Xbox One hardware upgrades could boost its power in the future

Microsoft may start releasing optional hardware upgrades for Xbox One rather than rolling out all-new consoles, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Polygon (opens in new tab) reports that the executive’s presentation at the Xbox Spring Showcase event teased out a surprising new direction for the system.

“We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console,” Spencer 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.”

Spencer said Microsoft could break out of this cycle by selling optional hardware upgrades, allowing players to keep up with new tech that they previously would need to wait years – or buy a pricey gaming PC – to enjoy. The system would continue to be “backward (opens in new tab) and forward compatible” with past and future games, thanks in part to Xbox One using the Universal windows Platform for all of its applications.

“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.”

Spencer didn’t specify how these optional hardware upgrades would work – whether it would be something you drop into your old system, like a good ol’ N64 expansion pack, or an all-new Xbox One that you’d buy off the shelf – but he hopes people see this as a signal of Microsoft’s continued commitment to the system.

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