There are two experiences I’ve had recently that brought joy to my heart, on the Xbox One; they are the type of feature that I wish the folks at Microsoft would focus on.
The first is the controller and headphone jack. We’ve had these for awhile now on some consoles, but I’ve only ever used them for headsets with a mic; along with enough wires to hook up Voltron to a daisy-wheel printer. The experience was simply this: I sat next to my wife on the couch. She wanted to work. I muted the receiver, plugged one wire into my wireless controller… and I was in business, immediately. My wife tapped away on her laptop, uninterrupted; I sat magnificent, swimming deep in my gaming experience with full, fairly delicious audio. (Could this be better? Sure, they could simulate surround. But so far, so good!)
The second thing is a social feature that has crept up on me. Activity feed? Sure, the sharing of videos and achievements, I know what that is, and it has been available for months. So what? They added a commenting and “like” system to it. Again, you probably wonder what the big deal is. It’s subtle, but suddenly achievements matter a little more. You can give somebody a little “like” for their video, you can make a comment… this is a console, with a dialogue about the things that are happening in games that you care about, and you can see it, right there in a scrolling list. Somehow this is so much less fly-on-the-wall than sending a private message. This is something that might make you actually get to know the people on your friend’s list.
It’s just funny that with all the stuff MS showed on stage back when the revealed this new console, it would be these kind of things that would delight me. Sometimes it really is the little things.