As the console arms race continues to develop, Microsoft has dropped some hints as to its overarching strategy for the future of its gaming platforms. Gamesindustry.biz has indicated that Microsoft’s Phil Spencer laid out the company’s development plans for the future of its Xbox division, and it looks like Windows integration is the order of the day.
The announcement seems to have been spurred on by the cross-platform promotion surrounding the release of the upcoming Microsoft-published Quantum Break. According to the details of the promo, players who preordered the title on Xbox One would also receive a free Windows 10 copy. Spencer went as far as taking to Twitter to claim that the goal was to make such cross-platform integration an Xbox-wide feature, including third-party titles, calling it “good for gamers”:
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 11, 2016
“Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation,” Polygon reported Spencer saying. “Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger. And then you wait for the next big step function.”
This represents an interesting shift in perspective, indicating that Spencer’s strategy may be to look to mobile and Web-based gaming platforms, with their agility and “constant innovation,” as a model for the future of console gaming as well.
“You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation,” he said, “allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.”