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An upgradable Xbox One? Think this one through, Microsoft

Despite what it says, the rules of the PC market won't fly on console.

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rmw2hot871379d ago

I'm actually looking forward to upgrading my XboxOne whenever it becomes available.

Overload1379d ago ShowReplies(12)
rainslacker1379d ago

I don't know if this is a plan that they have for the X1, or something for their future consoles. There really is nothing on the X1 which would lend itself to allowing for any kind of upgrade beyond the hard drive.

The only exception would be if they go the route of a full model upgrade like what you see in phones, where each release is just a more powerful version of it's predecessor.

Seems this is a rather newish idea at MS for consoles, so it may take a while, although some of the forward/backward compatible aspects of it are certainly doable if it's meant for a next gen thing.

TheCommentator1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

I mentioned it elsewhere here today, but I remember when rumors of a dual GPU were tossed around before the console's launch. Some people still haven't let that secret sauce go, lol. Interestingly, however, is the fact that the XDK leak shows that the XB1 supports XDMA. Do you think it's possible that MS planned for the XB1 to evolve over time by being upgradable? Why else would the XB1 need to support XDMA since it only has one internal GPU? Why would the XB1 have the bandwidth to output 4k/60 if PS4 can barely manage 1080/30 in most cases and it's more powerful?

It seems there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests an external GPU may come alongside a hardware revision which includes the tech natively. What are your thoughts, Rain?

Cryptcuzz1379d ago

I think it is going to be where they release another version (Xbox One S if you will) with upgraded spec's, but yet be able to still play the current games released and developers would be able to release games that take advantage of the beefier spec's.

So a scenario could be where the current Xbox One playing games in medium settings, whereas the new version would be able to play games in the high or ultra settings.

It was mentioned in another article that Sony (awhile back) mentioned of a similar idea as well.

If one thinks about it, with both being X86, devs can make their game scalable and be able to work with both versions quite easily.

With Nintendo NX releasing sometime 2016-2017, they can actually pull this off around the same time if they ensure current owners are not shut out of new games.

Where all future games in the near future would be scalable to work with the current systems, with just the newer version running with better graphical fidelity. Like how smartphones have been doing with older/newer versions of their devices being to do just that.

rainslacker1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

" is the fact that the XDK leak shows that the XB1 supports XDMA. Do you think it's possible that MS planned for the XB1 to evolve over time by being upgradable? "

It's possible. I can't speak definitively on it without looking it up and seeing to what extent it supports such things. At best right now, if I had to give a synopsis, I can say that it might be a byproduct of the architecture being used, as XDMA is about memory access across multiple GPU's, however that doesn't mean that that is it's only purpose(as in it could be used for other devices besides GPU's or even just be better for utilizing multi-core GPUS)....again will have to look up specifics and don't have access to the technical documents at the moment. I'll try to look into it tomorrow, and see what I can find, but can't make any promises the information will be enough to posit a strong theory.

Edit: An interesting thing about XFire, and how XDMA works is that it uses a kind of virtualization of the video cards to allow it to look like a single entity. In theory, it means that any other processor in the system could be delegated as a GPU..such as a core on the CPU. Since DX doesn't require GPU's to be equal, you could get a bit of a boost where you need it on the graphics side. This is a similar thing to how CELL was meant to work...although in that, it was more dynamic and the cores were suited to such tasks more than a CPU would be.

Most of my comment is based around the fact that the X1 doesn't have any means that I can tell to allow for the kinds of upgrades to the APU or bridges within the console itself. Memory of sorts may be possible through USB, but it wouldn't be as effective as the kinds of upgrades were talking about, and more akin to a virtual memory...which could be better done on the hard drive.

External GPU's wouldn't be sufficient for use through USB(the only possible external connection I can find), although interestingly, would actually work better than a cloud solution and AMD does have some external GPU stuff going on right now.

@Cryptcuzz

That solution seems to make the most sense assuming that this upgrade path happens within this generation. The "S Model" example could be released with an upgrade path solution which would add in the ability to do modular updates however.

Scalability is likely to be the solution on the dev side, and is basically how it works on PC...so that is also the most logical way to think of how it will work...as it will just be preset settings for particular hardware.

GameNameFame1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

Lol. why not buy PC?

I love how xbox fanboys always said they never wanted PC because they like locked in hardware with closed loop. Or that it is more efficient due to fixed spec.

Now that Xbox gets PC benefits that x1 fans claimed to hate, it is best thing ever?

If you like PC feature so much, why not get PC?lol

Griever1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

As the article points out, upgradeable consoles will not work. The biggest feature of consoles is a single fixed hardware whether you buy today or 5 years later. All games run equally on any console unit. Releasing upgradeable consoles will only create confusion and fragmentation in the gaming industry.

Customers will be divided into 2 or 3 or even more Xbox consoles. If other mnaufacturers join then it could mean upto 6 or 9 different consoles! The games will not run the same on all units and the ones with older consoles will feel foced to upgrade leading to dissatisfaction and dissonance. Developers will have to keep in mind the various console configurations and code for all them. This will mean that they will not be able to use a single hardware to the max like before.

People who use mobile phones as an arguement and proof of concept have to consider that consoles are just an entertainment box unlike a mobile phone. People buy mobile phones every year or couple of years because of three reasons. First, they are mini computing devices that can help you with many tasks while on the go. Second they have become status symbols and accesories that people proudly show to others. Third, they can be bought at contracts for subsidized prices from network operators.

On the other hand, consoles are just entertainment boxes that people can easily live without if they cost too much to enjoy. They are not sold on contracts or installments and people will not pay $400-$700 or even more every couple of years just to buy a newer model. Those who want upgradeable and latest hardware can just game on PC right now.

I dont understand what exactly this upgradeable console concept is bringing to the table which PC is not doing already. It essentially turns consoles in to branded gaming PCs. Why not just play on a PC??

TheCommentator1379d ago

Thanks for the insight, Rain. It makes sense that XDMA could be used to turn a CPU core into another GPU of sorts if the demand calls for it. Running virtual machine code would help to "balance" the workload, a term I'd heard being tossed around a lot when the designers talked about the decisions made for the XB1 hardware. It's looking to be an interesting year for gamers, with several big announcements coming from MS and the launch of VR as well!

n4rc1379d ago

I havent cracked my case open but I'm going to assume you won't find anything easy to swap, that would be the key factor I believe... If they planned for this, it would be braindead simple to swap out the apu

I can see it happening and think its a great idea.. People using the PC argument are forgetting 2 or 3 subsets of hardware are fairly easy to manage, its not like the limitless options for PC.. But it will need a new x1 model imo

rainslacker1379d ago

No, the current design has no swappable parts. The APU and memory are all hard soldered onto the mainboard, and there is nothing modular about it like you'd see in a PC box. If it has a modular design in the future it will have things like you'd see with the 360 hard drive, where you could remove the old and insert the new, or like what you had with some of the older generations where they had some sort of expansion port like with the Sega Genesis to put in the Sega CD. The latter would be more beneficial for GPU's, as it would allow for using XFire, thus increasing GPU power more than a simple swap. There is no way they would want people having to open the case, even if you could swap the internal components like in a PC.

GameNameFame1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

@n4rc

Except they sell PC already assembled and changing gpu out is 10 min activity tops.

So why would you choose xbox over pc?

If you want pc benefit, getting pc is solution

n4rc1378d ago

Because its not even remotely the same thing?

A PC game needs to run on thousands of combinations of hardware.. Handling 2 sets of hardware is simple especially when done exactly how they want it.. Games can still be heavily optimized for a set of hardware when they know exactly what you have

You still won't be dealing with 3rd parties releasing new hardware every 6 weeks or bad drivers etc..

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 1378d ago
Dabigsiebowski1379d ago

You are ready to blow your wad on another xbox just after 2 years of the one? With that money you could have bought an actual pc instead of an extremely watered down version of that. And you brush off the PS4 as if it's mediocre and frankly that's fine but there are clear better alternatives than the Xbox these days especially when you consider value.

Xbox has to be better than PC if they want to succeed. And I'm not talking about hardware...just look at the PS4. Now thats a prime example of money well spent on a console that is very consistent with performance and first/third party exclusives.

I'm absolutely pissed I even spent 350 dollars on my x1. Halo was broke for literally half a year and it literally rendered my 3 month subscription to gold useless. I've never been so insulted especially coming off a great console like the 360. I've played plenty of broken games this gen but nothing came close to that financial/ waste of time nightmare I had.

And now a new or "upgraded" console is nothing more than a sick joke honestly. Should have got it right the first time. No one should have to "upgrade" because of their failures.

donthate1379d ago

The idea is that after 2-years, you still can keep your existing Xbox One and play the games released. When you are ready to move up to the latest and greatest, all your current game will look even better.

The key here is you decide, because you now have options!

It is no longer a single console that has had static hardware that is stale for the last half a decade.

Christopher1379d ago

donthate, your old games will look the same, just possibly perform better on new hardware.

Only on new games once the system is released might they improve otherwise. It will also require putting assets for multiple builds on the same disk.

343_Guilty_Spark1379d ago

Yes Let me blow my wad how and when I choose. People upgrade phones tablets and everything else.

Christopher1379d ago

***Yes Let me blow my wad how and when I choose. People upgrade phones tablets and everything else.***

In theory, fine. Reality is that much like new console generations or new graphics cards, there will be a push to upgrade or be left behind as well as using new processes that won't work on older hardware.

It's all speculation right now, but I'm not into a console version of my PC or creating a much shorter console cycle. Maybe it will turn out not so bad, but I see just as much potential issues with this as I do potential good. It really depends on implementation and control on the part of MS.

SniperControl1379d ago

@donthate

"When you are ready to move up to the latest and greatest, all your current game will look even better"

No they wont, you may have a better resolution or framerate, but essentially the game will still have the same textures as before.

garrettbobbyferguson1379d ago

@donthate

Nintendo does this already, such an example is with the N3DS. Certain games are exclusive to it. Older games are the same but run better.

donthate1379d ago

To everyone thinking it will only run better. That is based on the assumption that the developer isn't already preparing their game for the next console or that you might be behind the most recent console refresh.

It also doesn't exclude that developers will allow you to tweak a few settings yourself on consoles. I think The Division is doing something like that already on consoles:

https://www.vg247.com/2016/...

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 1379d ago
rmw2hot871379d ago ShowReplies(2)
wellard1379d ago

I think it's a good idea but I am concerned that the upgrades would end up out lasting the actual console. I love gaming and I use my consoles all the time and they all eventually go on me (ps1,2,3 and 360) finally gave up after a generation of use. However A console that could keep up with top end graphics and gameplay, I'll always say yes. I'm a complete sucker for that.

Artemidorus1379d ago

Why so you can spend even more money? These consoles from new should of been future proof and it's clear they are not.

blawren41379d ago

Exactly, the whole point of buying a console is that games will run for the duration of the generation the same as everyone elses.

Dabigsiebowski1379d ago

Well Sony seems to be the only one who built a console to last and I don't see them going this route as it's not their style.

nitus101379d ago

Future proofing a PC means chip-set compatibility over an acceptable period of time. Changing the chip-set means a change in most components especially the motherboard.

Look at any desktop motherboard and you will see a socket for the CPU and slot connectors for memory, graphics card(s) ... etc, in addition you will see a mixture of sockets and connectors for power, storage and other peripherals. Basically having this type of layout allows for upgrades.

Laptops and some tablets do allow limited upgrading such as memory and storage but rarely the processor.

Look at the teardown of both the PS4 and the XB1 and see if there is any upgrade possibility of basic components such as memory, GPU and CPU. I will save you the trouble, there isn't any unless you desolder and then resolder the replacements and that is not something a non technical person should be doing.

The only user replaceable component on he PS4 is the storage device. On the XB1 you can change the storage however you will void your warranty.

For Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to allow for any type of upgrade-ability means a motherboard change (has not happened - yet) or the requirement for the console owner to bring their console to an authorised upgrade agent and pay accordingly.

CaptainFaisal1379d ago

Same here, i actually think its a good idea. Its obviously optional so no need for people to fuss! You should only start complaining if in a few years some games require you to have an upgraded Xbox. But Phil has your backs dont worry, he is a gamer and wants the best for all :)

iTechHeads1379d ago

Xbox One isn't upgradeable. It's not built that way.
I think a iPad-like model is more realistic where you see new and more powerful models released about every year or so.

n4rc1379d ago

I'd agree, I highly doubt it is..

But they always do a mid gen revision or slim if you will.. Could be introduced then

XanderZane1379d ago

True, but we all know Microsoft is working on an XB1 Slim model and who knows what will be in that system. I don't know about anyone else on here, but I actually do own an original XBox 360 & PS3, as well as the 360 Slim and PS3 Slim. I did this because the Slim models were better, smaller and durable and stable then the original systems. I wouldn't be surprised is Microsoft released a Slim XB1 with some additional hardware in it.

majedx91379d ago

do you remember the 360 HD DVD.

Black0ut1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

Remember the power glove? The Move? Even the Kinect on Xbox One?

I can bring up totally irrelevant points as well.

Volkama1379d ago

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Domovoi0ng1379d ago

What an amazing use of your money.

ChuckTheIceMan1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

I have both systems. There are huge differences, more than just a small amount of horsepower. Microsoft really knows what they are doing with the Xbox OS and the whole gaming ecosystem. Even things like this week on Xbox with majornelson or the Xbox preview program are just awesome. Along with 360 backwards compatible developing moreso all the time and soon we are getting universal Windows 10 apps! Sony has this great hardware platform, like they hit the absolute sweet spot where price and performance meet, but they have this bland, boring and extremely laggy OS. The other thing is the controller on ps4. The DS4 is a great improvement over the ds3 which was just absolutely horrible! But the ds4 is really not great. Non removable and very small battery. A useless touchpad which didn't really bother me but why is it there at all? It serves no real purpose other that being an oversized button. And the LED light... Seriously why can't I turn that off? It was intended for motion tracking but we are two years in and there are no games that utilize it. The same can also be said for the kinect of course but at least the voice commands make it useful. It looks like Sony has placed all its eggs in the vr basket at this point and I really don't think that's going to work for them. The price will put it out of reach for most, myself included. In my opinion VR is a console generation away. VR really needs to run at 120fps+ and should have 4k resolution. That's just not going to be possible on current hardware. And the other worry for me is that Sony as a corporation is in serious financial trouble. They may not even be a company in 10 years or less.

One thing I don't really care for is Microsoft's move from Xbox to focusing on Windows 10 for gaming. It's both exciting and scary. I just don't know what their endgame is. There a reason that console gaming has advantages over PC gaming, we give up graphics to have a closed system that reduces the instances of hacking and cheats.

Anarki1379d ago

Oh yeah I remember the last big idea Microsoft had that certainly didn't fall flat on their face.

DigitallyAfflicted1379d ago

What happen with The Power of The Cloud????

rmw2hot871379d ago

We'll see when Crackdown 3 releases

Volkama1379d ago

That whole concept is already totally disconnected from the hardware, so it fits into this whole idea very comfortably.

jerethdagryphon1378d ago

http://www.anandtech.com/sh...

An examplecof how hard costly and fiddly the modular route would be

Further if they did develop drop in boxes and a modular mainboard connection unless those boards were completly different to pc designs (which given the rest of the system they couldnt be) and priced to match pc components pc user might buy the cheaper xbox branded and. Hack them in to there pcs

I just dont see how they could do it affordably

tee_bag2421378d ago (Edited 1378d ago )

Same here. I hate playing games at 30fps - so give me the OPTION to spend my way to 60fps if I so please. To each their own.
This is fantastic news. Plus future BC.

AnubisG1378d ago

There is such a gaming device you can upgrade yourself whenever you need. It's called a PC. If you want to constantly upgrade than buy a PC and go wild. Leave consoles to be consoles.

rmw2hot871378d ago

Nope I'm good u do that.

tee_bag2421378d ago (Edited 1378d ago )

I agreed with you but the last part I actually disagree with. I enjoy consoles, but I enjoy 60fps too. Why deny people that ability?
You could argue "an even playing field" in competitive multi-player but a simple match filter would fix that. Besides that it's never truly and even playing field since people with lower ping times have an advantage. Some people still have 720p TVs.. Etc.

Anyway, I'm pretty impressed most people are having a mature discussion about this. Pretty rare on N4G.

The_BlackHeart__1378d ago

Why is people getting so confused about this?

The XB1 was not planned as an upgrade-able console, you do believe Microsoft will advise people to void the warranty of their consoles and then hope the machine works after that? Think about the XB1 as a laptop, yes you can change the parts, but chances are 9/10 people will damage the device.

kazuma561378d ago

Don't be naive, the xbox one will NOT be upgradable.
Microsoft will probably make different kind of "xbox one/windows machines" in the future, with hardware becoming more and more powerful. But all this xbox will natively have a total compatibility with xbox one games. Only the graphics will be different. It's easy to imagine a 4k xbox/w10 machine, for exemple

CartBlanche1378d ago

So what you actually want is a PC.
Don't you have one of those already?? Upgrade it, buy the PC version of all the Xbox games that will now be on PC. Problem solved!!

CartBlanche1378d ago (Edited 1378d ago )

Double post :(

+ Show (18) more repliesLast reply 1378d ago
SniperControl1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

The problem with upgradable consoles is that your falling into the realms of building your own PC, so whats the point?

Those upgrades wont be by any means cheap, as we all know MS will have manufacturing rights on all upgrades, as witnessed from the 360 days, those HDD's and HD-DVD's were horrendously overpriced.

That money spent on console parts could buy you a decent spec PC.

Also, it will be a massive undertaking on devs who will have to optimise a new game for multiple SKU's, costing more money and more man hours and longer development times.

Consoles are a closed environment for a reason.

SpeakTruthAlways1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

That is what I am not getting, I mean why not get a pc then?

Upgradable
Free online
Full of options
Great peripheral support
All xbox exclusives are available
Whole pc library of thousands upon thousands of games

Morgue1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

I don't even own a PC but I'm curious too know if you would be able to MOD those games or would they have some sort of block on them? The X1 games like Quantum Break or whatever.

SpeakTruthAlways1379d ago

@above

I think games bought through windows 10 store don't support modding yet, someone correct me If I am wrong.

SniperControl1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

@SpeakTruthAlways

Your right.

Games bought on win10 store dont support anything YET, as of now, buying a exclusive on the PC store is a very restrictive experience which MS desperately need to sort out ASAP.

No SLI, aLways on V-Sync, no modding to name a few.

starchild1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

I'm all for PC gaming, but so long as console makers continue to hold exclusives hostage forcing me to buy their consoles if I want to play those games I would much prefer to be able to upgrade my consoles to get good framerates and image quality.

It doesn't have to be nearly as complex as some of you are making it out to be. It all depends on how they implement it.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1379d ago
OB1Biker1379d ago

Genuine question. Is it what Ms is trying to do though, progressively introducing xB2 that is actually a PC?

rainslacker1379d ago

MS is trying to make it more like the mobile market, where upgrades happen routinely, and the software is compatible across generations/levels of hardware. Obviously, as time goes on, newer stuff won't work on the older models, but given the nature of today's computers, this will likely take a while, and attrition will remove most of the older stuff from the market so by the time the old stuff is no longer supported, it won't have as much effect on people.

How it actually works, or how well it's adopted by the consumer and developers remains to be seen, and it's highly dependent on MS implementation for achieving the ideal they set forth to accomplish.

Haru1378d ago

Baiscally what rainslacker said, they want to suck more money out from us forcing us to upgarde our hardware yearly or every few years that idea sounds horrible because of so many different aspects, but I don't really care as a main PS4 player I hope Sony doesn't follow them or else I'll just switch to PC but I really hope that doesn't happen because I hate gaming on pc :(

gangsta_red1379d ago

"it will be a massive undertaking on devs who will have to optimise a new game for multiple SKU's, costing more money and more man hours and longer development times."

This is why MS is trying to unify their Win 10/Xbox ecosytem. That if a dev makes a game using DX12 it will work across the board on all Win10 platforms no matter what.

This means a dev can make one game and no matter if a user has a high end PC or a low end Xbox the gamer can play that game regardless. One will have better graphics the other will be good enough. Design, gameplay and everything else will still be the same.

And some of you need to start thinking outside the box in terms of how this upgrade could be pulled off with a console. MS might be in the lab right now coming up with simple ways for a user to change out specific parts to a console. Ways that are so simple that Joe Consumer off the street could do it with his eyes close. MS has already made it simple to just plug in an external HDD and the Xbox One does the rest, it could be just like that. Pop open the case, take a piece out, plug in the new piece, put the top on and turn on and game.

http://www.express.co.uk/li...

This is just an example of how it could work. As you can see there are a lot of companies thinking about doing the same.

SniperControl1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

Not talking about cross platform ecosystem, i talking about actual in game assets, dx12 isnt going to magically add lod or the right amount of anti aliasing or magically generate higher textures for a higher spec X1, devs are going to have to create and optimise a vesion of a game for each spec the x1 has, which equals more time, more man hours and money, which company wants that.

You honestly expect the average joe on the street to pull his xbox apart to upgrade parts, lol. The whole point of a console is the convenience of plug and play and not haveng to worry about upgrading it for maybe 5 - 6 years.

SegaGamer1379d ago

That sounds cool, but i just can't see that working. I can't imagine taking parts of my Xbox out and replacing it with new hardware and expecting every game made for the system to work for it flawlessly with the new parts.

Volkama1379d ago

Several game engines can already automatically scale things like LOD, shaders, and texture quality. That's quite prominent on things like phone games. It isn't Dx12 and it isn't magic, it's a feature of many dev engines.

Scaling assets down doesn't require multiple versions of those assets, and doesn't put any great strain on the developer. In those conditions, optimising for 1 additional platform isn't that much of a burden.

You can say that some developers might be less driven to eek out every last drop of performance from any one spec of a console.

wellard1379d ago

Will Xbox One gamers be able to play multiplayer with pc guys?

lowdown4111379d ago

yeah so you guys better start learning to play with kb/m otherwise it'll be a fragfest! for pc gamers.

gangsta_red1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

"...dx12 isnt going to magically add lod or the right amount of anti aliasing or magically generate higher textures for a higher spec X1,"

I am pretty sure that is exactly what the hopes are for it to magically do. If you read the article below that is what the Xbox team is hoping will happen. That any game no matter when released will still be playable no matter what type of hardware you have.

http://www.gameinformer.com...

"You honestly expect the average joe on the street to pull his xbox apart to upgrade parts, lol."

You are not getting the point. If it's easy enough and simple enough as just plug and play, then yes the average joe can. Especially if that hardware is specific and sold only for the next Xbox console.

SniperControl1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

Half the the stuff MS talks about is taken with a pinch of salt, i have yet to see anything concrete regarding the capabilities of dx12 apart from lab controlled tests and those are sprinkled with the usual amount of MS PR.

I highy doubt dx12 will automatically create higher textures, a task done by a artst actually creating those higher textures, is dx12 going to test the game to make sure it runs ok, to make sure framerates are good, to apply tweaks where necessary, to run Q&A? All these will have to be done for every SKU of xbox available, a person will have to do this multiple times, which means more money and time spent on a game.

My PC does everything that Phil talked about, heck, my crappy 5 year old bedroom PC does everything Phil talked about, which brings me to my point, why would you pay premium prices for upgrades(you know they will be) when you can just buy or build a high spec PC for the ame amount of money that will do more than just play games.

starchild1379d ago

@SniperControl

Devs already build in different settings for the PC versions, so it would be extremely simple to apply that to different Xbox performance levels.

iTechHeads1379d ago (Edited 1379d ago )

Phil Spencer himself never said "upgradeable". Let's get that clear.
If you think logically, he is talking about possibly releasing an upgraded(as in a more powerful) Xbox One in the future instead of a just a slimmer/cheaper model.

Having a console that has interchangeable components is just unrealistic. Phil DID mention the PC market but only in terms of backwards compatibility. For example an app released back not he first iPhone still runs on the newest iPhones. You can still run the original DOOM on your current gaming rig...

Not to sound like an a$$ but I find it really annoying how so many seem to think Microsoft implied a PC-like Xbox One. (Maybe there was an article written that everyone read and I missed?) The only thing PC-like about Xbox One will be its Windows-based operating system.