2016 was a pretty big year for Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console and 2017 is looking to be even bigger with the launch of Project Scorpio in the second half of the year. While things are generally looking up for the Xbox One, and sales have been reflecting this improvement, there are still a few things that need to be improved upon and even one or two features that need a complete revamp.
Here are my top seven things that I would like to see improved on the Xbox One by the end of 2017.
Rethink of Movies & TV on Xbox One
While Microsoft’s Movies & TV (also called Films & TV in several regions) works fine for some Xbox One owners, for many users, including myself, the service is almost unusable due to its inability to stream quality audio and video in a consistent manner.
Despite other media streaming apps such as Netflix and YouTube working perfectly fine on the Xbox One, Movies & TV frequently shifts between image resolutions while streaming a film or TV episode, is distorted by static, and even crashes on occassion. I’ve experienced all of the above while living in both Japan and Australia and friends have told me they’ve had the same in several European countries as well. The problem could be the lack of data centers in certain regions but, let’s be honest here, the Xbox One has been out for over three years now and if Microsoft hasn’t worked out how to stream video properly on its own console, something every other Xbox One app has no problem doing, they’re probably not going to fix it anytime soon. The solution then? Enable video downloads.
Right now, the Movies & TV app only allows for streaming of media. All problems associated with streaming would be solved if Microsoft simply added the ability to pre-download movies and TV shows before watching them. If Apple’s cheap Apple TV device can offer this functionality, there should be no reason why the Xbox One, a significantly more powerful piece of hardware, can do the same.
Overall Xbox One System Stability
Despite its numerous system updates in 2016, the Xbox One is still fairly unstable. The dashboard randomly refreshes on its own and quitting and app can cause all sort of delays. There are also several bugs associated with game stability, which can cause them to freeze for seemingly no reason at all, and internet connectivity issues that render parts of the system unusable. It’s likely a lot of these glitches will be fixed in future updates in 2017 but these sort of problems shouldn’t be an issue at all this far into a console’s life.
Don’t Forget Kinect
I predicted in another recent feature that the Kinect would be getting a new lease on life in 2017 and could possibly even be getting a new model (hey, I like to go big with my predictions) but that doesn’t mean things are good for Kinect right now. 2016 was a terrible year for Kinect. It was so bad in fact that many gamers have begun theorizing that Microsoft is even going to completely dump the peripheral altogether.
From game streaming to voice commands and even virtual reality, the Kinect has a lot of potential. Sony’s PlayStation 4 never really used its camera and it doesn’t look like the Nintendo Switch will have one at all. The Kinect is something that really sets the Xbox One apart from its competitors and it needs to be embraced by Microsoft and gamers.
Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility
Microsoft has confirmed that backwards compatibility for original Xbox video games is completely possible on the Xbox One but that they just need to prioritize certain features before others. It’s unclear if 2017 will be the year we’ll finally see it happen, especially with so many Xbox 360 games still needing to be converted and the launch of Project Scorpio on the horizon, but it would be a nice surprise announcement to make at E3 this year and there’s no denying how incredibly cool it would be to have all three generations of Xbox games playable on the one device.
More Social Connectivity on Xbox One
Microsoft added the ability to connect Facebook and Xbox accounts in 2016. This was used mainly to recommend Facebook friends who also had Xbox accounts to users and worked rather well but was also limited by the relatively low number of contacts people have on Facebook when compared to other social networks.
In 2017, it would be great to be able to properly connect Twitter to Xbox and allow for the auto-detection of Twitter users’ Xbox accounts. This would be a natural pairing, especially since Twitter and Xbox both encourage the following of other users over the more closed nature of Facebook.
Global Availability of Xbox Design Lab
One of the cooler Xbox announcements made in recent years has been the reveal of Xbox Design Lab, a new service that allows users to design their own custom Xbox One controller. Well, it was cool until it was revealed that it would only be available in select regions.
Microsoft needs to either expand this service globally or at least add the option for international shipping from the U.S. Most Xbox One users would be more than happy to pay the extra fees. At least give users a choice.
Universal Windows Platform Apps Designed for Console
The Xbox One now uses a version of the Windows 10 operating system and as a result can run apps created in the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app format. Unfortunately, almost all of these still run as though they’re being used on a desktop computer and require the user to awkwardly navigate a curser with the Xbox One controller’s joystick. Microsoft’s Weather app is a great example this, Fitbit is another.
UWP apps on Xbox One have a lot of potential but effort needs to be put into making them work with a controller instead of a keyboard and mouse. The current options just aren’t rewarding and are barely worth downloading.
Is there anything that you would like to see Microsoft work on with the Xbox One in 2017? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments below.