Skip to main content

Spencer: “Beyond generations” doesn't mean a new console every two years

Xbox boss allays fears that platform holder will push for consumers to update their hardware regularly

Microsoft's new strategy of releasing multiple specs for its Xbox One console has caused confusion as to how regularly new models will be launched, but Phil Spencer has assured that the firm isn't expecting people to upgrade every couple of years.

At this year's E3 presentation, the company both unveiled the Xbox One S and teased the higher-spec Project Scorpio, often touting the phrase "gaming beyond generations", suggesting Microsoft was breaking away from the traditional console lifecycle. Speculation was rife that the firm would instead mimic the smartphone market, releasing incremental hardware updates rather than wholly new devices and doing so much more regularly.

However, in an interview with Game Informer, head of Xbox Phil Spencer attempted to clarify the platform holder's position.

"To be completely honest, I don't know what the next console is past Scorpio," he told the site. "We're thinking about it. We're looking at consumer trends and what the right performance spec and price would be, and [asking ourselves], can we hit something that has a meaningful performance characteristic that a gamer would care about?

"I don't have this desire to every two years have a new console on the shelf; that's not part of the console business model, and it doesn't actually help us."

He went on to explain that the best customer for Xbox, in terms of financials, is actually one who buys the original Xbox and then all of the games as this negates the need to convince consumers to buy the next model.

"I'm not trying to turn consoles into the graphics card market," he stressed, "where every so often Nvidia or AMD come out with a new card, and if I want a little bit more performance I'm going to go buy that new card. I think for consoles it's different. I think you have to hit a spec that actually means something in an ecosystem of televisions and games."

He also reiterated that it is not Xbox's plan to create games that will only run on Scorpio. Instead, he compared Scorpio versus Xbox One to PCs of differing specs, explaining that the device has been designed purely for those who want higher performance from their games.

He added that Microsoft has endeavoured to align the specs with those devs with games for high-end PCs are already building for.

"[Many developers have] a PS4 spec which is sometimes - definitely from an architectural standpoint - different than an Xbox One spec, and probably multiple PC specs. So when we designed Scorpio we said, 'Let's go pick a point on the PC spectrum that we see people targeting already.'

"We're not trying to create a new design point for developers that are already supporting multiple design points out there. The fact that you also support Xbox One when you support Scorpio is really not that different to having a recommended spec and unbounded spec in the PC space."

Read this next

James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
Related topics