Earlier this week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer surprised many by suggesting Xbox consoles may one day feature PC-like upgradability. He described the idea as the next step in console evolution, and many interpreted it as the option to buy new hardware for their console mid-generation. In the latest Major Nelson podcast, Spencer confirmed this is not necessarily the case.
“Am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console? That’s not our plan,” he said. “There is something special about what happens with a console. You buy an appliance-like device, you plug it into your TV, it works when you plug it in. It’s not like I’m going to ship a screwdriver set with every console that comes out.”
It’s not that Spencer rejects what makes consoles, consoles, namely consistency, affordability and simplicity. Instead, he is targeting product iteration that allows for more timely improvements to consoles—something to expedite the existing system of having large gaps between entire systems.
“What I’m saying is, as hardware innovations happen, we want to be able to embrace those in the console space,” he continued. “Make those available and maybe not have to wait seven or eight years for things to happen.
“But right now, we’re not announcing hardware. I’m happy with the console we have and the platform we built on top of that console, and the constant innovation and the games that are there.”
“So I wanted to explain that what we’re doing today, I think, makes the console ecosystem better, in a way. Because I, both personally, as well as watching what happens in the industry, I’ve said the ‘end of a generation’ and this step-function that happens is not something I embrace. I think it’s something we can do better at. I see it in music, I see it in books, I see it in movies. When I buy digital content, that digital content stays with me and I’m able to use it when I go out and get new devices.”
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