As far back as 2016, when the company was about to launch the Xbox One X, Microsoft executives have talked about the end of console hardware generations as we’ve traditionally known them.
As the company and others turn to the power of the cloud to ensure the best games can be played on more devices, and the habits of gamers change, the need for big console hardware upgrades may lessen as time goes on.
However, if you’re concerned the forthcoming Xbox Series X will be Microsoft’s last true console generation, the gaming division’s boss Phil Spencer has news for you: “I don’t think Xbox series X is our last console.”
Spencer was speaking to Wired, in a wide-ranging interview about the future of Xbox platform and said that as long as enough people want to play video games on their television set, Microsoft will keep pumping out consoles. Whether there’ll be minor upgrades or true new generations moving forward is anyone’s guess, but it’s clear Microsoft isn’t getting out of the console game.
Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X
“I like watching TV. I like playing games on TV. It’s where I play most of the time,” Spencer said. “I think there will be — for a long time — a world where people want to play on a television, and we’re committed to that and we will deliver great console experiences. I don’t think Xbox series X is our last console. I think we will do more consoles to make that great television play experience work and be delightful.”
Indeed, he reckons the future of consoles depends much on the future of the television itself as much as the future of gaming.
“In the long run, to me, it’s a question about the viability of the television,” he said. “There’s this calculus, this chess match we’re playing. It’s no longer checkers. We’re going to be focusing on the player and the devices that they have that fit in their lifestyle.”
Microsoft, of course, is hedging its bets moving forward. Project xCloud should come to fruition around the same time as the Xbox Series X gets going. The company is also a big exponent of online cross-play, meaning gamers aren’t required to be on the same platform to compete in online multiplayer arenas. Sony, for example, has been more reluctant given its position as the market leader during the last console generation.
“This world where the hardware you bought keeps us from being able to play together seems totally foreign in today’s world,” Spencer added.