Knights of the Old Republic on Xbox One? Hopefully it happens soon, and a few other things we would like to see on Microsoft’s console…
On Nov. 12, the Xbox One will get backwards compatibility with more than 100 Xbox 360 games, finally delivering a feature that fans have been asking for since before the console released. But even with the long-awaited release of backwards compatibility, there are still quite a few features missing from the Xbox One, and these aren’t new features like the upcoming DVR for TV either. Some features that were present in Microsoft’s original 2001 Xbox have been left behind in the transitions between console cycles, but would also be welcome additions to the Xbox One in future updates.
1. Custom Soundtracks
There have been some classic games over the years that have great graphics and gameplay but soundtracks that make you want to stick things in your ears until you’re deaf. Marvel vs. Capcom 2’s bizarre jazz music is a great example of this. Other games, like Forza Motorsport 5, have decent enough soundtracks, but not everyone wants to listen to its overly-dramatic movie score in the midst of racing. Every Xbox 360 game (and a good number of Original Xbox games) solved this problem by letting users rip music to their hard drives to play during games. The 360 even lets you stream music from a PC or select MP3 devices. The Xbox One followed this trend by letting you do… absolutely nothing. Oh, you can play CDs on your Xbox One when you’re not otherwise using the disc drive, and even stream music through several apps and snap those apps to one side of the screen when you’re playing, but if you just want to have your music play during a race or cue it up during certain segments like entrances in a WWE game, you’re SOL. Considering how easy this feature would be to implement, and its popularity over the years, it’s somewhat baffling that Microsoft hasn’t patched it into the Xbone yet.
2. Downloadable Themes
The Xbox 360 was an incredibly innovative and customizable console. When it first came out in 2005, you could buy a variety of different faceplates (discontinued in later models) and download tons of gamer pics and themes to change the look of your dashboard. Yes, a lot of the downloads were stupidly expensive, but it was still nice to have the option to get these things if you were really into certain games or characters. At one point, downloadable premium themes on the 360 even gave your friends list extra art that you couldn’t quite replicate if you tried to make your own theme with pictures from your computer. The Xbox One makes it easier to make a wallpaper of just about any image (plus achievement art and screenshots taken on the console), but it would still be nice to see what developers could do with full access to the console to change icons and sounds on the dashboard. Sony has been allowing these themes on the Playstation 4 since release (and they’ve also proven pretty popular on the PS3). No one is going to pick one console over another just because of themes, but it’s odd that Microsoft apparently hasn’t felt the need to stay competitive in this category.
Microsoft unleashed Avatars to great fanfare in 2008 as a response to the Nintendo Wii’s popular Miis. If you log into your 360 still, there’s actually still a decent number of free avatar gear released to promote movies and TV shows, but on the Xbox One, there’s no sign of the cartoonish version of you, whose presumably been relegated the Microsoft Graveyard along with the Zune and Windows XP. Much like themes, a lot of Avatar gear is overpriced and basically useless, but they were neat little additions as playable characters in a surprising number of games. Microsoft reportedly started looking into bringing Avatars to the Xbox One earlier this year, so it’s entirely possible that we hear something more about them in 2016.
4. Backwards Compatibility with Original Xbox Games
The original Xbox system only sold 24 million consoles in its lifetime (for comparison, the Xbox One sold 10 million in its first year), and was only around four years before the much more successful Xbox 360 hit store shelves, but in that time it amassed an impressive library of games that still haven’t been remastered or ported to other consoles, including Knights of the Old Republic I and II, Stubbs the Zombie, Shenmue II, Morrowind and Panzer Dragoon Orta. Some of these games, like KOTOR, are rumored to be headed to the Xbox One and PS4 soon, but in the meantime, you need an Original Xbox or 360 to play these games in all of their console glory. Or of course you could play a lot of them on Steam too. There are still lots of gamers with old Xbox discs lying around who would welcome being able to play these games on the Xbone, or even digital re-releases. Microsoft has admitted to looking into the idea once development of Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is complete. And since Xbox One emulation is achieved by emulating the Xbox 360’s hardware, which is already backwards compatible with more than half of the first console’s library, it might not be too difficult to add this feature through Inception-style emulation.
What features would you like to see on the Xbox One? Tell us in the comments section.