Microsoft have already shared lots of information about the design of their next generation console, the Xbox Series X, as well as the updated controller that will ship with the system at launch later this year. With a focus on ultra-low latency and cross-generation compatibility, the iterative update to the Xbox controller looks set to make useful improvements to the familiar design, but it is the changes to the capture and sharing process that may be most interesting from a virtual photography point of view.
Moving in line with Sony's inclusion of the Share and Create buttons on the DualShock 4 and upcoming DualSense™ controllers respectively, Microsoft are adding a Share button of their own and see it as "the best way to make capturing and sharing instantaneous". Ergonomically positioned right at the centre of the controller, the new button looks well suited for swift, ambidextrous captures and perhaps stands as another iconic acknowledgement of the growing popularity of user generated content in console gaming.
If it's about capturing a sick gameplay video that you really want to post in all the social networks, we want to make that as easy as possible...
Catarina Macedo - Xbox Live Social Team
While a dedicated button can undoubtedly go a long way to making sharing easier, the systems that support it are probably all the more important, something that the team at Xbox have also recognised. In a recent video revealing more details about the Series X user experience, Microsoft discuss their vision for a connected ecosystem that delivers your content across multiple devices, as described by Head of Xbox Research & Design, Chris Novak...
For many gamers, their phone is the core of their social connection. Now, when you capture on the console, it's sent to your phone to share instantly, making it easier to get that moment to your friends.
Screenshots and videos captured on the Series X will be seamlessly accessible via a smartphone companion app from where you can share, delete or save files locally. Assuming that this involves the original non-compressed files, the ability to browse and post your captures to social platforms without the need to manually transfer files through cloud or USB storage will add welcome convenience to many people's workflow.
The console's UI seems to be similarly share-friendly with visible shortcuts to "share last capture", but could this minimalistic approach mean that Microsoft may miss a huge opportunity? Demand for virtual photography and capture art tools is now such that the implementation of system level capture and edit features would be very well received and would further catalyse the ever-expanding art forms. Microsoft's description of being able to "grab a screenshot or record a video without needing on-screen menus" speaks volumes for speed and convenience but seems to suggest that any incorporated creative tools are unlikely on Series X.
Check out the rest of the video below and let me know in the comments or on Twitter whether you are looking forward to a more efficient method of sharing you virtual photography.
Images © 2020 Microsoft
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