For the past several years, my household has started off each new year with the same question:
Do we need a new console?
Some years this has meant, do we need to replace a dying but still useful console?, such as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. (As far as our library goes, these consoles are still very useful.) Other years this has meant adding something new to the collection, like a Wii U (or Switch, which is still on hold for now). But this year the console question has revolved around our problem child, the Xbox One.
We got our Xbox One in the Spring of 2014, the hefty version that came with the useless Kinect, bundled with the game Titanfall. Given our initial setup hassles and Titanfall problems, and its subsequent disk drive issues, we probably should have known that it was all downhill from there.
Though my other half has amassed a decent Xbox One library, he doesn’t spend much time with the console itself these days, preferring the PlayStation 4. For my part, I’ve only played four games on the thing in the past five years: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Rare Replay, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Rayman: Origins. Last year, we tried to rectify our relationship with the thing by picking up the Xbox One versions of the excellent Monster Hunter: World and special edition of Skyrim. But, it seems the wounds have simply run too deep at this point. Our conversations of about potentially replacing it with the more powerful Xbox One X elicited only one answer: why? Why would we replace a thing that we’re not using much anyway? To be fair, the console runs well these days, and it’s our primary Blu-Ray player. So, it’s fine.
This year, our final decision on the matter was to wait, because now everyone’s talking about the “Xbox One Two,” or “Xbox Two,” or whatever Microsoft is code-naming its next console.
(And the “PlayStation 5.” But that’s not as big an issue currently.)
Recently I’ve read a number of articles and opinions on how Microsoft may be poised to take over the next console generation, and it’s all very intriguing. I’m especially interested in the rumor that the next Xbox console won’t have a disk tray. With the Microsoft’s seemingly growing dedication to its Game Pass program, a push to make its next console a digital-only one follows suit. And could the thing possibly come with a mobile device of sorts, one that connects directly to an Xbox controller? Hmmm. Microsoft already has powerful computing on its side, so whatever it releases next, I can only imagine it’ll be designed to match up against the best gaming PCs.
Within any potential excitement, there are some big, looming questions, like what about exclusives? And will Microsoft make good on all the studios its purchased? And how about VR games on the Xbox? Or is VR “dead?” And will “backwards compatibility” be a thing, or a thing of the past?
While I’m not personally invested in our own Xbox One, I have been a long-time follower of Microsoft’s doings, and they are really pretty good at offering up surprises (good and bad). Indeed, it’s looking like 2019 will be the year for new and exciting announcements from both Sony and Microsoft on the console front, and I can’t wait to see what the latter is cooking up next. Because, truth is, I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Xbox…yet.