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View Full Version : The future of Xbox looks a lot like PC gaming


Rubeus
03-03-2016, 02:06 AM
Looks almost like Xbox One is merging with the PC.

http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/dd91c592ba300fd991c7e673c7e1f03c/203484143/DSCF3139-ed.jpg

The future of Xbox looks a lot like PC gaming

Microsoft held its annual "spring showcase" in San Francisco last week, an event to show the press what's coming up between now and E3 this summer. It was also a victory lap for the Xbox team and its head, Phil Spencer. The company spent much of 2015 trying to get the Xbox One back on track after a troubled launch, and much of Spencer's introductory talk highlighted the changes Microsoft made to "put the gamer at the center of every decision we make."

That's a rather vague proclamation, but Spencer has a plan to back it up -- and it focuses on the work Microsoft did last year to bring the Xbox One and Windows 10 closer together than ever before. It's all part of a strategy to make Xbox the most compelling platform for both developers and the gamers themselves. The goal is to let gamers play on whatever device they choose, be it a PC or console. Furthermore, Microsoft's building a future in which you don't leave behind your game library when a new Xbox hits the market.

The first step in this vision came last year at E3, when Microsoft announced it was working on a backward compatibility program that would bring Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One. But Spencer envisions a much better solution going forward. Now that the Xbox One runs Windows 10, Microsoft is pushing developers to build Universal Windows Applications. That means it'll be easy to bring your collection of games to new consoles in the future. "We're allowing ourselves to decouple our software platform from the hardware platform on which it runs," Spencer said.

https://visuals.feedly.com/v1/resize?url=http%3A%2F%2Fo.aolcdn.com%2Fhss%2Fstora ge%2Fmidas%2F9ef5626fea2d712490995b3de737fab1%2F20 3479453%2FQuantum%2BBreak%2BXbox%2BOne%2BTime%2BSh ield.jpg&sizes=705x*!0.01

It's a more PC-style approach to gaming, which isn't a coincidence. "We can effectively feel a little more like what we see on PC," Spencer said, "where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I ran so many years ago and still see the best new 4K games come out -- and my whole library is always with me." This strategy means that Microsoft can iterate and improve on hardware faster without having to worry about forcing gamers to leave their libraries behind.

Microsoft is looking to make the Xbox more like a PC than ever before.

Spencer specifically said that we'd see Microsoft "come out with new hardware capability during a [console] generation," though when we spoke one-on-one later he was a bit more cagey about what those capabilities might be. It sounds like Microsoft might be positioning itself to release a more powerful Xbox One down the line, one whose Windows roots will let you keep your games.

"You look at improvements in graphics capability, you look at improvements in display, you look at things like 4K and HDR," Spencer told me, "and these other technologies that have come along, and for the most part consoles sit outside of that [upgrade cycle]." Instead, Spencer cited the two-year upgrade cycle for smartphones as an inspiration. He wants to see steady stream of hardware innovation rather than the typical seven-ish years between console generations. If you know your games library will be intact, Microsoft can afford to push the envelope on hardware.

Spencer's plan sounds great, unless you have to buy a new Xbox One every two years to play the latest games.

Of course, gamers who want to be on the bleeding edge could end up having to shell out serious cash on a new console every few years if they want their new games to look as good as possible. Microsoft didn't indicate how this will work in practice yet, but it could get complicated and expensive if older versions of the Xbox One aren't able to run every game that comes out.

That's just one of several issues about Microsoft's gaming future that needs to be resolved. Right now most games available on both Xbox One and Windows 10 need to be purchased separately -- ideally, one purchase would unlock the game wherever you want, but that's not a reality yet. It's something Microsoft is experimenting with, however. If you pre-order Quantum Break for Xbox One in the Xbox store, you'll get a Windows 10 copy of the game for free. Hopefully it's something Microsoft will do more of, at least for its own first-party titles where it has more control.

Similarly, to make good on its promise to PC gamers, Microsoft will have to do more simultaneous cross-platform launches (again like Quantum Break, which launches the same day for Windows 10 and Xbox One). Rise of the Tomb Raider was available for almost three months on the Xbox One before it came to PC, while Gears of War: Ultimate Edition arrived last August for the Xbox One and just launched for Windows 10 today. A lot of that has to do with third-party developer schedules, and Spencer told me Microsoft won't make it mandatory for games to have simultaneous launches. He did say that the company will do what it can to work with developers to close that gap as much as possible.

Regardless of what else Microsoft needs to do, its spring showcase of games clearly showed its commitment to close the gap between the Xbox and Windows. The company showed off Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Windows 10, running in 4K, while Quantum Break was available to demo on both platforms. Killer Instinct: Season 3 and the new "definitive" edition of Ori and the Blind Forest will both be available for both Xbox One and Windows 10. And Forza Motorsports 6 will eventually be available for Windows 10 -- first up is a free "curated experience" to introduce the series to PC gamers coming later this year.

https://visuals.feedly.com/v1/resize?url=http%3A%2F%2Fo.aolcdn.com%2Fhss%2Fstora ge%2Fmidas%2F65b7da55a7a266b26a52377aa26a46b5%2F20 3479441%2F002.jpg&sizes=705x*!0.01

While Microsoft has a solid foundation to build its vision on, Spencer acknowledged there was reason for skepticism. "The number of times I see 'Games for Windows Live' brought up in my Twitter account whenever we're trying to make a move into PC gaming," he lamented, taking a pause "...it's staggering." Games for Windows Live was Microsoft's last attempt at bringing an Xbox-like experience to Windows (including multiplayer and achievements), but it was plagued with bugs and complications until its shutdown in 2013. It's fair for gamers to wonder if the company is just going down the same road again, but Spencer said that making Xbox Microsoft's singular gaming platform was a top-down directive, starting with CEO Satya Nadella. "We are 100 percent committed to the PC gaming space and ensuring that Windows 10 becomes the best place for PC gamers to play," Spencer stressed.

Despite those missteps, it feels like Microsoft's unified gaming strategy is almost ready to become a reality. And the Xbox brand has been extremely successful for the company for over a decade now, give or take a few blips. It's going to take a lot more work to get the company to this new future, but it sounds like Microsoft has a plan to get us there -- and if its moves are successful, hopefully it can push Nintendo and Sony into the future as well. It would be great to buy a new console from any of the big gaming companies in a few years and know the library you built up won't get left behind.


http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/01/phil-spencer-the-future-of-xbox/

Reality
03-03-2016, 04:32 PM
But console gamers hate PC gaming because you have to put $300 a week into upgrading your rigs just to play the newest games!

Drunken Savior
03-03-2016, 05:53 PM
God, why doesn't Microsoft just include the ability to download more wam (http://www.downloadmoreram.com/) like PC Master Race gamers do?

Seriously, I get like 1000fps on MGSV in 1440p with a draw distance so far I can actually see the third chapter.

spider-prime
03-03-2016, 09:45 PM
Why buy a Xbox then if its only PC games... which a computer most people own.

Just buy a better computer! It's worth it! Your computer does more than a console.

I don't even care if people buy the Alienware alpha, for 700 dollars CDN, it's not bad for a mini PC that can easily be hooked up anywhere.

Mini PCs are getting awesome, I really want the Zotac Nen.

https://www.zotac.com/ca/product/mini_pcs/nen-steam-machine It's a beast!

Drunken Savior
03-03-2016, 09:51 PM
That's pretty cool.

I've been wanting to build a second gaming PC that I can bring over easily in this. Call it Bumblebee (http://www.corsair.com/en-us/graphite-series-380t-yellow-portable-mini-itx-case) because I'm not creative.

FinalSolace2
03-03-2016, 11:09 PM
why would Michael Jackson want to bleach his skin back to black? that's just stupid.

like why does xbox need to exist at all for that matter- I guess it is just one big mass hallucination. what Microsoft sold you was a PC stripped of its identity all these years just so they could cash in via a loophole on anti trust to sell PC's as microsoft but pretend its a video games console.

Nem
03-04-2016, 07:27 AM
Haha... they are going full circle. They started on PC gaming with windows and they are going back. Xbox was a waste of time.

Escaflowne2001
03-04-2016, 07:30 AM
There been to many brilliant games and series' over the years thanks to the Xbox to mean it was a waste. It's been my favourite console for two generations now.

spider-prime
03-04-2016, 11:25 AM
There been to many brilliant games and series' over the years thanks to the Xbox to mean it was a waste. It's been my favourite console for two generations now.

Those games would still likely come out on other consoles, just like if Nintendo didn't make consoles to begin with, they would be on other consoles.... but right now Nintendo is so prideful, If they stopped making consoles and handhelds, they would probably stop making games unless they liked the other company who makes consoles. Say Bandai/Namco or something like that.

BlindMaphisto
03-04-2016, 04:54 PM
Sort of relevant. Don't wanna make a new thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLWamwzhQ34

Joe Redifer
03-06-2016, 04:50 AM
God, why doesn't Microsoft just include the ability to download more RAM (http://www.downloadmoreram.com/) like PC Master Race gamers do?

That site sux. The biggest amount of RAM they offer to download is only half of what I already have installed. LAME.

Seriously, I get like 1000fps on MGSV in 1440p with a draw distance so far I can actually see the third chapter.

On a serious note, I notice a lot of PC gamers like running FPS counters during their gameplay. Doesn't that get annoying? Also doesn't that mean they literally can't tell the difference with their own eyeballs? Most of their monitors are probably 60Hz anyway so good luck with anything beyond 60fps. And you know these guys are probably like "Woooow I get 87 frames per second it looks amazing WAY better than 60 frames!" You know what looks even better? A CONSISTENT framerate. I'd rather have a locked framerate than a variable one any day of the week (with no screen tearing, of course... that's for losers who only have 18 cores in their GPU). And that locked framerate should be at a variable of the monitor's refresh rate. Is the monitor 60Hz? Cool, 30fs or 60fps please. Nothing else. Not 47. Too much uneven judder. 240Hz monitor? Cool, gimme 30, 48, 60, 96, 120, 150, 168, 180, 210 or 240 fps. That way each individual frame is displayed for the exact same duration of time. If it's not at a variable of the monitor's refresh rate then one frame will be flashed 3 times, then the next two, the next maybe four, etc etc etc. F that. Only cowards and traitors to the state enjoy inconsistent framerates. Variable rate refreshes can also suck my unwiped A-hole for the same reason. Most PC gamers don't know how frames per second really work or how the human brain interprets them and just think the higher number must always be the better number. Well that could be applied to ALL gamer groups I think because console gamers can be dumb, too. Not me though. I know everything. Because I invented everything. Including you. But everyone's allowed to have one failure.

BlindMaphisto
03-06-2016, 03:32 PM
Today I learned how to Pc. Thanks Joe.

Drunken Savior
03-06-2016, 09:12 PM
On a serious note, I notice a lot of PC gamers like running FPS counters during their gameplay. Doesn't that get annoying? Also doesn't that mean they literally can't tell the difference with their own eyeballs? Most of their monitors are probably 60Hz anyway so good luck with anything beyond 60fps. And you know these guys are probably like "Woooow I get 87 frames per second it looks amazing WAY better than 60 frames!" You know what looks even better? A CONSISTENT framerate. I'd rather have a locked framerate than a variable one any day of the week (with no screen tearing, of course... that's for losers who only have 18 cores in their GPU). And that locked framerate should be at a variable of the monitor's refresh rate. Is the monitor 60Hz? Cool, 30fs or 60fps please. Nothing else. Not 47. Too much uneven judder. 240Hz monitor? Cool, gimme 30, 48, 60, 96, 120, 150, 168, 180, 210 or 240 fps. That way each individual frame is displayed for the exact same duration of time. If it's not at a variable of the monitor's refresh rate then one frame will be flashed 3 times, then the next two, the next maybe four, etc etc etc. F that. Only cowards and traitors to the state enjoy inconsistent framerates. Variable rate refreshes can also suck my unwiped A-hole for the same reason. Most PC gamers don't know how frames per second really work or how the human brain interprets them and just think the higher number must always be the better number. Well that could be applied to ALL gamer groups I think because console gamers can be dumb, too. Not me though. I know everything. Because I invented everything. Including you. But everyone's allowed to have one failure.

I hate obnoxious fps counters, but I do run the Steam one, which I think is very non-obtrusive (https://i.imgur.com/GvEgnUl.jpg) whereas something like FRAPS is very obtrusive (https://i.imgur.com/YT0WKhI.gif).

And yeah, I'd say that unless the game's physics are tied to the framerate (In which case, your game code is garbage. I'm looking at you Need for Speed: Rivals (https://youtu.be/eDA37BmvNwM?t=6m) and Fallout 4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4EHjFkVw-s). Fighting games get a pass because they tend to aim for 60fps anyways and the whole idea of strategy is tied to frames.) I'd prefer any game at a higher framerate than a lower one. You can harp on consistency, and it is important, but a 10 frame variance matters a whole lot less then your range is 80-90 than it is when it's 20-30.

And I'd say that PC gamers tend to care more about the performance and customization of a game than console gamers do. But now that games like The Division (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-01-28-improve-xbox-one-image-quality-in-the-division-beta) and The Last of Us Remaster are starting to give console gamers graphical options, they'll begin to demand it more.

But I will also say this, using Windows at 144Hz is actually a lot more enjoyable than 60Hz since it smooths out the movement of all them boxes. It wasn't a main reason I bought a $700 monitor, but it's something I've really come to appreciate.