As gaming has evolved, gamers have become increasingly more interested in sharing things from their games online. It's one of the reasons why Twitch has proved so popular and why so many people have amassed fame and fortune just by streaming gameplay of their favorite titles (it's also why Twitch was recently bought for almost $1 billion).
In the same vein, players also like sharing screenshots. Whether it's to show off the impressive visuals of a game (such as the case with inFamous: Second Son's photo mode) or just to show off a ridiculous glitch (such as Assassin's Creed Unity's disappearing face bug), screenshots have become important too.
That's why it's such a sore spot for Xbox One gamers that their console makes it difficult to capture screenshots. As it stands, to take a screenshot on Xbox One players have to record a gameplay video (by saying "Xbox record that" or by double tapping the home button), download the 'Upload' software from the Xbox Store, use Upload to get into onto a PC (you also have to sign up for Microsoft's OneDrive storage service), and then use a video player on PC to take the screenshot themselves. Not only is it a frustrating process to go through, the results also vary significantly, as gameplay footage is uploaded in 720p and then loses some quality due to processing and downloading.
Considering that the PS4 has had a dedicated 'Share' button on its DualShock controllers since launch, which allows players to take and share a screenshot with few complications, Xbox One players have a good reason to be disgruntled. Thankfully, that disappointment will soon come to an end, as new details suggest Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has been planning an Xbox One screenshot feature since May, 2014 when he said that it would eventually be released as part of the Xbox One's monthly update schedule.
In October, Spencer said that it's "a little more technically challenging" than he and his team thought and that the feature would be delayed until 2015. Now, Spencer has used Twitter to show the feature off.
In a reply to a fan who asked "Double tap menu button to record clip, Triple tap to save screen shot. Possible?", Spencer replied "Team will do a proper intro to the feature when it's ready for preview. UI and activation is all debug right now." Being able to save a screenshot with just a few button presses would be a useful feature to gamers but if uploading a screenshot to social media appears to be too difficult (or results in a loss of quality as is the current case) the feature will be useless.
What is good news is that Spencer and his team are actively taking on player feedback. In another reply to a fan, he wrote that "[The Xbox One screenshot feature] was one of the top requests on http://feedback.xbox.com great way for owners to tell how to make Xbox better" so hopefully community feedback will help them avoid any UI pitfalls.
Unfortunately, the Xbox One February update has already been released and with UI and activation still being worked on, it may miss March too. We'll let you know once the feature has an official release date.