I have written more about Minecraft on Xbox 360, reader, than I have anything in my life. Uni dissertation? That book I almost wrote once, in a bid to escape this dreadful existence as a videogame journalist? All pale and dwindle before the OXM Minecraft Xbox 360 news feed, which now rivals the Tower of Babel in terms of both physical scale and blasphemy.
It is thus a source of some consternation to me that there's another Minecraft on the way - Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, which is said to be bigger, better and some other adjective that begins with "b", possibly "blockier". Whenever I think about the game, a red mist descends and my ears fill with the rabid chittering of subconscious demons. They whisper things to me, readers. Things like:
1. Store everything on the cloud
Minecraft on Xbox as it stands is hampered by inflexible sharing - you need to invite people to party up before they can find and enter your world, and they won't be able to do so while you're offline. The Xbox One version could solve that by storing all Minecraft creations on the cloud, after the example of Zoo Tycoon, allowing guests to access them (with permission) at any time. There would need to be an appropriately robust set of networked features - the ability to rate and recommend save files, categorise them ("work in progress", "no editing", "Christmas", etc), view a world map "snapshot" at a glance, and perhaps see who's labouring away within.
I'm incurably lazy, so the aspect of this idea which most attracts me is that I could easily set up a world, issue a few vague instructions to the community and return a few months later, to discover a (hopefully) thriving civilization. That's unlikely to happen without some sort of incentive, of course, which brings us to my next point...
2. Let us trade items without entering worlds
Assuming the first idea makes the cut, the option to reward other players for completing certain projects would be a natural continuation of the theme. This could happen by way of a more sophisticated item trading scheme, whereby players swap trinkets in the lobby rather than entering worlds to conduct their business. The items in question could be single blocks, structures (such as TNT cannons and multiplayer arenas) or even entire worlds.
3. Use SmartGlass to overcome the problem of lore
Put your hand up if you can remember each and every item, potion or enchantment recipe Minecraft has to offer. Did you put your hand up? I don't believe you. Send me an unedited audio recording of yourself reciting all those combinations. (Don't really - I'm honestly not that bothered.) Everybody else, consider how marvellous it would be if every time you picked up an item, your SmartGlass app popped up a wiki page for that item, with chunky tactile links to everything you can create using it. Never again will you look askance at a hunk of Magma Cream, at a loss to determine its origin and usefulness. That would be in addition to other, obvious SmartGlass functions, such as handheld map screens, inventories and the like.
4. Let us hire characters to do our donkeywork for us
There's no reason this one couldn't be implemented on Xbox 360 too, but I'm including it here anyway because I don't want to have to write another Minecraft feature, titled "stuff they need to add to Minecraft Xbox 360". The whole point of Minecraft is that you can create whatever you need pretty much wherever you are, but let's face it - when you're halfway to hell and surrounded by Skeleton Archers, stopping to knock together a quick batch of cakes isn't really an option. That's why you need a minion, an AI critter you can order to work on stuff back at base while you're off adventuring. Commanding this minion could be another feature of the Minecraft SmartGlass app.