Xbox boss Phil Spencer responds to speculation that Project Scorpio will lead to shorter console cycles, says frequent updates are “not the console model.”
Microsoft’s final announcement during its E3 2016 Press Conference was the reveal of Project Scorpio, a more powerful version of the Xbox One that will come to market in 2017. Project Scorpio was actually the second new piece of hardware that Microsoft revealed on Monday, after opening its press briefing with a video showing off the Xbox One S, a smaller version of Microsoft’s current console that will be able to play 4K video.
Given those two announcements, much of the talk among Xbox fans in the last 24 hours has been what all of this will mean for the current console generation. Is Microsoft pushing towards a future with shorter console cycles? Xbox boss Phil Spencer answered that question today by telling Wired Magazine that fans have nothing to worry about, saying:
“Consumer expectation is that, if you wanted to, you could go buy a new cell phone every year. I don’t want to get into that mode with a console. I see the next inflection point as 4K, and I want to make sure we have a console there to support that, and Scorpio will do that. We’re not on a hardware tick-tock that says I need to put out a console every two years or every one year to get people to upgrade. That’s not the console model.”
To put it another way, it seems like Scorpio, and to a lesser extent the Xbox One S, are both an attempt to catch up with advances in technology made both inside and outside the gaming industry over the last couple of years. Virtual reality has quickly established itself as the next big thing for gaming and 4K-capable televisions are today much more common and affordable than when the Xbox One released in 2013.
But it’s understandable if some fans are unsure about what the future may hold. Prior to E3, Sony announced it is also working on a more powerful console codenamed PlayStation Neo and even Nintendo has the NX coming down the pipeline sometime soon. To be fair, though, Sony is also making a big push towards virtual reality with the release of PlayStation VR this October and Nintendo is likely just looking to push the reset button after the disastrous performance of the Wii U.
If Spencer is wrong and the industry is indeed moving towards a future of more frequent console updates, gamers will likely find out by the end of the decade. For now, the Xbox One S will launch this August and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, Sony’s PlayStation Neo, and the Nintendo NX should all come to market in 2017.