Gamers listening to head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, at E3 this year may have been expecting Scorpio to be the start of a regular hardware upgrade for the Xbox platform, but Phil has set the record straight on the company’s plan for a generation-free future.
In an interview with Game Informer, he explains that there is absolutely no plan to provide a new piece of console hardware every 2 years and that it’s not the end of the console generations.
“I don’t have this desire to every two years have a new console on the shelf; that’s not part of the console business model, and it doesn’t actually help us.” explains Phil, “The best customer I have is somebody who buys the original Xbox and just buys all the games. That’s the best customer for us in terms of the pure financials of it. I don’t have a need to get you to go buy the newest console, or I don’t have the need to create an artificial loop of, “Here’s a new console every two years,” in order to get you to go buy.”
This is unsurprising given that hardware leaps are erratic at best, there’s no pattern to major jumps in graphical improvement, they come along when they’re good and ready. Besides, Phil points out that they don’t want to end up being another Nvidia or AMD, meaning that when graphical increases arise they bring out another console. He wants to have a meaningful leap of hardware that drives visable changes to games in order to spur on another console.
He’s also less concerned about having the best looking version of a game on one platform. “Just to be clear, if you really wanted the best version, you’re going to need something beyond the resolution and refresh rate of your TV. This is why for us, with Xbox Play Anywhere – to flip it back in a skilled PR way to something that’s about us [laughs] – we’re saying, “You should play the game where you want to, and you don’t have to buy it twice.”…I can play with my same friends whether they’re on PC or Xbox and I don’t have to buy the game twice. My controller can work in both scenarios; I can play keyboard and mouse on PC if I want to.
I understand the feeling of, “I miss out because there’s somebody else that can play at a higher resolution,” but I’m not sure the common player out there has less fun because of that. I hope not.”
The message is clear, it’s not about how many people by an Xbox One, an Xbox One S or a Scorpio, it’s all about the games “I just absolutely, fundamentally believe that the health of our business is how many people are playing games.”
Based on everything Phil Spencer says, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new proper generation of Xbox hit the market in maybe 4 or 5 years if the right technological leap is found or, indeed, if Sony push the idea forward, they need to stay with the competition, after all. But the ultimate message is that he wants to drive his side of the industry towards fun games that are good to play and have a lasting appeal, no matter what the spec of the hardware you’re playing them on. I feel that’s the perfect message to give to gamers.