Nintendo is gearing up to launch a new console next March, but Sony and Microsoft are taking a different approach this generation. With PlayStation 4 Neo and Project Scorpio on the way, the two video game giants have decided to launch mid-generation upgrades to their consoles rather than releasing entirely new hardware.
This is alone is a significant shift, but it could signal an even bigger change going forward. EA COO Peter Moore recently suggested that this could be the last console generation for Sony and Microsoft, and Microsoft now seems to be in agreement. Speaking with Engadget, Xbox games marketing head Aaron Greenberg spoke of a future without console generations.
Engadget: The Xbox platform has moved forward to have such regular updates and new features coming all the time. It kind of seems like hardware is going the same way. There was a very short gap between the Xbox One and the Xbox One S, and we’re probably talking an even shorter gap before Project Scorpio. Do you see a future of console upgrades continually happening? Is this the last console generation?
Greenberg: I think it is. … For us, we think the future is without console generations; we think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware — we’re making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We’re basically saying, “This isn’t a new generation; everything you have continues forward and it works.” We think of this as a family of devices.
But we’ll see. We’re going to learn from this, we’re going to see how that goes. So far I’d say, based on the reaction, there appears to be a lot of demand and interest around Project Scorpio, and we think it’s going to be a pretty big success. If the games and the content deliver, which I think they will do, I think it will change the way we think about the future of console gaming.
Ever since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft’s CEO, the company has been blurring the lines between its PC and Xbox markets, and they intend to make almost all first-party games playable on both platforms going forward. As PC tech evolves, Microsoft could opt to continue releasing regular hardware refreshes (similar to the mobile device market) instead of completely new consoles.