Project Durango is still very much shrouded in mystery. We don’t know the price, release date or even a final name – let alone any smaller details. Until the time when Microsoft deems it necessary to inform us, here is the top 10 features we want in Project Durango.
1. Blu-Ray Player
In a perfect world, we would be able to download games at incredibly fast speeds and wouldn’t have a need for a disc drive. While this day will someday come, it isn’t quite here yet. In the meantime, Project Durango needs an upgrade away from the DVD drive. Games next generation will increase in size and DVD’s won’t cut it. Microsoft could go the route of Nintendo and not use the Blu-Ray format in lieu of something of their own design, but if they want to market the next Xbox as a media centric machine (something they have been pushing more and more with the Xbox 360) it needs to play Blu-Ray movies.
2. Incentivized Digital Distribution
Media is moving towards digital distribution, and video games are no exception. This generation we have seen some great steps towards this, to the point where we can buy full retail games digitally. But besides not needing a disc, there is no real benefit to this yet. This feels a bit like a rip off to gamers, who are essentially paying the same price for less, as they aren’t paying for the manufacturing cost of the disc, manual and case. We would love to see a price drop for digital vs. physical on the next Xbox, even if it’s just $5 or $10.
3. Games to Carry Over
Speaking of digital content, it is imperative that all the games we’ve purchased on the 360 carry over. For gamers who have spent lots of money on Xbox Live Arcade games and invested in games on demand, this is especially relevant. If they don’t, people will be wary to invest in digital games in the next generation, and developers who specialize in creating games for arcade could take a hit financially. And a future is coming where there will likely be an Xbox without a disc drive. You don’t want buyers distrusting you.
4. Massive Hard Drive
And for all of our previous generation’s digital games, and next gen games, we’ll need a massive hard drive. It’s time for Microsoft and console makers in general to stop making machines with very limited space. We’re now seeing both the 360 and PlayStation 3 sporting a 320gb hard drive. Hard drives are not very expensive anymore; a few years ago a terabyte may have been a big deal, but it is now pretty standard. We want a system where it seems ludicrous that we would ever fill it up.
5. No Memory Cards
Likewise, there is no need for memory cards on the next Xbox. They offer negligible storage and are completely overpriced. This antiquated peripheral may have had a purpose when the Xbox 360 initially launched – with a much smaller hard drive than what they currently offer – but it should have no use on the next one.
6. No More External batteries
Another out of date aspect of this generation with no business in the next is external batteries. PlayStation made the switch to rechargeable controllers right out of the gate and there is no reason Xbox can’t for project Durango. In a world where batteries are less and less relevant, it’s strange that we still have to switch them out in our 360 controllers.
7. Better Video Service
One feature the 360 that lends to its success is how it’s a media hub. Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO and even some apps to watch sports all appear on the dashboard. This year, Gamers were able to stream the E3 show to their Xbox with the IGN app, and even watch the mars rover landing live. Gamer centric shows like the Guild have appeared on the system for streaming. This is a great start, but it’s more and more important to have a box that can do everything. We want more. It would be awesome to see Project Durango play more mainstream television shows and compete with cable.
8. Streaming Demos
A great result in living in this digital age is being able to sample before you buy. Much like iTunes lets you listen to a small bit of a song for free, demos are a great way to try out a game. The only problem is that demos can take a while to download, which will only get worse with next generation games increasing in size. Services such as On-Live are able to alleviate this issue with their game streaming service. If Project Durango implemented a similar service for streaming demos, it would be great for us gamers.
9. A Better Built System
One of the biggest issues with the Xbox 360 is undoubtedly its failure rate. The original 360 has a failure rate of over 50%, according to a survey done by Game Informer. The 360 came out at a time where gamers looking for HD visuals didn’t really have another outlet, until the PS3 came out, but even that had an astronomical price then. To give Microsoft some credit, The 360 Slim is an amazing machine aesthetically, but more importantly it’s mechanically sound. Hopefully Microsoft carries that dependability over to Project Durango.
10. Better Voice Chat
The voice chat option on the Xbox 360 is a mixed bag. It will work sometimes, but can also sound like a garbled mess. Gaming is becoming a social experience more every year, and being able to chat with your friends in a multiplayer match is part of that. Microsoft purchased the VOIP service Skype last year, and it would be great to see them apply that service in the next Xbox.
What do you think? Are there features you would rather see in Project Durango? Let us know in the comments below.