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Microsoft held their Xbox Spring Showcase last week laying out the upcoming future for Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming and teasing the more distant future concerning the ever growing integration of the Xbox One and Windows 10. You can find the information revealed about upcoming games here and details on the March update for Xbox One here. Dual Shockers was at the event and transcribed much of Xbox Division Head Phil Spencer’s presentation. The future of the Xbox One and it’s relationship with PC’s was one such far future topic teased. Spencer is well aware of the criticisms about having “Xbox Exclusive” games come to PC, but he says ” …we think our vision actually is a positive move for them.” 

Spencer goes on to explain that the main reason that gamers should look at the integration of Xbox and Windows 10 as a good thing has to do with what he calls the “Universal Windows Platform (UWP)”. What the UWP is in practical terms is the system architecture that allows universal Windows applications (UWA) to run on Windows 10 and that, Spencer says, is their focus “…building a complete gaming ecosystem for UWAs.” The current cycle that is in place, Spencer says, means that every time a new console generation comes around “we get the cardboard box out, we put our old console in there, a bunch of old controllers, all of our games, we stick it in the closet, hoping that some day we’ll get it out, nostalgia factor going, and play those games again, and then we buy our new console and a whole new library of games.” Spencer wants to change things because as he sees it the cycle has “…had the tendency to invalidate every game you’ve ever purchased, and require a whole new purchase push.” He says that the cycle is great for console innovation, but it’s not great that the cycle invalidates the games we already have. 

This all leads to what Spencer believes the Windows 10 ecosystem can provide to gaming, faster hardware and software innovation that also allows games to be compatible, forwards and backwards, with all devices. Another thing Spencer points out is that even as they launch a new console the old one is still doing well and selling units, and unlike phones and PCs which get continuous innovation, the consoles lock hardware and software together each generation. Spencer goes on to talk about his vision for the future of this generation: 

For us, we look at consoles and the console space and believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen. We’ll actually see come out new hardware capability during a generation, allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have the universal Windows application running on top of the universal Windows platform, that allows us to focus more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.

This is a very ambitious vision, putting out hardware upgrades within a console generation, that if Microsoft can pull off will allow the Xbox One or its successor to function like a PC or a Steam Machine. Being able to upgrade your hardware without having to buy an entirely new console means that you wouldn’t have to give up any of your old games, the same way PC gamers don’t have to now, and you’d still be able to play the latest and most demanding games out there. 

Spencer also addressed the growing concern of Xbox One gamers about more “Xbox Exclusives” also being released on PC, making them feel their decision to go with Xbox wasn’t worth it. He talked about how uniting the Xbox One and Windows 10 ecosystems have allowed for more Xbox games to be in development than in the past. The fact that making an Xbox game would also let you access the Windows 10 platform as well has attracted more developers, Spencer says. He mentions the Xbox’s game preview program games such as Ark: Survival Evolved and how they borrowed that system from the PC space. Spencer wants Xbox gamers to remain hopeful and optimistic about the future saying: 

We’re getting more games developed for the console gamer, we’re letting more gamers play with the console gamer, and we’ll see more continuous hardware and software innovation as we realize this vision as we go forward. That’s the commitment from our team to our console gamers.

What do you think about Microsofts plans for the future of Xbox? Would you be interested in an upgradeable Xbox console? Do you agree that the integration of Xbox and Windows 10 will lead to more games for both platforms? Let us know in the comments!

Kyle Downey

Staff Writer

Staff Writer looking to keep you both informed and entertained. Favorite games include: Pokemon, Overwatch, Golden Sun, Portal, and Elder Scrolls.

  • BurntToShreds

    Easiest way to attain higher power on the current Xbox One would be for Microsoft to develop a piece of hardware that plugs into the Kinect port. Lord knows that that thing isn’t being used all that much nowadays. As well, it’s likely that whatever new console they decide to announce will just be an Xbox One with jacked-up specs.

    Edit: Oh yeah, and alongside that, I do think that people have the right to be angry about Quantum Break being announced for the PC only two months before its release (which was after nearly three years of it being touted as an Xbox One exclusive).

  • vonSanneck

    Very true about the Quantum Break PC version, if you count it as a Windows Store exclusive so it’s going to be for Windows 10 users only. We will see if they make a work around, but I’m not really holding my breath.

  • tactical_Dingus

    So has there been any address regarding xbox live? What’s the point of owning a subscription to xbox live when you can play the same games on windows’ store for free? I would encourage xbone owners to immediately boycott Microsoft’s live service until they either charge for live play on PC (which they won’t do) or remove the fee for live for xbone owners (I also don’t think MS will do this).

    A very interesting time to be alive…

  • BurntToShreds

    My understanding is that the subscription to Xbox Live pays for the continued upkeep and updates that It receives. The 60 bucks a year doesn’t all go into the pockets of some executive. Alongside this, other services are able to recoup their costs and provide upkeep and updates in other ways. Valve makes money off of the sheer number of transactions that take place on Steam every day since they take a cut of pretty much everything. They can afford to keep Steam running just off of that. The Windows Store and Xbox Live don’t have that kind of digital-only user base and console games will still be tied to discs for a good long while so they can’t rely solely on digital distribution to give them money. Monthly subscriptions with multiplayer as the main incentive are pretty much their only route to ensure that XBL remains a stable online ecosystem.

  • Kyle Downey

    Microsoft does have the best chance at successfully doing what Valve wanted to do with Steam Machines, it’ll be very interesting to see what they come up with.