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Phil Spencer Clarifies Xbox One Hardware Upgrades

Phil Spencer Clarifies Xbox One Hardware Upgrades

A few days ago, Phil Spencer teased the idea that customers would be able to upgrade their Xbox One with new hardware. Yesterday he took to Major Nelson’s podcast to clarify a few things about that.

First off. Microsoft won’t be shipping future Xbox Ones with a screwdriver, and you won’t be busting it open and swapping out video cards or CPUs.

Am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console? That’s not our plan. 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.

So no, you won’t be replacing hardware directly, much to some’s dismay. I’m not sure I believed that would ever be the case, even if it’s pretty easy to entertain the possibility. One of the reasons customers choose consoles over a PC is the fact that they don’t have to worry about hardware and upgrades and drivers and all that stuff. Obviously, any hardware for the Xbox One would be a lot more unified, but Microsoft would still want to avoid as much headache for the customer as possible.

But Spencer says that Microsoft does want to embrace hardware innovations as they occur and that it’ll help bridge the 7-8 duration of console cycles. But if that’s the case, and they don’t want people upgrading hardware on their end, does that mean that within the next couple years we’ll see an Xbox One 2.0 that has slightly higher hardware specifications. Then when Halo 6 comes out, Little Jimmy has to explain to mom that she needs to buy him that new Xbox One before he can bathe in the blood of covenant. That’s not great. It seemed like there were plenty of people who didn’t realize that the Wii U was a whole new console and not just a gamepad for the Wii. Another possibility is that we plug things into our Xbox Ones like memory expansions plugged into the N64. But you can’t exactly do that with any serious hardware upgrades, like CPU or video cards.

So at the end of the day, it seems most likely that Microsoft will just come out with new versions of the Xbox One. Fortunately selling them to costumers is their problem, not mine. Maybe Microsoft will let people trade in their old consoles for a small upgrade free and replace it with the newer version. Not only will this new Xbox One be slim, it’ll also have 16 GB of ram instead of 8, and a faster AMD APU. Then there’s the possibility of full compatibility. Maybe you can play Halo 6 on the older Xbox One, but it’ll be locked to 30 FPS instead of 60.

There are tons of possibilities as to what Microsoft might actually be planning, and since all Phil Spencer has has done is hint at the future, we don’t rightly have idea idea what is planned.

But it sure is fun to theorize, isn’t it?

Not only meteorologists get to try and predict the future.

About Josh Price

Josh Price is a writer who probably spends too many hours of the day playing video games. At some point he decided to put the two together to (hopefully) great effect. He also wrote some fiction. You should check that out if you're into such things, which you should be. Reading is FUNdamental.

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  • zedfallex


    “We want to beat out PS4 in frames-per-second averages, but any hardware upgrades will have to be locked down through overpriced proprietary solutions that give us more profit.

    We don’t like the freedom of choice inherent to the PC platform, so we’d like to ensure that’s eliminated before offering upgrades to xbox owners. Customer lock-in is part of our business philosophy.

    So, sure, we’ll do upgrades, but they’ll follow a philosophy of proprietary connections, proprietary enclosures and locked-down first-party-only solutions that are aimed at what makes sense in accordance with our financial and marketing goals.

    If you don’t embrace that as if it’s wonderful and incredible, then you’re probably not part of our key demographic in the first place.”

    • Hvd

      hardware upgrades=new console every 3-4 years instead of the 7-8 we get now.that means they make x2 the cash.

  • Editing check -“A few days ago, Phil Spencer teased the idea that costumers…” Costumers? The first sentence and no one caught that?

    • I think there’s a good chance that there are at few costumers out there who do in fact own Xbox Ones, but I’ll go ahead and switch those letters around for clarification’s sake. Thanks for having a better pair of eyes than our editor(s).

  • fighterforjc

    No it’s just Microsoft’s attempt to impose an always-online console. They are trying to repackage it but it’s the same crap they arrogantly announced prior to the launch of the Xbox One that everyone rejected.

    • Titsmcgee

      yeah man. sony has no drm and isnt only online at all. theyre so good!!