Monday, March 07, 2016

My Prediction for What's Coming for Xbox One This Year

There's lots of talk about the announcements Microsoft made a few weeks back. Summing these up:

1) Essentially their goal is to make every Xbox One exclusive a Windows 10 exclusive also.

2) The Xbox One will eventually be an 'upgradable' console.

My reaction to #1 - It's a damn shame that Microsoft doesn't want to sell its Xbox One console as hard as it should be. As an international user, the marketing is pretty abysmal for Xbox One, particularly here in the Philippines which is now pretty much Playstation dominated. Dropping exclusive games for Xbox One is great news for PC users, but it really doesn't encourage Xbox One gamers to keep their machines.

I mean, you already get a lot of pressure from outlets like Digital Foundry saying the Xbox One is inferior to the PS4 (even if, to be honest, the difference in performance is so small to even be worthy of discussion). This does not help sell the console at all, and is just a strange move from MS. The only reason I can think of is that they just have to push Windows 10, which is increasingly becoming difficult to sell since people are either sticking to their old OS or just buying tablets and mobile phones with their extra disposable income.

Maybe I'm being too negative about it and maybe its a 'good' thing eventually. But I don't know why Microsoft wants to treat their Xbox buyers this way. It's pretty easy for the Xbox crowd to just switch to Playstation, and this is just going to push them to switch, because why stick with Xbox if there isn't any true exclusive games?

My reaction to #2 - Some people think that Microsoft is going to let you buy some kind of special hardware that will just connect to the Xbox One you have right now, and magically your console is going to be a 4K 120FPS machine. I seriously doubt this. As a former member of the 'PC Master Race', I really doubt they're going to get the bandwidth needed to upgrade the Xbox One through USB 3 or through the Kinect port at the back.

My prediction - this is what is going to happen:

1) The whole point of the recent Microsoft announcement is to 'soften the blow', when Microsoft announces a new Xbox One revision later this year. Whether or not this new revision will come out this year is arguable, but possible.

2) I think deep down, Microsoft is sick of losing in Digital Foundry resolution wars. So they're going to go overboard and release a super Xbox One which goes way beyond PS4 graphically. It's going to be so good that --- it will be very expensive.

3) This new 'Super Xbox One' will be natively BC to the old 'Xbox One' games and 360 games (using the same method Xbox One is using currently for 360 BC).

4) They will justify releasing this 'Super Xbox One' by saying it is completely back compat to your already existing library.

5) They're going to call it 'optional' so (hopefully) other Xbox One users wont get mad for being asked to buy the console again.

6) This new 'Xbox One' will have the 'modular ports' feature that Phil Spencer was talking about at that recent conference. As it stands, the CURRENT Xbox isn't upgradable, but it's logical to think that they're going to release another Xbox this year which has this 'upgradeable' capability.

7) There's going to be a lot of confusion and anger about this one. Because some people just bought the Xbox One last year.

8) Releasing another Xbox may help them market internationally. For starters, it shouldn't have the E3 2013 baggage the current Xbox One has (notice how a lot of people STILL think the current Xbox One can't play used games? Releasing a new console forces their retailers to train all the sales staff again, so none of them will say 'always on, always connected', anymore).

I honestly don't know how to feel about Microsoft's plan. I look at companies like Sega and Nintendo, who've released weaker hardware in the past, but they didn't let that get them down...well, usually. It should be possible to keep on pushing the hardware. Or, maybe Microsoft already reached the limit on performance and they just want to match or surpass the PS4 in terms of sheer numbers. In any case, it isn't good news for Xbox one owners to be asked to buy another system.

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