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5 Things we want from XBOX in 2023

Is X gonna give it to us?...

It’s hard not to be critical toward XBOX right now. They’re buying up studios, yet aren’t using them to their elite potential due to obvious constraints that prevent the green brand from venturing forth as sole propertieers. The ongoing legal battle that has essentially burned some bridges of communication between XBOX and other brands, due to competitive rights and laws. It’s murky waters they’re travelling, but XBOX have the right to see through their purchases not withstanding a chance the studio could easily keep these IP’s as exclusives. But here’s the problem; they may be buying up all these development teams but have yet to prove strong in exclusives on the XBOX Series X, other than the ongoing Forza series to which I say is not even part of this conversation – Playground Games was always under XBOX, no matter an acquisition. Here’s the deal, we want XBOX to have a strong 2023. With the upcoming Developer_Direct they have scheduled for January 26, it’s going to be an intriguing insight to what the XBOX Series X will be for gamers and the brand itself this generation. In saying this, it’s only fitting that we have five things we want to see from XBOX in 2023.

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#1: Real Exclusives... 

If XBOX Game Studio wants to talk a big game this year, they better have an ace up their sleeve, because the well is running dry and gamers are growing frustrated. Yes XBOX have Xcloud, and Game Pass, but where are the exclusives? The heavy hitters? Why are we three years into the generation without one title that has been the Series X’s selling point? At this moment the Series X has available a total of six retail ‘exclusives’, that aren’t actually exclusives. They are the following;

  • As Dusk Falls (Microsoft)
  • The Falconeer (Wired Productions)
  • Fable (Microsoft)
  • Forza (Microsoft)
  • Halo Infinite (Microsoft)
  • Martha is Dead (Wired Productions)

It’s not an impressive list to say the least. Sure some will argue that XBOX has The Medium, or The Ascent. I’m not dismissing either of them but the fact that I don’t need an actual console to play them, already negates the argument. Hell, Forza’s not XBOX exclusive, it’s not even Windows store exclusive. It’s available on Steam, ergo PC and Steam Deck. Where is that one title that will make gamers NEED an XBOX Series X? That’s what I want in 2023. Just ONE GAME that says, you need to buy this major AAA title that’s only ever going to be available for that big black box sitting on your entertainment centre. The XBOX Series X is an excellent piece of kit that still has massive potential to wipe the mat with its main competitors, but it needs that exclusive already. Stop buying up studios, and start planning actual releases.

#2: Starfield Release Date... 

I think this may be a given for the XBOX/Bethesda Developer_Direct, but I’m assuming we’ll only get more information without an actual date attached to the project. Originally slated for November 2022, Starfield was delayed to no-one’s surprise. Bethesda have a track record in delaying their titles a mile long, and after the train wreck that was Fallout 76, I don’t blame them for wanting to hold off on this title. The initial preview shown at E3 last year was criticised for demonstrating little gameplay, a desolate world and barely any interactivity for the player. It’s a title that holds a lot of mystery for gamers and to be honest – apart from promotional materials – that’s its selling point. We need more information and we need it now. If we walk away without any information furthering Starfield’s development cycle, gameplay loop, narrative or campaign, it may be DOA akin to No Man’s Sky. Hope to see a refined demo shown at the conference next week.

#3: A Redesigned Controller... 

This may already be in production, but again I’ll assume that we’re not getting it anytime soon. For that, I would push the agenda that XBOX should get a new controller out the door with added haptics similar to the Dualsense. Without doubt, the green brand knew PlayStation 5’s massive acclaim came early on from innovative technologies used in the peripheral, sending out surveys to launch adopters, asking if the company should look into developing a controller similar to the Dualsense. It wasn’t a secret that PlayStation were releasing the controller with added sensitivities and features, yet XBOX overlooked this to stick with its initial design seen last generation, yet materially altered. I praise XBOX for taking the initiative in allowing existing users with XBOX One controllers to migrate their spare remote for the new platform. However, it would have been a bonus to see the Series X launch an exclusive type controller that coincides with the PlayStation 5.

#4: A New Dashboard UI... 

I cannot stress this enough. The XBOX Dashboard has been one of the most convoluted ways to navigate any singular platform’s UI since the XBOX One first introduced the tile-based format. Updates and self-praised ‘improvements’ rolled out, but have never been said by fans to be user friendly, nor organised. It’s all over the place and a massive headache to use. Shoulder buttons to slide across from your main dashboard to its store removed, your existing library hidden in Settings unless recently opened, not to mention Game Pass being a slog to search and never archived properly. Can we please stop making UI’s so extensive, you’re not impressing anyone. Give us simplicity, a menu to navigate to access what we want or need. It’s great that it contains customisation tools to personalise a theme that suits you – a feature the Nintendo Switch desperately needs. However, it’s an absolute eyesore to gaze on when booting the console.

#5: Get Game Pass on Nintendo Switch... 

Okay this one’s far fetched and more a pipedream than anything. But having Game Pass on the go – at least for us Aussie’s that aren’t capable of purchasing a Steam Deck locally – would be incredible. It would be an interesting partnership between two parties that aren’t strangers, rather strange bedfellows. Nintendo and XBOX worked together upon launching Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition on the hybrid handheld in 2018. Hell if you attended E3 2018, you would seen Major Nelson (Larry Hyrb) carrying his Switch, promoting Microsoft’s property on the platform. It would be the ultimate way to stick it to PlayStation after the Activision/Blizzard debacle, and of massive investment for both companies, but in favour for XBOX granted Nintendo’s Switch lifetime sales are almost triple the Series X. If anything it’s another platform to share the wealth, and for gamers to take their XBOX experience with them wherever, whenever.

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