Time flies when you’re having fun, right? It certainly seems that way with the Xbox Series X|S. Can you believe that we’re coming up on a whole year since the fresh consoles graced our entertainment cabinets?
While the new line-up of Xbox’s have done a fantastic job of levelling up our gaming over the last year, there’s still room for improvement. In fact, there are a lot of features that I can scarcely believe aren’t supported by the world’s most powerful console.
Here’s a list of five things that the Xbox Series X|S is still missing nearly a year after they launched.
Bluetooth Audio Support
Come on, Microsoft. Even Nintendo is ahead of the game in this regard now. In case you missed it, Nintendo recently introduced Bluetooth audio support to the Switch via an over-the-air update. It’s madness to think that the feature was theoretically supported all along.
Though we rag on Nintendo for taking this long to add native Bluetooth support, it’s something that the Xbox Series X|S also lacks. You can pair officially licensed audio products to the console, sure. But you’ll need to use the included Bluetooth adapter which takes up a USB port. Not ideal.
The reason that Bluetooth audio isn’t supported is likely because Xbox controllers use their own proprietary wireless connection. They’re capable of communicating via Bluetooth, but it’s not quite as reliable or fast. Connecting unofficially supported Bluetooth audio devices could also result in an audio lag for players.
Still, it would be nice to be provided with the choice of using our own audio devices. Especially from an accessibility standpoint, some of us have headphones that we find far more comfortable than officially licensed products. For a console that seems to put player choice at the forefront, the lack of Bluetooth audio support seems like a huge oversight.
Speaking of player choice, the Xbox Series X|S is leading the charge for supporting cross-play features. Games like Sea of Thieves can be played across both Xbox and PC platforms, making it easier than ever for friends to connect.
Sadly, if PC and Xbox players wish to communicate with each other while playing, they’re a bit limited in their options. There’s the heavily compressed in-game voice chat, but no one really enjoys using that. Xbox party chats are supported via the Xbox Game Bar on PC, but that’s also not a desirable option.
The biggest communication platform for gamers is Discord. Used by the masses on PC, the server functionality creates community hubs for millions of players around the world. As such, it’s the perfect tool for communicating with friends while playing games online.
It’s a shame, then, that Discord isn’t natively supported on the Xbox Series X|S. Cross-play is a fantastic feature for the console to have. Enabling seamless communication between platforms is the final hurdle that needs to be tackled. This is something that Sony is actually looking to implement soon with official PlayStation integration.
Better Content Sharing Options
We live in a constantly connected world, which means that it’s never been easier to share our favourite gaming clips online. Well, in theory that is. It might be because the content sharing options on the PlayStation 5 set the bar high, but the Xbox Series X|S is pretty lacklustre in comparison.
Sure, you can easily share screenshots and 30 second clips to your phone – that’s something that even the PlayStation lacks. However, if you want to record something longer than 30 seconds, the Xbox falls short.
It’s possible to record video clips of up to an hour, but only if you start the recording manually. Saving clips retroactively is possible, but the options are limited. By default, holding the Share button will save the last 30-seconds of gameplay. This can be changed to up to two minutes in the settings, but the resolution is limited to 1080p. By comparison, the PS5 is capable of saving up to an hour of gameplay retroactively.
To actually share any clips longer than 30 seconds, you’ll need to connect up an external hard drive and copy them over. For a console that’s meant to be the most powerful in the world, the Xbox Series X falls short when it comes to content sharing.
A New Dashboard
Anybody who purchased an Xbox Series X|S at launch might have found themselves a little confused upon booting it up. The main menu dashboard that players are greeted with is exactly the same as the one found on the Xbox One. A familiar and functional design, sure. But it doesn’t exactly feel ‘next-gen’ when the menu systems offer exactly the same functionality as your console from eight years ago.
To make matters worse, remember how Microsoft keeps on pitching the Xbox Series X as the most powerful console in the world? While the console is capable of running the latest games at a flawless 4K and 60fps, the dashboard menu is still rocking a painfully obvious 1080p output.
Luckily, this is one feature on the list that is actually set to change fairly soon. Microsoft has announced that an upcoming update for the Xbox Series X|S will change the dashboard to support a 4K resolution. It’ll still look the same as the Xbox One UI, but at least it’ll look far more crisp.
A Controller With Haptic Feedback
Sure, the Xbox Series X runs games a bit better than the PS5. However, the real tech innovation for the blue team this year was in the controller tech. The DualSense controller brings haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to the table, making games feel far more immersive to play.
Most recently, I found that Deathloop absolutely shines with the DualSense integration. Radio messages play out through the controller’s speaker, separating the protagonist and antagonist dialogue in a way that feels totally organic. Each weapon in the game feels unique to fire with the adaptive triggers occasionally jamming, adding a new dimension to gameplay.
You can’t really get a sense of how game changing the DualSense is until you’ve tried it, but you certainly notice the difference when you go back to using a standard Xbox controller. Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has hinted that he’s a fan of Sony’s innovation and that Xbox could learn a thing or two from the technology. As for whether we’ll see a new Xbox controller emerge soon remains to be seen. As an advocate for anything to do with the DualSense, I’m personally all for it.
What are some features that you feel the Xbox Series X|S are still missing? Let us know across our social channels.
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