Could the Xbox One be Microsoft’s last console? Tech giant plots upgradable future

1 Mar 201613 Shares

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Microsoft says it is working on a universal platform for games that could see Xbox One upgraded like a PC rather than create a new generation every several years

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The head of Xbox at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, has envisioned a future where the Xbox One will receive upgrades that will see it run like a PC to make all games playable, rather than release new generations of consoles.

In his Xbox Spring Showcase, Spencer detailed his views on the future of hardware innovation and said that Microsoft will align Windows 10 and Xbox One development activities under the Universal Windows Platform, while offering backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games now playable on Xbox One.

According to Polygon, Spencer argued that consoles should be upgradable like PCs and that the model of generational shifts may be coming to an end.

The universal future of Xbox

He said that Xbox owners could also be offered optional hardware upgrades in the future that allow the console to keep up with new technologies.

In effect, this could bring an end to the need for new console launches.

“Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger. And then you wait for the next big step function.

‘Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before’
– PHIL SPENCER, MICROSOFT

“When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen. You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation, allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a universal Windows application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.”

According to The Guardian, Spencer said because games will be written as universal Windows applications, older titles will remain compatible with the new machines.

“We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me.

“Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before,” Spencer said.

E3 image via Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com