Xbox Head Not A Fan of ‘Xbox One and A Half’

Thank the Console Gods: it seems we won’t see an Xbox One and a Half, or Xbox 1.5.

Microsoft held an event earlier this week called Xbox Build, a conference for developers to present the latest happenings in Microsoft and its many divisions, including Xbox, Windows Phone, and HoloLens. Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox Division, delivered a monologue during the keynote discussing Xbox One and PC cross-play, the UWP (Universal Windows Platform) and “monopolization” controversy, and the unlikelihood of Halo 5: Guardians releasing on PC. Interestingly, Spencer mentioned the rumored PlayStation 4K (or PlayStation 4.5) and the possibility of Xbox One following suit.

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]
During the conference, Phil Spencer was asked if Xbox had similar plans to follow the path of Sony if the PlayStation 4K became a real thing. Spencer said he has no knowledge of whether Sony’s rumored console is in production or not, but if it is, Spencer is not too interested in the idea of Microsoft emulating Sony. “I’m not a big fan of Xbox One and a half. If we’re going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers.” It is clear Spencer wants Xbox to progress from the Xbox One to the Xbox Two (or whatever the next Xbox will be called).

Furthermore, Phil clarified his position on the rumored PlayStation 4 upgrade, commenting on how well the current Xbox One is doing.

“For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it’s reliable, the servers are doing well. If we’re going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people—an upgrade.”

While only rumored, the PlayStation 4K is to feature an upgraded CPU and 4K support. This speculated console is reminiscent of iterative technology. Though compared to the phone industry (e.g. Apple, Samsung, Google, etc.), this move by Sony most resembles the New Nintendo 3DS. It is said that PlayStation 4 games will work across both systems; however, Sony is still segmenting their audience if they release an upgraded PS4, much like Nintendo segmented their audience with the upgraded 3DS.

In addition to the improbable Xbox One and a half, Spencer talked about upgradable hardware, stating that is not his vision for Xbox.

“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 applicance-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.”

Rather than upgradable hardware, it seems Phil Spencer is gravitating more toward upgradable software. Although details about Xbox’s future plans were not revealed, Phil ostensibly does not want console enthusiasts to wait seven or eight years for their next console. “What I’m saying is as hardware innovations happen we want to be able to embrace those in the console space. And make those available and maybe not have to wait seven or eight years for things to happen. But right now, we’re not announcing hardware. I’m happy with the console we have and the platform we built on top of that console and the constant innovation and the games that are there. But as a longer-term vision statement I wanted to make sure people understood what we’re doing I think is good for the console space in addition to being good for the PC space.”

[Photo by Powers Imagery/AP Images]
[Photo by Powers Imagery/AP Images]
While it may be unclear what is next for Xbox One in the coming months, Phil Spencer is absolute on developing another console. For the time being, however, we do not have to worry about an Xbox One and a half. That still does not rule out Sony’s rumored console, but at least it is something.

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