Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer sees an end to “fixed console hardware” that last about seven years with the same hardware, and then are “replaced” by an entirely new format. There have been speculations that Xbox One could soon be replaced by Xbox Two. He sees a future in which Xbox consoles are upgraded like smartphones and PCs, instead of being replaced by new ones. During the Xbox Spring Showcase event (via The Guardian) last week, Spencer said the company was looking to align the Xbox One and Windows 10 development activities under the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
Xbox Two may be an upgrade, rather than a replacement to Xbox One
Spencer told the audience that the company was planning to “decouple” its software platform from the hardware platform. The future generation of consoles would allow “the same games to run backward and forward compatible,” thanks to the Universal Windows Applications running on the Universal Windows Platform. What does this mean?
It means that a future console, says Xbox Two, will not be dramatically different in architecture from Xbox One. It would pack a more powerful hardware running a version of UWP. Users will be able to play all the previous Xbox One games on Xbox Two right out of the box. What’s more, the UWP would allow developers to write a game that runs on both PCs and consoles.
Microsoft to end the idea of console generations
By decoupling software from the hardware, Microsoft would effectively kill the idea of console generations as we know it. It would also allow the company to introduce hardware upgrades more frequently, reducing the lead time between console generations and ensuring backward compatibility for future consoles. Where the new and old hardware systems would differ is things like performance presets.
It is still unclear whether the upgraded version would be called Xbox Two or something else. Anyway, it also means that gamers will not have to buy the remastered versions of their favorite gaming titles just because they have a new console. If the Redmond-based software giant turns Xbox into a platform model, we could see a game running at, say, 1080p on Xbox One and the same title running at 4K on Xbox Two.