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.