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The Future Of Microsoft And Xbox – Opinion

The Future Of Microsoft And Xbox – Opinion


Does The Future Look Bright For Xbox Fans?

During the unveiling of the new Xbox One X at Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference – which is set for release on November 7 – Kareem Choudhry, the head of Xbox Software Engineering and one of the lead individuals responsible for the creation of the newest member to grace the Xbox family, was invited on stage by head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, to address the three primary motivations behind the Xbox One X: Power, Compatibility and Craftsmanship.

As Choudhry described what the new console would entail, it became increasingly clear this was something to be excited about. The promise of a console that can deliver true 4k resolution at 60 frames per second (FPS) with a 6 Teraflop GPU clocked at 1.172 Ghz and 12GB GDDR5 of graphic memory made Microsoft’s claim that the newest Xbox will be “the most powerful console ever made” seem genuinely justifiable.

Despite being the smallest Xbox to date, the Xbox One X is set to leave its contemporary PlayStation 4 Pro (which also lauds 4k gaming) in the dust. Undoubtedly, the console will be an important tool for Microsoft to gain a one up on Sony in a technical sense and is definitely a step in the right direction for the corporation.

More To Gaming Than The Machine

However, as Microsoft has learned the hard way over the last couple of years, good specs and a solid console pitch are simply not enough. With Xbox consistently falling short to PlayStation when it comes to public preference. For Xbox to make a full comeback, genuine engagement with players is an absolute necessity. Luckily for Xbox fans, it seems that Microsoft have come to realise this fact.

While on the surface Microsoft have been working hard to ensure they take the lead when it comes to console development and achieve their goals of power, compatibility and craftsmanship, there has also been an underlying attempt to re-connect with the human aspect of the gaming industry, with a series of noticeable steps being taken to focus on audience awareness.

One of the most effective attempts made by Microsoft to show they are aware of their audiences needs was in Choudhry’s pitch. While Choudhry definitely pushed the new console’s compatibility with all Xbox One accessories and games – those on the Xbox Backwards Compatibility Programme included – as a technological feat due to the fact the Xbox One X enhances all pre-existing games to “look and play even better” than before, the human appeal of this feature cannot be denied.

The Cost Of Gaming

With the Xbox One X set to put fans back €500, access to their gaming library would be essential. Younger gamers who generally can’t afford to feed themselves for a month after buying a new console, let alone buy a new release title for another €70. The idea that you can not only keep all of your old favourite games, but play them in an enhanced setting is invaluable. This move by Microsoft shows technical ingenuity, but more importantly it shows a consideration for fans.

Similarly, the amount of console exclusives showcased during Microsoft’s E3 brief is another, important step in the right direction for Xbox. Many Xbox fans have felt abandoned and embittered as they have had to watch exclusive after exclusive drop on Playstation. Xbox gamers missed out on titles such as The Last of Us, Bloodborne and most recently, Horizon Zero Dawn.

However, at this year’s E3, Microsoft announced over 42 games – 22 of which were console exclusives. The fact that they have gone to such lengths to secure games like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds for their fans is important. It shows that Microsoft have not only heard their fans complaints but understand the dissatisfaction. It highlights the fact they are willing to invest time into addressing and eventually solving this issue.

Avatar Accuracy

The acknowledgement of fans wants and needs doesn’t stop there though. Sometimes it’s the smallest actions that speak the loudest.

Recently, Microsoft released an advert for their new Xbox Live Avatars which will launch this autumn. These avatars were originally introduced on the Xbox 360. They have always been a fun and quirky extra feature on Xbox Live. However, it was admittedly difficult to find a genuine likeness between creator and creation.

This is all set to change with the new Xbox Live Avatars which show a noticeable focus on inclusivity. Unlike before, these new Xbox Live Avatars will give players the chance to represent themselves in an accurate fashion. The inclusion of props such as wheelchairs and the option to display your avatar as pregnant or as an amputee.  Even things such as clothes and hairstyles are gender neutral. This gives all players the freedom to be who they are without labels or being forced into a box. What might seem like a small advancement, is undeniably an important one in today’s world.

All in all, the future looks like a very bright place for Xbox fans. One full of exclusives, consideration for fans and inclusiveness. Now all that’s left to do is see if all this goodness can last!

Words by Kayleigh McCoy