How The Next Xbox Needs to Up the Ante for the Sake of PC & PS4 Gamers

TIME :2022-07-03

Next Xbox vs Ps4

The Xbox 360 is the defining console of the current generation. Regardless of where you stand on the console wars, it's impossible to deny that the Xbox 360 is the standard upon which all games are created—at least in terms of the limitations its hardware imposes. The upcoming next-gen Xbox from Microsoft—the Xbox 720 as its most commonly called, has the potential to set a new standard far ahead of its Sony counterpart, the PlayStation 4. Should Microsoft make the right moves, the company can carry the momentum of the Xbox 360 forward and position itself at the top of the next-gen throne.

That being said, the Xbox 360 had its flaws, a few that shouldn't be repeated this time around. Most importantly, the console can't be hampered by its hardware as its predecessor was. However instead of talking about what the Xbox 360 shouldn't do, let's discuss the steps it should take to ensure a lead over the PlayStation 4 and maintain the market dominance it has enjoyed the past several years.

Better Disc Storage

Microsoft took a serious blow in the previous generation when it hedged its bets on the HD-DVD over Sony's Blu-ray. The end result was that games on the Xbox 360 were limited to DVD storage, meaning some games would either have to cut their content or face distributing it between two discs, neither of which were very appealing in the face of a single disc option. It brought back memories of the PlayStation 2, and not in a good way.

Instead of forcing developers to chop down on content or offer HD textures as optional downloads, Microsoft should just go ahead and embrace the technology of Blu-ray regardless of where they stand with Sony. For the customer, it would be the right move for them to make.

xbox hard drive

Cheaper, Inexpensive Hard Drive Space

One of the biggest problems with the Xbox 360 is its limited hard drive space, set at a meager 4GB on the Arcade version of the console. Hard drive space is relatively cheap, so why does Microsoft charge a small fortune for it? Sony by contrast made their hard drives non-proprietary, allowing customers to switch out the built-in hard drive for their own terrabyte or SSD hard drives. Ultimately it was better for the customer.

With space as a non-issue, developers wouldn't be forced to compress audio and graphics to get their multiplatform games to accommodate the next Xbox's limitations. There's no excuse for a game on Microsoft's next-gen platform sounding worse than its PlayStation 4 version.

fez

Ease of Development, Lower Costs

One of the better qualities of the Xbox 360 was the ease of developing games on the platform. The dev-friendly tools made it simple for developers, both indie and AAA, to hop onto the platform and make games relatively hassle free. The platform is credited with making high-profile indie games like Fez, BattleBlock Theater, and Castle Crashers possible.

Unfortunately, Microsoft charges $40,000 for developers (no matter the size of their studio, big or small) to patch games that they've already released on the system, making it impossible for small time devs to provide support for their games beyond the initial release. Microsoft should follow-up on the ease of development by making it also affordable for developers to improve their products. They to lower the cost for patching games or they'll risk chasing indie developers away to their competitor, Sony.

heavy rain

Better Hardware

The Xbox 360 may have set the standard for our current generation of consoles, but due to the technological limitations imposed by its hardware, it was a very low standard indeed. Multiplatform games, even those released on the PC and PlayStation 3, had to adhere to the Xbox 360's strict limitations. As a result, many multiplatform games were doomed to have lackluster visuals. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 3 is capable of putting out high-end graphics titles like Uncharted 3 and God of War: Ascension—two titles that could never look even half as good on the Xbox 360 hardware. They set the gold standard for graphics in the current gen.

Consider the PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain. The Xbox 360 doesn't have a single game that even comes close to mirroring its graphics, and the reason is simple: the PlayStation 3 has better hardware. Alan Wake was another casualty of the Xbox's limitations, its design switched from open world to closed environment to preserve the quality of the game's graphics. Despite this, the PC version of the title (which was released well after the original, and with significant shortcomings thanks to its Xbox base) looks far superior to its console based peer.

It goes without saying that Microsoft needs to stop cutting corners if they wish to move beyond a mediocre system and the weakened games that result from it.

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What do you think Microsoft needs to do to ensure the next-gen Xbox's future?