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Don’t expect a new Xbox console every two years, says Microsoft

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Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox console, Project Scorpio, launches in 2017, a mere fours years after the original Xbox One came out in 2013. A comparatively short window of time when compared to all of the historical trends.

In an interview with Game Informer, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer was asked if, anytime in the future, after Scorpio, Microsoft would be electing to release new consoles “more regularly” as a part of this new developing trend. Nothing has been decided as such, he said, but also stressed on the fact that the company doesn’t want to reach a place where Microsoft launches a new console every two years.

As for the ‘more regularly’ part, to be completely honest, I don’t know what the next console is past Scorpio. We’re thinking about it. We’re looking at consumer trends and what the right performance spec and price would be, and [asking ourselves], ‘Can we hit something that has a meaningful performance characteristic that a gamer would care about?’

I don’t have this desire to every two years have a new console on the shelf; that’s not part of the console business model, and it doesn’t actually help us.

Spencer goes on to add what he and the company consider is the best kind of customer to them. One who buys just the one console and a whole lot of games.

That’s the best customer for us in terms of the pure financials of it, I don’t have a need to get you to go buy the newest console, or I don’t have the need to create an artificial loop of, ‘Here’s a new console every two years,’ in order to get you to go buy.

Though keep in mind, he did mention that no decision has really been locked or finalized at this point, and trends change, and so do minds. So let’s not completely check that off the list as of yet.

The reason I hesitate to say yes to your question in terms of the future is, I don’t know what the next thing is past Scorpio right now… I’m not trying to turn consoles into the graphics card market where every so often Nvidia or AMD come out with a new card, and if I want a little bit more performance I’m going to go buy that new card, I think for consoles it’s different. I think you have to hit a spec that actually means something in an ecosystem of televisions and games.

Xbox marketing executive Aaron Greenberg mentioned in a recent interview that the idea of the console generation, according to him, is over. His line of thinking represents the fact that Xbox is becoming more of a complete family of devices, where all the content and devices you own function across a variety of hardware.

For us, we think the future is without console generations, we think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware–we’re making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We’re basically saying, ‘This isn’t a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.’ We think of this as a family of devices.


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