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The future of Xbox looks a lot like PC gaming

Microsoft has an ambitious plan for faster console upgrades and backward compatibility.

Microsoft held its annual "spring showcase" in San Francisco last week, an event to show the press what's coming up between now and E3 this summer. It was also a victory lap for the Xbox team and its head, Phil Spencer. The company spent much of 2015 trying to get the Xbox One back on track after a troubled launch, and much of Spencer's introductory talk highlighted the changes Microsoft made to "put the gamer at the center of every decision we make."

That's a rather vague proclamation, but Spencer has a plan to back it up -- and it focuses on the work Microsoft did last year to bring the Xbox One and Windows 10 closer together than ever before. It's all part of a strategy to make Xbox the most compelling platform for both developers and the gamers themselves. The goal is to let gamers play on whatever device they choose, be it a PC or console. Furthermore, Microsoft's building a future in which you don't leave behind your game library when a new Xbox hits the market.

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Hoffmann1380d ago

Seems they are desperate.

dirkdady1380d ago

It's all about windows 10 and the microsoft store at microsoft.

Timesplitter141380d ago (Edited 1380d ago )

Seems more like a smart move to me, considering the immenseness of PC gaming. How many console games can come even close to the popularity of LoL, CSGO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Starcraft 2 and WoW? PC has esports on its side, which is a huge advantage.

And then there's VR, which I'm not a huge fan of anymore after working in VR game dev for some time, but it does have a very strong momentum right now. And consoles aren't well-equipped to deal with VR. I'm expecting PSVR to really pale in comparison to the Vive

Hoffmann1380d ago

Of course it is also a smart move.

How many console games can come even close to the popularity of LoL, CSGO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Starcraft 2 and WoW?

Sorry but I don't get the context of this question with the article and Microsofts move.

Timesplitter141380d ago (Edited 1380d ago )

@Hoffmann
Please understand that I'm not the kind of person who actually reads more than the article's headline on N4G

To me, the bottom line of this is that MS wants to take better care of the PC platform, and that's a fantastic idea

Germany71380d ago

Doesn't matter your expectations, a lot of people are praising PSVR.

1380d ago Replies(3)
SpeakTruthAlways1380d ago (Edited 1380d ago )

So the problem console gamers had with pc gaming was keeping up with the upgradibility and all that stuff but now console gamers are suddenly open to idea of upgradeable consoles, wow, so much flip-flopping, such hypocrisy, but of course, whatever MS does, apologists will defend it because of brand loyalty you know, ready to take a bullet for multi billion dollar corporations that don't give a crap about their disciples.

Hoffmann1380d ago

Flip-Flopping describes it good. Well said, you really speak always the truth.

Death1380d ago

Please tell me the source you have for your statement. Cost has always been a big factor for PC gaming. Consoles are a great alternative for the relatively high cost of PC gaming. Another problem many people had with PC gaming is it was less social since you sat about a foot away from a small monitor. I'm not sure how you missed it, but PC's have been creeping into the living room for quite some time now. As PC gaming has become more like console gaming, consoles have evolved to resemble PC more and more. Both the Xbox One and PS4 share the same PC based architecture with the Xbox One even running Windows 10.

The concept of an upgradeable console dates back to the 90's with the 32x and Sega CD. We also seen the Jaguar CD attachment. Even PSVR which requires a PS4 to operate is an upgrade over a standard PS4. If you are like many of us, you've probable upgraded the HDD in your Playstation.

2pacalypsenow1380d ago (Edited 1380d ago )

Do you remember how the 32X and Sega CD ended up? Hardware upgradable consoles will fail, just because a few people here on N4G like the idea doesn't mean that millions of other gamers will buy a console you need to upgrade constantly, Most prefer the 5-6 year cycles.

SpeakTruthAlways1380d ago

Are you seriously going to pretend that console gamers never pointed out the costs that comes with the upgradibilty aspect of pc gaming? Either you are ignorant or lying here death, even here on n4g, please go have a look at some pc vs console articles, then come back to me.

1380d ago
Death1380d ago (Edited 1380d ago )

I agree to a degree. How will gamers feel when they have to buy a PSVR to get the full Playstation experience? Isn't PSVR following the same pattern as 32x, SegaCD, Move and Kinect?

Now let's look at the Xbox One. Phil never said it will be upgradable. He's saying they are working to make the Xbox brand forward and backward compatible which is something PC has done for decades. My interpretation of this is that the next Xbox will work with older games natively and new Xbox games will work on older systems, but with less graphical fidelity like we see on PC. If this happens we will see less definitive console generations and most likely see new hardware sooner than a traditional console generation.

Another possibility is the next generation may use a universal external GPU. I don't think it's a coincidence that AMD is talking about their plans of a universal external GPU at the same time Microsoft is talking about their future plans.

@Speak,

Apply your same logic to PSVR and tell me if you come to the same conclusion. You believe Microsoft fans are against the high cost of upgrading, but you feel PSVR will be a huge success. Wouldn't these same console gamers that don't want to pay the high cost to upgrade do the same with PSVR?

Corpser1380d ago

Factoring the cost of $50 a year to play online Xbl/ps+, PC gaming isn't more expensive at all, pay that for 6-8 years you're paying as much as a mid range pc

ninsigma1380d ago

You don't need psvr to have the full ps4 experience. That's just stupid talk and completely reaching if you ask me.

Death1380d ago

If you aren't subscribing to PS+ you aren't getting the full PS4 experience since you are missing the multiplayer portion of gaming. What will you consider it if the best games on PS4 are exclusive to PSVR and you can't access them? PSVR will be a premium experience. If it isn't, why would people buy it?

TheCommentator1380d ago

The big difference between accessories like the 32x (and PSVR, N64 Ram expansion, etc.) and what MS is suggesting now is the fact that 32x games only worked on 32x and segmented the target audience. Games for the Xbox ecosystem, as it is being explained, will scale to the device you're playing them on. In much the same way as PC games have settings to optomize them to the quality of your PC, the games for the Xbox will still be optomized for all Xbox systems going forwards.

As far as adding another GPU to the XB1 is concerned, I wouldn't count it out entirely. After all, we all know that the XB1 only has one GPU, but the XDK leak shows that the XB1 supports XDMA. Why would it support multi-GPU setups if there's only one GPU inside? Also, there were rumors of the XB1 having 2 GPU's before it launched. While it's pure speculation at this point, but there are some indicators that MS may have planned multi GPU all along. Could this be one of the things Mike Ybarra alluded to when he said there would be 2 or 3 announcements in 2016 on the order of BC in magnitude?

ninsigma1380d ago

So far, the best games are NOT on psvr. They offer a completely different experience. PSVR may need ps4 to run, but it's a different device.

optimus1380d ago

This Death person makes a good point. You can't really compare Sega's attempt with what microsoft is trying to do...

for one, we live in a less primitive gaming world now. Sega's "enhancements" to the genesis created yet another gaming format for themselves of which they were basically experimenting with since there was only a limited amount of games released.

the 32x was billed as a tease for the eventual Saturn. for people to experience what games for that will be like...Today, people can "test" unreleased games and such through downloaded beta testing... Microsoft hasn't gone into detail in terms of actual upgrades to the hardware just of the potential so we shouldn't jump to conclusions if how they will handle it.

rainslacker1380d ago

Don't upgrades denote more costs?

If MS is giving away free upgrades, then heck yeah, bring it on.

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 1380d ago
ninsigma1380d ago

Yeah there's going to be a lot of uncertainty around their consoles now and it loses what a lot of people love consoles for. I have a pc as well so I don't really care about the whole upgrade stuff, it wouldn't bother me but a hell of a lot of people game on console instead pc because they don't want that hassle/cost. Whatever comes of all this, xbox has an interesting future to say the least.

starchild1380d ago

I think you're assuming a lot there. I think the biggest reasons some people opt for consoles are the lower upfront cost, certain exclusives, and to play with friends. I don't think a fear or dislike of upgrading is a significant deterrent for most people.

Moreover, it really depends on how straightforward and streamlined the upgrade process is. If they make it sufficiently easy I think a lot of console gamers would love to be able to upgrade their consoles.

TheSaint1380d ago

Really? Can you prove that console gamers now want this please? I'll wait...... Not going to hold my breath though......

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1380d ago
raggy-rocket1380d ago

If they can provide the simplicity and reliability of consoles in an upgradeable and iterated console format without compromising ambitiousness and quality of next gen/current gen games, I'm so in. If not, it's a tough call. People love consoles for their simplicity and ease of use. That's gotta stay core to the Xbox console.