IF ONLY… – CARDSHARK 360’s HOPES AND DREAMS FOR E3
When Microsoft have something to say about their plans for the future in the gaming industry, they do it with style and in such a way that you are just left if sheer shock. Last year they announced several titles that would be exclusive to the Xbox 360, some amazing new Xbox Live features such as FaceBook and Twitter connectivity, and of course Project Natal. So based on my experience last year I would like to share my own personal “wishful thinking” of announcements that could be made by Microsoft… You just never know what to expect.
1. Xbox Live Friends List
One issue I have had since the day of the original Xbox is the restriction of having only 100 Friends on your Xbox Live Friends List. Whilst this may sound like a fairly large number the reality is that with well over 20 million Xbox Live players out there this is a real limitation and needs to be resolved. But, more importantly, it must be implemented in such a way that make it easy to organise, group and find your friends. Now that Xbox Live support for the original Xbox has ended perhaps this means that we could see a rather large step forwards in how we communicate and add new friends.
2. Even More FaceBook and Twitter Features
I absolutely love FaceBook and Twitter but one thing the Xbox doesn’t do just that well is sharing with my friends all the things I am doing on the console. Sure, telling them about new Achievements or a New Game I am playing is nice, but I what I really want is to be able to gloat about a win I just had and upload an instant replay, or create screenshots in all my games not just a select few that already offer this. Also it would be nice if the game offered a global FaceBook/Twitter feature similar to the Xbox Live Scoreboards. That way you will be able to find fans of specific games very quickly, communicate with them and add them to your Friends List.
3. Xbox Mobile
Nearly everyone I speak with over Xbox Live likes the idea of having a portable Xbox console. Considering Sony have the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo the DS, this years E3 would be the perfect time to introduce a new way of Xbox gaming other than Natal. The great thing is that we know it’s coming thanks to “Windows Mobile 7” as there have been screenshots and even YouTube clips of the Xbox Live logo on the main screen. What I want to know is what will I be able to do with this? Seeing my Friends List, Avatar, the Marketplace, etc. would be awesome but thats just not good enough in 2010. All I want is the ability to play ‘Bomberman Live’ on my mobile against my friends on their Xbox… is that really too much to ask for?
4. PC and Xbox Cross-Compatability
When the Xbox 360 was first introduced one of the key selling points was that you could play against your friends regardless of them being on a PC or Xbox console. This was first seen in the game “Shadowrun” – a First Person Shooter designed for the gaming controller as well as mouse-and-keyboard. But since then we have not seen that many titles that offer this kind of support which is a real shame. Hopefully Microsoft will announce several new titles that offer this kind of support and will be available for Xbox and PC upon release.
5. Halo – The Movie
With film directors such as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Peter Jackson having actually attended and presented at E3 in the past, it is just a matter of time ’til any one of these guys walk out on stage an officially announce that Halo – The Movie is being made. Only thing is that Spielberg is rumoured to be doing another Jurassic Park, Jimmy C is making Avatar 2 and 3, and finally Mr Jackson will be working on The Hobbit. So that only leaves us with Uwe Bolle… well, we hope not. Either way 2010 could be a very big year for the Halo franchise – and not just because of Halo: Reach.
6. RARE XBLA Games
Microsoft have one of the best game studios in the industry today working for them. RARE Studios have a plethora of game franchise under their belt, yet we have only seen a select few such as the Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark franchises get a new version made. So what about some other titles such as Killer Instinct, Battletoads and of course GoldenEye 007? If these were simply released as XBLA titles with the HD treatment they would sell millions.
7. More 3D Support
Whether you like it or not, 3D gaming is here and it’s making a very big impact. Sony are sure to be pushing a lot of new games like Gran Turismo to be 3D compatible, and Nintendo will be apparently introducing a new 3DS handheld without the user needing to even wear special glasses. So far only “Avatar: The Game” offers a true 3D gaming experience with the new screens and glasses. Even “Batman: Arkham Asylum” (the “Game of the Year” edition) has a 3D mode that will work on any screen you are using. So there obviously is a market for it. The question is: do you really want to play the next Halo, Gears of War, Crackdown, Alan Wake, Forza etc in 3D and have to wear those glasses as well?
8. XNA Games for Aussies
One of the best things about the Xbox 360 if you are a developer is that the console is also a Debug Unit, allowing anyone that is tech savvy enough to actually design a game using XNA Game Studio on a PC, and then sending it to the console to “test”. Once happy with the results they can be sold via the Xbox Live Marketplace, allowing young developers to get noticed and more importantly make real dollars. Unfortunately this service is not available for Australians at all even though there are plenty of Aussie XNA developers, mainly due to classification issues.
9. More Free Games
As the video games industry turns towards digital distribution with games, movies and music all available at the tap of a button, there needs to be a shift in the way consumers purchase there content. One of the most exciting opportunities out there is offering full versions of the product for free… then if you want to add to that experience you can do so digitally. This would be a win-win situation for everyone. Developers/publishers get their content out to much more people than before, and if customers enjoy the title and want to expand on that experience they then purchase extra content. Either way getting something that lasts longer than the usual “demo” would be nice, especially if you are a Gold Member.
10. More Family Friendly
Whilst Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo already develop games for the family market, none of them focus on a very real and fantastic genre… “Edutainment”. These educational games exist usually for the PC and are even used at schools today. Well imagine if the Xbox had real educational games where your children could learn a language, mathematics, history, science etc. Not only would this completely change the perception from parents that gaming “rots your brains” or is a “waste of time”, but it would mean that developers could easily make fun and exciting games that are educational based on their leading franchise characters. I know I would pay more attention if Lara Croft was teaching me about history, Sonic the Hedgehog about geography, or even the Pinátas about mathematics.
So there you have it… my list of ten things that will most likely never happen at E3 2010. But I will say that I will be pretty happy if I am correct about just one of these things. So what would you like to see announced by Microsoft this year at E3?