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The Future of Xbox

When the Xbox One was first announced, Microsoft was riding high off their success of the Xbox 360. They were going to make the Xbox an all in one media device and it would be the only one you would need. Hence the Xbox One name.

The problem was that gamers were the ones interested in Xbox and the Xbox One wasn’t very gamer friendly. 100% internet connectivity required, $100 Kinect which was mandatory, and game DRM up the wazoo. All for the low, low price of $499.

Then Sony announced the Playstation 4. No DRM, no mandatory peripheral, and you can be offline if you want to. Also it was $399. Boom. Console War Over before it began.

It has been 5 years since the two consoles were announced and in November it will be 5 years since they were released.

While there are rumors that Sony might be announcing the PlayStation 5 soon, we do know that Microsoft is working on new consoles. Plural.

With the Xbox One X being just a year old, some might be puzzled to hear that Microsoft would be working on a brand new generation. But that’s the thing. It’s not a new generation. In fact, I believe Microsoft is done with generations.

Two years ago Major Nelson had eluded that the console was evolving and what people imagine a console 5 years ago isn’t what it’s going to be like in the next 5 years.

So what exactly does that mean? It means that the next Xbox is going to a more powerful iteration of the Xbox One. It will still be backwards compatible with all the original titles that they have announced up to this point. That doesn’t seem like a stretch. But what I believe will happen is that the Xbox One X and maybe the S will be able to run “next generation” Xbox titles.

You will no longer NEED to purchase a next generation console to play next generation games. If you own a PC you know what I mean. PCs that are 5-6 years old can still play the latest video games. Sure they can’t churn out 4K 60FPS, but it’s acceptable. Right now all Microsoft exclusive titles after 2016 are play anywhere titles meaning you can play on PC OR Xbox One. After all, Microsoft is a software company.

Eventually you will need to upgrade your console if you still want to play the latest games. It will be more like Android or IOS devices. There’s a new phone generation that comes out every 2 years or so but you don’t need to upgrade unless you want to. Eventually the phone you are using becomes obsolete but by that time, a decent upgrade is inexpensive.

Personally I think this is where Sony is going to go as well. Many people don’t hold that same opinion but from a business perspective it makes sense. Why would you gamble all your success in the current generation on an unproven next generation architecture?

The PlayStation 2 was a massive success and the PlayStation 3 fell flat on its face due to its incredibly high price and difficult to develop for Cell processor. Sony lost a LOT of ground to Xbox 360 that generation and while they were able to make most of it up, it wouldn’t have been as costly if Sony had a console similar to the previous generation.

The best part of a new console generation is the crazy mockups

Microsoft has learned their lesson with the Xbox One and they won’t make that mistake again. While there aren’t many reasons to own an Xbox One now, I believe that in the next couple years Xbox will be a force to reckon with.

The Xbox family is already growing. Xbox One S, X, PC are building a player base. Eventually the new members coming in the next couple years will offer a way to play Xbox that suits the consumer's preference.

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