Xbox boss Phil Spencer talks about improving future consoles

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Last week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer made a few comments. Comments about a future where consoles could be incrementally upgraded in a manner that the brotherhood of the Pee See adopted when they left our happy shores so many Steam sales ago.  So what did those comments even mean then? Are we going to need to risk voiding a warranty or two, cracking open the Xbox One shell and fiddling with the internals?

Not exactly. Because we all know just how disastrous I can be when left alone with some technology and a few screwdrivers. “Am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console? That’s not our plan,” Spencer said on Major Nelson’s latest podcast via GameSpot.

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.

Spencer is rather hoping that console gaming can reach a point where you won’t have to wait for the hardware to end a seven or eight year life-cycle to evolve. There’s a plan at Microsoft for something, but they’re not ready to spill the beans yet. “What I’m saying is as hardware innovations happen we want to be able to embrace those in the console space,” Spencer explained.

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.

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.

Look, I probably wouldn’t say no to the idea of a more modular console, so long as the upgrades weren’t released every fortnight. At the same time, I like paying for something that is built to last an entire life-cycle of gaming. That, and I still can’t get my damn Atari Jaguar CD add-on to work properly. Gimme my money back Atari, dammit.

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Last Updated: March 7, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Is he talking about clouds again?

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Hush… they no longer mention the clouds – because the clouds were a LIE!! :O

      • HvR

        They are now only selling it on CNN to all the Hillary and Trump supporters.

        The Cloud can now catch cyber criminals and cure cancer.

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    Header LOLZ

  • Pieter Kruger

    As long as there’s a decent trade in program for those who want to upgrade I’m all for it!????????????

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      If they trade it for something else of weight and size, you are going to score

      • Pieter Kruger

        Like your “gaming PC”…….?????

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          TWO of them most likely (EierDoosEen and the power brick)

          😛

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Dude… that EierDoosEen power brick weighs at least 6 PCs… NO 7 and a fridge…

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Or two gaming PCs

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            No! five gaming PCs!!! 😮

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Two, final offer

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            HA! You strike a hard bargain, but no… the highest bid I’ll take is four gaming PCs!!!

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Two, and I’ll throw in a Banana Milkshake

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            No! Four Gaming PCs and a Banana Milkshake!!!

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            No deal

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            FIVE GAMING PCS, a Banana Milkshake and a KATIE PERRY CD!!!!

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            2, 1x Banana Milkshake, and KP CD, final, final offer

      • Hammersteyn

        LOL!!!

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          Reinforcements have arrived!

          • Hammersteyn

            Not picking sides but that was funny

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        You’d need a forklift to move the boner… I just can’t see the average South African male being able to pick up one of those xbones and not come out of it with a herniated disk… Seriously… and now they want us to (potentially) carry these monstrosities to and fro?

        • Dresden

          Hahaha I read that as “my boner” xD

  • Guild

    If XBox is going this way, why not buy a decent PC instead? All the XBox exclusive seem to be releasing on PC anyway

    • Hammersteyn

      This is true

      • HairyEwok

        and you can use a controller on PC anyway.

        • Hammersteyn

          But I wouldn’t use the XBOX one.

    • HEHEH

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      LOGIC BOMB! To be honest, I still think this is Microsoft’s exit plan, but here’s the thing, this might just work and then we have another stupid Microsoft invention to ruin gaming… (overpriced, expensive upgradeable consoles… as a service… ugh)

      • Hammersteyn

        And then, then they can enforce always online consoles because PCs are always online and they are striving for that unified platform. Also bye bye game trade ins.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Exactly – sneaky bastard this Phil Spencer….

  • Stuart

    works for me, a gpu modual or cpu mod and some ram ports nothing wrong with that as long as the cost is right,

    • Pieter Kruger

      Don’t think they’re talking modular though, rather seeing them releasing complete consoles with more up to date/capable hardware in quicker succession, so not waiting for the 8 or so years of a console’s lifespan to pass.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        And at R7000 to R8000 a pop (depending on where our Rand falls), I’d say someone is going to have to sell some hobo kidneys… :/

        • lol

        • Pieter Kruger

          No I will not pay that either, but if they could come up with a nice trade in program every couple of years……..

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Was there a nice trade-in program for the xbox 360 and xbox 360 elite? I honestly can’t remember. :/

            And won’t that just apply to US consumers?

          • HvR

            You traded in your dignity for an Xbox VHS

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Bwhahahaaaaa VHS

          • Pieter Kruger

            Completely irrelevant either way as what they are proposing is something completely different and new from the current and previous console models. It will HAVE TO apply to all consumers, whichever way they decide to go or how to implement it.

  • CLOUD!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      LIGHTNING!

      • THUNDER … ERR … CATS.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          O O O O OROS!!

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            B B B B B B Birthday

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            😀

  • “screwdriver set with every console that comes out.”

    Boy he is soo 2005. Every PC gamer knows that you build a PC entirely screwless these days. 😛

  • HvR

    Modular electronic consumer product, been there done that. There are good reasons why this never catches on anywhere.

    IF they go this route. Good luck to M$, you going to need it.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      It fragments your market and it becomes a royal pain down the line…

      • HvR

        And creates a loooong list of design issues, ranging from the industrial design, material properties, electronic hardware design, RF/Em interference.

        In the end usually costs more than just creating each variation integrated as separate products.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Haven’t we gone through this before? Guys! Remember! Never trust Spencer or Major Ballsack!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You keep quiet, stop hating progress! #upgradewithit

    • You are so mean!

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Mean? Moi? Malicious rumour mongering!!!!!

        • You think cus it’s your bday you can do anything, you can’t! There are consequences!

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Banana milkshake?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Ha! you can’t stop me, no one can.. Muahahahah! This is My DAY! Damnit! Muahahahahahah!!!!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Let me guess, those proprietary upgrade kits are going to cost an arm, a leg and two hobo kidneys – Never Change Microsoft!

    Don’t forget HD-DVD and Microsoft’s tiny but expensive xbox 360 harddrives!

  • iusedtobe(a)regular

    Well thats redundant. Isnt it a given that future consoles will be an improvement? Its not hard to figure Phil Spencer out, Xbox fans view him as a savior of Xbox so they hang on his every word but in reality, the guy says allot without actually saying anything.

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