Microsoft could be about to make the Xbox One more like a PC.
That's according to head of Xbox Phil Spencer. He told reporters recently that Microsoft is considering rolling out hardware upgrades to the console, instead of replacing it with an entirely new machine. This would help it compete better with rival platforms.
"We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console," he said (via Polygon). "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. And then you wait for the next big step function."
The key to this is universal Windows apps and the One's backwards compatibility.
"I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we've ever seen," he said. "You'll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform."
This could spell the end of new console launches in favour of more regular upgrades. "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," he said.
"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 wouldn't be drawn on when this might happen, as he said he didn't want to "announce our road map for hardware". But it sounds like it's in the pipeline, and could arrive sooner than we thought.