As E3 wound down for 2019, Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, spoke with GameSpot about how the upcoming Project Scarlett is well underway in development and will not be the last console the company makes.
The news should come as no surprise as with ongoing technological improvements, so too will there be room for improvement for new consoles, possibly for decades to come until the very nature of how we consume video games changes in some fundamental way.
As the lifespan of the current generation of consoles comes to an end, both Microsoft and Sony have begun hyping their next big console releases. Sony has done so by finally committing to a long-term plan of making its games and some hardware to be backwards compatible. For years now this has been primarily the domain of Microsoft, but no longer. Games for the PlayStation 4 and its current iteration of the PSVR hardware will be usable on the next system, which we simply call the PS5 for now.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has given more concrete details about what its next console will feature in terms of technological specifications during an E3 presentation. Spencer was sure to clarify as well that Microsoft was not already planning any console after Project Scarlett, as any kind of decision making for that will depend on technological and industry changes years down the road.
The Google Stadia’s recent reveal of its plan to provide streaming services for games is one example of something that could one day be a major game changer in the video game industry. As cloud-based services improve and decrease in their costs, it becomes feasible to invest more heavily into that.
Microsoft is also deep into work on its own streaming service, currently named Project xCloud, which aims to provide access to over 3,500 Xbox titles from all its console generations to be used on a variety of devices. As we have also seen Microsoft delve deeper into digital games in place of physical ones with the Xbox One S All-Digital edition, perhaps whatever their next console is down the line will require far more power for streaming. We may look back fondly at these days where we went out and purchased games to then bring back and play via disc reader.
Once again, that is looking far, far down the line. For now, Spencer made sure to state that next year's console will launch with a physical disc drive, but past that, who knows what the future will hold for gaming in ten, twenty, or thirty years in the future.
One thing is certain, and that is while Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all continue with their own consoles, it is wonderful seeing the power of cross play in various games such as Dauntless. The future of gaming is quite likely to demand cross play in the future, because we all love playing with our friends, even if we love playing our favorite games on different consoles.