Microsoft announced they are releasing two new consoles, both are upgrades to their current one, in their E3 conference.
This is a disastrous move for the Xbox community. Many are either upset or confused by these upgrades. Gaming consoles have always been stable with hardware in any given generation. The consumer buys the console and enjoy game releases for that console until the release of the next generation console, after which game releases slow down and shift to the next generation. Console gamers did not have to worry about not being able to play a game release within the generation time period of their console of choice. All games released within that time are compatible with the hardware of the console, or shall we say, are limited by the hardware of the console. This makes consoles easier to use for less tech savvy gamers. It is a plug-n-play system in which the consumer knows that any game release for their console generation is guaranteed to work.
PC gaming, on the other hand, has always had a different relationship with the hardware. Unlike console games, PC games releases are not unified in compatibility with the hardware. Each computer has a different hardware and different capabilities to play these games. PC gamers, in general, are more tech savvy in regard of their PC hardware and capabilities. They understand what games their hardware can handle and what games their hardware can not. Game developers understand this as well, and most PC games do have adjustable graphical settings to accommodate the wide range of different hardware PC gamers use to play. It is not a plug-n-play system. Optimization of software and hardware are needed to get the most out of newer games. Game graphics are becoming more and more realistic and intensive. This requires higher CPU, GPU, and RAM as time goes on.
The idea of releasing an upgraded hardware version of the same console has always failed in the past. Sega with their Sega CD failed. Recently Nintendo’s New 3DS concept failed as well. The reason for these failures is in the core difference between console and PC gaming experiences. Console gamers are not PC gamers, they are not as hardware savvy, nor are they part of the global esport competitions, at least not for the most part. Console gaming is convenient plug-n-play system. That is the reason of the rise of console gaming to begin with. People did not want to optimize their work computers back in the 80’s so they can play Super Mario Brothers. Hence, Nintendo made the NIS, Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as Famicom, Family Computer, which is a still a computer, but it is a computer optimized to run games as plug-n-play.
Microsoft’s announcement of these PC-like upgrades for their console are a disaster. They are confusing their customers. Not only that, now imagine you own a Xbox One and you are waiting for the new Xbox One game releases only to be told these new game releases will not work on your console because you need to upgrade it. The game releases are still within the same generation, for the same console, but requires hardware upgrade that costs more than the console itself. If Microsoft was eager to have a hardware upgrade they should have released a next generation console instead of requiring their customers to upgrade.