The Xbox One may have just solved every hardcore gamers’ eternal lament: upgrading to the next generation console. If rumors are to be believed, Microsoft may be working on giving backwards compatibility to all their new Xbox models, and may also make the Xbox’s hardware upgradeable. If this plan comes to fruition, it might mean the end of having to buy a new model Xbox every few years just to get newer features and better hardware.
Additionally, backwards compatibility would mean that newer games made after the Xbox One was introduced could be played on Microsoft’s latest system, thus eliminating the need for throwing out old games every time a new console is bought or sold.
Forbes.com guessed that Sony might not be making similar changes with their PS4 consoles, simply because they don’t have the technology in place and don’t seem to be working on it. At the current moment, the Xbox One and PS4 are more or less on a level playing field, with both having similar features. However, Microsoft’s big news could put it far ahead of the Sony competition.
It’s unclear what the new Xbox One features might mean for the future of Xbox, and seems counterintuitive that Microsoft would develop a system that limits the amount of new consoles bought. However, adding so many features that will make the Xbox One an excellent return on investment could also attract a new following to the console brand.
Whatever the intention, Microsoft has been seeing decent Xbox One sales, but those pale in comparison to the PS4. According to the International Business Times, Microsoft has been estimated to sell around 15 million Xbox Ones to Sony’s 35.9 million PS4’s sold as of January 5, 2016.
When the two are compared side-by-side, they also offer most of the same popular games for play, but the Xbox’s new versatility could give it a leg up over the PS4. Additionally, Xbox Live Gold subscribers are offered a weekly selection of free games that can be digitally downloaded, which may also lend to the Xbox One being seen as superior.
Price point can also be a large factor when choosing what type of console to buy. The Xbox One currently retails for $399.99 and usually comes with several games as well as controllers and cables needed to set up the console. The PS4, on the other hand, offers a $349.99 bundle that includes Call of Duty: Black Ops III and includes a wireless controller.
It’s still fairly early to divine exactly why Microsoft made the move. The company is certainly always trying new and innovative products, like the Microsoft Surface laptop/tablet combination, so this may just be it’s latest move towards the future. Additionally, the technology Microsoft will be using to develop games for Xbox 360 and Xbox One also makes the games playable on others Windows 10 devices, so this could help them more easily reach the mobile gaming market as well.
The move does seem to make sense given that more and more people are increasingly turning to mobile gaming over wired consoles. Additionally, Microsoft already makes its own brand of smartphone, so they may have a virtual monopoly over games that translate well between Xbox and mobile.
It seems the company’s overall goals are oriented towards a universal platform that lets Windows 10 apps work more easily in environments such as gaming consoles and mobile devices. It has already begun this migration in part by tying the Xbox One and Xbox 360 into the Microsoft Store, and making apps such as Xbox Music that can play one’s music collection on any Windows device.