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Xbox Boss Clarifies Console Hardware Upgrade Comments

"I've said the 'end of a generation' and this step-function that happens is not something I embrace."


Earlier this week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer made waves with his comments about the possibility of console hardware one day becoming upgradable. He said the company is building towards a future where its games consoles will be upgradable, allowing the company to keep hardware viable by incrementally increasing its power instead of replacing it with an entirely new device. Some took this to mean that you will literally be able to open up your Xbox One with a screwdriver and make the system more powerful with new components. This is not the plan, Spencer said in an appearance on Major Nelson's latest podcast.

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"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."

Instead, Spencer said he hopes console gaming hardware one day can reach a point where you won't have to wait seven or eight years to see your system become more powerful. An interesting idea, indeed, but Spencer did not share any specifics, saying only that this is a long-term plan.

"What I'm saying is as hardware innovations happen we want to be able to embrace those in the console space," he said. "And 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. But as a longer-term vision statement I wanted to make sure people understood what we're doing I think is good for the console space in addition to being good for the PC space."

We will let Spencer's words speak for themselves. Here is another segment from his chat with Major Nelson:

"People have asked me before, are we going to do another console, and I say I fully expect that we will. And people say well, why do you say fully expect? Why don't you just say yes? I'm in a job right now--I make decisions based on what's today; I can't always predict the future. But if you think about the strategy we're on, the strategy is a long-term vision that includes multiple hardware generations on both console, and frankly PC."

"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 got out and get new devices."

What do you make of Spencer's take? Let us know in the comments below!

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