Rumours are beginning to swirl over Microsoft’s next Xbox gaming console, slated for release in 2020.
It’s still a while before we are likely to see any working prototypes, but that won’t stop us from sharing all the rumours so far and making some predictions about what we would love to see.
What we know so far
Phil Spencer, Vice-President of Gaming at Microsoft, had this to say about the future of Xbox:
“Our experts in Microsoft Research are developing the future of gaming AI, so the worlds and characters we enjoy will be even richer and more immersive. Our cloud engineers are building a game streaming network to unlock console-quality gaming on any device. Not only that, but we are dedicated to perfecting your experience everywhere you want to play, [whether] it’s on your Xbox, your PC or your phone, and of course our hardware team, the same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming.”
If this statement holds true, it would appear Microsoft is working on a streaming console as well as the usual console and physical disc experience.
With this in mind, here are our top three most-wanted features for Microsoft’s next iteration of Xbox(s).
A budget option for the masses
Xbox already comes in budget (One S) and premium (One X) flavours, but as alluded to by Phil Spencer, this could be the first time we see drastically different consoles.
On the budget end, we would love to see an affordable game streaming box with a monthly subscription, just like Netflix or Spotify. This would be perfect for casual gamers who want to play the occasional party title or latest shooter here and there but aren’t willing to constantly update and refresh their console. And with the NBN rollout likely to be close to completion by 2020, a streaming box could make a lot of sense.
Virtual Reality (VR)
While Sony fanboys have had Playstation VR for some time now, Xbox gamers have been left waiting for any sort of similar product. Yes, there are plans to bring mixed reality headsets to the Xbox One, but this is a half-measure at best.
That needs to change with the Xbox Two. VR has yet to see mass adoption due to its high price and need for powerful hardware. This could all change with the Xbox Two, especially if the price tag can be kept around $500 and game developers get on board.
Built for gamers
The Xbox line of consoles has always been billed as a console for die-hard gamers, and this needs to continue. I would love to see more professional and esports-inspired accessories, like advanced gamepads and further iterations of the adaptive controller.
4K at 60FPS for every game is also a must and something that should be mandated to all game developers.
Lastly, the age-old debate: wouldn’t it be great if the Xbox’s hardware was user upgradeable, just like a PC? External graphics card boxes are becoming more common for laptop gamers, so why not follow a similar approach with consoles? This could dramatically increase the lifespan of the console, especially as TV screens continue to get bigger and increase in resolution.