from watching TV, and Sony has caught up on Xbox Live. All I want is a reason to love my Xbox One, so I’m begging you, Microsoft, make me care about Xbox One again.
We know that the console needs games, and that Crackdown is on the way, but little of it has been shown, and games in development for as long as this one rarely turn out to be complete bangers (The Last Guardian, I’m looking at you). State Of Decay 2 will be good, but it isn’t a system seller, and Forza 7 will be great, but is for a very specific niche.
A lot of my frustrations with Xbox One are down to the way the console itself operates. Every few months Microsoft rolls out a user interface that attempts to speed it up, and make it better to navigate. But it’s not working: the latest update sees a huge amount of space taking up half the screen, with the next few things you see being adverts and features nobody wants. ‘Suggested Friend’, anybody? Sure, because the thing people want on the internet nowadays is to find a random user that definitely won’t be a complete nutter, right?
Nobody is suggesting Xbox goes back to the original 360 blade-style (although…) but the concerning thing is that Xbox One X seems to be being positioned as a fix-all, and that’s not going to be the case. Power is great, and will hopefully speed up the dashboard greatly, but Sony’s PS4 has shown that the core system functionality must match the older hardware in order to not alienate the existing audience.
Achievements could be the key here. Like many other players, I spent hours earning Crackdown and Dead Rising achievements. Who among us can honestly say they didn’t consider strapping a rubber band to their controller just to get the ‘Marathon Runner’ in that first Frank West adventure? Achievements need to matter again, because right now they just don’t.
It seems daft to say it but Microsoft’s attempts to stay ahead of the pack has caused it to devalue almost everything that made Xbox 360 great. Stop trying to fix things that aren’t broken, focus on making that UI actually enjoyable to use (go back to the drawing board if need be), and stop thrusting adverts into paying customers’ faces. Then I can love my Xbox again.
“Make that UI enjoyable to use and stop thrusting adverts into paying customers’ faces”