Microsoft’s Xbox One isn’t a bad console. It was a bad console, but that was well before Phil Spencer took the helm of the Xbox Division at Microsoft. Through their monthly updates, the entirely new NXE dashboard, a great line-up of exclusive games and with even more to come, there’s no logic behind the argument that the Xbox One is a ‘failure’ because it boasts some great attributes. But, with multiple rumours pointing to some form of a revised Xbox One, is there really sufficient demand there for such a device? Would Microsoft be better off just selling as many Xbox One consoles as possible and then releasing an entirely new, re-branded console in 2 years or so?
Would there be sufficient demand for an upgraded Xbox One?
Merely a few months ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of upgraded consoles mid-generation but here we are; Sony’s PS4 Neo is all but confirmed and stirrings surrounding an upgraded Xbox One have remained persistent. This begs the question whether fans actually want this or not. Even the PS4, which has dominated this generation of consoles, has not been immune to criticism over its upgraded PS4 Neo, with plenty of fans vowing that they won’t be supporting the practice. Microsoft’s Xbox One is in a worse position than Sony’s PS4 and this might trigger worries that such a risky move could be even worse for them to take. As usual, this rumour orginates from NeoGaf which leaked the information about a rumoured ‘Xbox One Second Generation’ or weirdly an ‘Xbox One 2’:
“The literal translation should be “xbox one second generation”
However, there is doubts over whether this leaked information pertains to an upgraded version of the Xbox One, similar to the PS4 Neo, or if this is merely a slimmed down version of the Xbox One (which is the norm for mid-point console cycles). Having said that, it does match similar leaks earlier that was revealed by an FCC listing for a new wireless chipset.
Again, this leak didn’t specify whether this console is an upgraded Xbox One or just a slim model that we’ve seen in past generations. Well, sources familiar with the matter told The Verge that prototypes were being tested which contain “upgraded components” similar to those which improve the “performance of a PC gaming rig.” but apparently it was very vague and even some of Microsoft’s first party studios didn’t have a prototype device. Since we know this new hardware version has been in mass production for a couple of months, it might be more likely it is merely a slim version of the Xbox One.
An Xbox One slim would fit with recent comments made by Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who played down rumours of an upgraded Xbox One console; “Xbox One and a half”. Any hardware update would have to be “substantial”, he said, which suggests the machine Microsoft is planning to announce at E3 this year will update the hardware with a new design rather than any improved hardware capabilities.
Is there really that many people demanding a slim Xbox One though? Yes, the form factor isn’t exactly the smallest it could be and subjectively isn’t exactly the most attractive but the RROD problem is non-existent on the Xbox One and when someone says it runs silently, trust me, it really does. However, there’s reason to argue that the form factor isn’t exactly the thing turning people away from the Xbox brand, which dominated a generation with the Xbox 360, but rather an issue with the entire branding of the ‘Xbox One’ specifically. It’s true what they say; you only get one chance at a first impression and while we’re 2 years past the terrible launch shows of the Xbox One, it’d be foolish to say that the outrage back then doesn’t hang over the Xbox One console like an albatross.
The Xbox One hasn’t been able to escape it’s past mistakes; despite numerous (usually successful) attempts from Microsoft execs to change the perception of the flagship Xbox console but the stigma against the Xbox One is tied to the console itself. It seems a general consensus that Microsoft themselves, and head honcho Phil Spencer have done a splending job in taking the helm of the sinking ship that is the Xbox One but wouldn’t we all prefer Microsoft just ride this out and then release an entirely new Xbox console, under the leadership of Phil Spencer, with powerful, market-leading specs, full backwards and forwards compatibility and then do their best to achieve a total re-branding on this new console?
With the likelihood of Microsoft’s hardware reveal this E3 to be a slim Xbox One, it’s hard to see this competing against the PS4 and PS4 Neo, which will serve as a ‘low-priced casual’ and ‘premium’ console experience respectively. Yes, Microsoft’s Xbox One’s perception problem might be exacerbated in the short run, but Microsoft need to focus on long term objectives and wait out the storm before unveiling a new, re-branded Xbox console in 2018 (or whichever date they choose to release it) even Nintendo’s NX is launching early on in the year, so maybe the wait for a new Xbox console might not be as long of a wait as some might think.
Will you be picking up an upgraded or slimmed down Xbox One or do you agree that it’s a better idea for the Xbox to wait out another couple of years and release an entirely new console with a “substantial” change? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.