The Next Xbox: Microsoft’s Next Move Will Change Consoles
Despite the Xbox One X only being a few months old, it wouldn’t be a great leap of faith to suggest that Microsoft already have a fair idea as to what the next Xbox will look like. At least, in terms of performance and format.
Sure, the design of the console won’t be anywhere close to being finalised but considering R&D can take years, the next Xbox should be well underway in terms of its development at Microsoft’s headquarters at Redmond.
After the debacle that was the launch of the Xbox One though, where does Microsoft go from here?
Since the launch of the original Xbox One in 2013, we’ve seen three different iterations of the system. The original launch on November 22nd 2014, the Xbox One S in August 2016 and the more recent Xbox One X – dubbed the world’s most ‘powerful console’ – on November 7th 2017.
“Everything points to Microsoft doing away with traditional console leaps”
The generation has been a mixed one for Microsoft, plagued at the start by an always-on console, blocking pre-owned games and a focus on TV; mixed with an impressive backwards compatibility programme, Xbox Play Anywhere and great hits like Cuphead and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. Despite impressive sales numbers, the console has been dwarfed in both numbers and mindshare by Sony. With that in mind, where do Microsoft and the next Xbox go from here? How do they rekindle the love for series’ like Halo and Gears of War which has fallen so far off the cliff they’re not even worth reviving at this stage.
In an interview with the Telegraph, head of Xbox Phil Spencer gave us a glimpse into how Microsoft will move forward, saying that “…[we’ll] keep our ears open to what customers want and developers want. But our goal right now is to give them the highest performance in the broadest market they can.”
“Three or four years ago if someone made an investment in an Xbox One, they bought that they bought their library of games, I want them to feel they get a full generational use out of their console, same with the Xbox One S. [But] at some point, we see this usage and other things can drop low enough where you kind of move on to things.”
While speaking to Forbes, Spencer touched on the idea of multi-generational consoles: “.. from a development platform, we needed to think about our hardware as multi-generational. Because we said ‘Okay, there’s gonna be games that are going to live multiple generations. And our software platform really has to service a developer’s need to service an ongoing set of users.”
In the past, Spencer has often referred to annual generational leaps between phone releases, where you see an increase in the power and display of a phone year-on-year but the old model will still run almost everything the new model does, just in a less-powerful state. With the original Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X; you have to wonder if we’re already stumbling into the next generation of Microsoft’s console without any great fanfare at all.
Everything points to Microsoft doing away with traditional console leaps, where as soon as the next system is out a giant wall goes up and everything you owned on the old console is locked there, while everything moving forward must be new and exclusive to that system. Microsoft has even fixed the backwards compatibility issues of the Xbox One, eventually allowing Xbox 360 and even original Xbox games to have a new lease of life on the Xbox One.
Moving forward though, is it likely that we’ll see iterations on the same formula every two or three years, rather than that clean and traditional break? So far, that seems like the most likely route for Xbox. Whether it’s the right move or not, time will tell. One thing’s for sure though, there’s no way that they’ll botch another launch again quite like they did with the original Xbox One. Lessons have been learnt over the past few years in Redmond and that can only make for a competitive and entertaining future.
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