While Microsoft is leaning heavily on game streaming and cross-platform playability, Phil Spencer says that there will still be more Xbox consoles to come in the future after the Series X and Series S.
Spencer has famously said that Xbox isn’t trying to outsell the PS5 and that he is okay with people not buying the Series X this year. These comments have led to some confusion about Microsoft’s stance on the so-called console wars. Shouldn’t Xbox be trying to outsell or out-compete the PS5? If they aren’t trying, what’s the point of the console?
In a recent interview on Yahoo Finance, Spencer was asked similar questions. His answers give us some insight into where Xbox is headed in the future. When asked if he thought there would even be another generation of consoles once Xcloud and cloud gaming matured, Spencer said, “…In terms of future hardware, absolutely I think we’re going to see more console hardware down the road. …It’s not that streaming has cut off device innovation; I think we’ll continue to see that and that’s absolutely what we’re planning for.”
Spencer was then asked if the different performance levels of the Series S and Series X would stratify gaming—similar to the differences between high-end and mid-range PCs—Spencer indicated that it will indeed be similar to PC gaming. “There’s different performance levels for how big of a role gaming plays in someone’s life… We think giving gamers choice about how they enter gaming… is really critical.”
All of that being said, it looks like Xbox is setting up to try and become the “Google” of gaming, rather than the “Netflix” of gaming. Google—as it happens—makes its own computers and phones, but at the heart of it is software—maps, search, Android, Stadia… Similarly, Xbox will have its own consoles, but at the heart of it will be Game Pass—for your PC, your phone, your Xbox, and maybe even other consoles.
Who knows where Game Pass will go. It may be that Microsoft itself only has a vague idea of where they want to take it. Game streaming and digital libraries are still in their infancy, but they are very quickly becoming the norm for a lot of us. Even Amazon is getting in on the action with its launch of Luna, a streaming service that comes in under $10 a month, but will also require you to subscribe to other studios as well if you want to play new games.
Game Pass and Xbox may be leading the way forward in digital gaming, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more Xbox consoles to meme in the future.
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