Microsoft's Phil Spencer argues that consoles could and should be upgradable, just like a PC.
Microsoft has been making big pushes recently to unify both Windows PC and Xbox One gaming. At an event last week, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said the company is aiming to align its Windows 10 and Xbox One development activities under the internal "Universal Windows Platform" while offering backwards compatibility for many Xbox 360 games, now playable on Xbox One. But that's not all: Spencer's vision for the future includes an Xbox with upgradable hardware, just like a PC, meaning that gamers will be able to incrementally upgrade their console throughout its lifespan.
"We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console," he said. "Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger. And then you wait for the next big step function."
"I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we've ever seen," said Spencer, suggesting that Xbox One owners could be offered optional hardware upgrades in the future, thus finally putting an end to console generations.
"We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me. Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don't have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before."
As for the "why" behind this big move, in an interview with Polygon, Spencer stated "It used to be that when you bought your console you were way ahead of the price performance curve by so much, relative to a PC. But now PCs are inexpensive and your phones are getting more and more capable."
When you can build a PC that will out-perform both Sony and Microsoft's boxes for around $600... well, he isn't wrong!