The Xbox One has made great strides, but there are still problems it needs to fix.
Microsoft has made great strides in addressing and solving a lot of the problems and deficiencies that the Xbox One as a console and as a system had over the last few years, and especially the last year and a half. However, for all of their progress, there are still glaring issues left with the Xbox One user experience–thankfully, these are smaller problems, that can be fixed much easier. But, to ensure that all the hard work Microsoft has done towards making Xbox so attractive to players does not go to waste, they need to get on fixing these problems right away.
1. MANAGING DOWNLOADS ON XBOX ONE IS AWFUL
Microsoft is a software company, making good software should not be an issue for it. And yet, you wouldn’t know that from dealing with downloads and download management on the Xbox One- for whatever reason necessary, Microsoft has made it so you can only download one game at a time. This becomes especially frustrating when you consider that
2. XBOX ONE X DIGITAL DOWNLOAD FILE SIZES ARE A JOKE
Xbox One game file sizes routinely go over 50 and 60GB, with many starting to touch 100GB lately- 100GB! If you have an original Xbox One or a 500GB Xbox One S, then you can maybe have two or three games installed on your system before you run out of space. The space issue is exacerbated even more by the large file sizes that 4K assets for Xbox One X enhanced games need. And yes, Microsoft lets you use any USB hard drive to expand storage on your system- but 100GB downloads for one game are asinine. For many, who live in areas with capped bandwidths, they are literally not even an option.
"Xbox One game file sizes routinely go over 50 and 60GB, with many starting to touch 100GB lately- especially with 4K updates for Xbox One X enhanced games."
3. UPDATING GAMES
It makes sense that if there is an update for a game you are playing, you won’t be able to play it online- most likely, there are balance patches and the like that are necessitated before you can connect to the servers again. So locking out players of online multiplayer while an update downloads? That’s fair. But for whatever reason, on an Xbox One, if you are playing a game and an update comes out for it, you can’t play it, any part of it, not even the single player component, unless you update it. To be fair, this is an issue only when an update comes – but it’s still utterly baffling.
4. ACTUALLY PLAYING GAMES CAN BE A CRAPSHOOT SOMETIMES
Okay, Microsoft, say it with me- the point of a games console is to play games. If you won’t let me play games, then all the power and great services in the world are meaningless to me. And yet, so many times, Xbox players find they can’t play games on their console, because when you try to start your game, you get the error that it “took too long to start.” What? Why? How is that even our fault? Just let us play the game we want to! So much for the days of plug and play.
5. PLAY ANYWHERE NEEDS A LOT OF POLISH
There is very little to criticize about Play Anywhere- after all, it’s such a great, pro-consumer Cross Buy program, that lets you play an eligible game you buy on Xbox One or Windows 10 on both platforms. How could you possibly complain, right? And this isn’t a complain about the program itself- this is more an issue with the fact that it often doesn’t work. From synching and resynching issues, to problems with purchases on Xbox Live or Windows 10 not being honored or recognized on the other store, problems with Play Anywhere’s implementation abound. Of course, that may have to do with the Windows Store being a dumpster fire, which is a whole other can of worms we don’t want to get into right now.
6. THE UI
Microsoft has made great strides in fixing the utter trainwreck that was the Xbox One UI at launch, an turning it into something that is flexible, customizable, and powerful to use. Conceptually, the Xbox One UI is sound now- the issues, again, come from execution. Especially if you have a lot of things installed and are connected to the internet, the UI can be unbearably laggy, and if you venture into a download list with multiple queued downloads, to change the active download (see the very first point), then it can be a game of Russian Roulette, as you wait for the UI to catch up with your inputs. This is unacceptable, Microsoft- it’s even an issue on the Xbox One X, the “most powerful console in the world”. What, it can’t handle your UI? Because if so, you know you messed up.
"Conceptually, the Xbox One UI is sound now- the issues, again, come from execution."
7. NO OFFLINE ACHIEVEMENTS
In 2013, the Xbox One was supposed to be an always online system requiring persistent internet connectivity to function. Basic system features like Achievements working only online perhaps makes sense for a system like that- but the Xbox One as it exists today can work offline, too. There is zero reason for Achievements to not work offline (and for a player to be inundated with multiple Achievement notifications if they connect online after playing offline for a while). How has this not been fixed already?
8. GAME INSTALLS TAKE WAY TOO LONG
Chalk another one up to UI and OS issues, because the Xbox One is apparently full of them. Consider, for instance, you deciding to buy a physical copy of a game so you don’t have to deal with downloading an 80GB file over your slow internet- easy, right? No, because you still have to install the game, and the Xbox One is, for whatever reason, incredibly slow at doing so. This isn’t an issue on the PS4- you have to put up with installs on it too, but generally they don’t take as long. What gives, Microsoft?
9. SYSTEM UPDATES ALSO TAKE WAY TOO LONG
Yes, everything takes way too long on this thing, and system updates are the very worst, because they combine the slowness of downloads and download management, to the slowness of installs, to the general slowness of the UI! So, first an update is downloaded, then it is ‘verified’, then it is applied- why do these steps take so long? Why does ‘verifying update’ even exist as a step? You’d think it would verify an update before it applied it, wouldn’t you?
"Microsoft has abandoned most franchises and shuttered most studios, and any new games it has released have been underwhelming at best; meanwhile, it has also doubled down on Halo, Gears, and Forza, making the meme an actual reality, and, by incessant releases for all three franchises, run them into the ground."
10. FIRST PARTY SUPPORT
Oh, yes. I hadn’t forgotten. I’m not letting this one go, but the first party support on the Xbox One is dismal, leading to a vapid slate of exclusives. Microsoft has abandoned most franchises and shuttered most studios, and any new games it has released have been underwhelming at best; meanwhile, it has also doubled down on Halo, Gears, and Forza, making the meme an actual reality, and, by incessant releases for all three franchises, run them into the ground. While Sony and Nintendo put out hit after hit from their in house studios, leading to an enviable slate of exclusives, Xbox players spent all of 2017 with just Halo Wars 2, Forza 7, and Super Lucky’s Tale– come on, Microsoft. You are the richest of the console manufacturers. Put that money to good use, and show us some exciting new first party exclusives, like you once used to not so long ago.