Now that Microsoft has officially confirmed a next-gen console is in development with the announcement of a May 21st event, new details about the next Xbox are coming fast and furious. So far, we’ve heard several competing rumors about the technical specs of the console, and there has been a lot of talk about whether or not it would require an always-online connection.
A new rumor, however, focuses on the console’s unique features, and how those features will change the way players interact with games. Specifically, this newest rumor suggests the next-gen Xbox will have its own version of video sharing, and will revamp the current achievement system.
According to Polygon, the Xbox 720, or Durango, will have a DVR-like feature whereby players can record gameplay at will. Players can toggle the feature off and on, or they can have the console automatically record footage based on context. This is the video recording feature that may set the new Xbox a tiny bit apart from the PS4.
With the feature, players can tell the console to record footage during what Polygon’s source calls “magic moments.” Basically, if the player gets a headshot, scores a goal/touchdown in a sports game, or unlocks an achievement (some of the examples given) then the console will record the footage leading up to that event. It should be noted, though, that this feature only works with next-gen games.
Speaking of achievements, the source also claims that developers and publishers will have greater access to the points-based incentives than ever before. If, for example, a developer wants to add achievements to their game, they will reportedly be able to do so without adding any downloadable content. Developers will also be able to create achievements for specific events, like contributing towards a greater goal. Think Mass Effect 3‘s Operations Weekends, but instead of a pack filled with items players get an achievement.
As well, achievements will support cross-platform play, meaning developers can reward gamers for having played a prequel on Xbox 360, or for using Smart Glass or a companion app to access more content. But most importantly, developers can offer achievements for completing specific challenges in different games — like offering 200GS for beating all three games in the Mass Effect trilogy for example.
This new approach to achievements won’t drastically alter the way some gamers obsess over the in-game incentives, but it might change the way they are perceived. How will players feel if certain achievements can only be earned at a specific date? Moreover, if the 1,000GS limit is no longer a thing, how will players view people with higher gamer scores?
At the same time, this approach gives players that dedicate the bulk of their time to one game the potential for more achievements. Rather than capping off at 1,000, a gamer that only plays Madden every year can continue to unlock achievements as they are added.
And, as far as an always-online connection is concerned, Polygon’s source says it’s happening. It seems like the rumors are going back and forth on the issue, with this individual saying it will help publishers combat piracy. We’ll find out more during Microsoft’s Xbox reveal event on May 21st.
What do you think of Microsoft’s alleged approach to video capture? Does it sound better than what Sony is doing? Do you think Microsoft is improving achievements with this new approach, or “devaluing” them? How would you like to see them improve achievements?