Harrison: Xbox One's launch games have only scratched the surface

"For every feature you've seen in the launch titles, there are five features in the queue."

Having fun hacking people's arms off in Ryse, or getting stamped on by Aoife's (she claims) unstoppable Drivatar in Forza Motorsport 5? The best is yet to come, you may be unsurprised to hear. Speaking to OXM as part of a lengthy piece on the future of Xbox One you'll read in our latest issue, Microsoft Studios exec Phil Harrison has promised that future Xbox One games will make use of the platform's various capabilities in far more interesting ways.

"When you've been around for a long time, you know what platforms are like," he began. "The games you celebrate and are proud of in the first year, when you look back at them from the perspective of ten years from now; you'd be amazed at the difference. It's a combination of the tools getting better, developers beginning to understand the unique architecture to work with."

The claim that developers are able to do more with hardware they're used to is hardly electrifying, of course. It's already been suggested by CD Projekt's lead engine programmer Balázs Török that Microsoft will unlock "hidden" performance boosts for the Xbox One - a prediction he bases on Microsoft's sharing of new techniques for development on Xbox 360 across 2007 and 2008.


This probably won't amount to anything as dramatic as the discovery of another gigabyte of RAM, but Harrison insists that there's less of a "glass ceiling" for eking more juice out of the Xbox One, thanks to the much-touted and still largely ethereal benefits of the Xbox Live cloud.

"Crucially this time around, there's the power of the cloud and what that means for game design. That can grow and scale indefinitely - of course there is a practical limit but in effect you're uncapped. And I think, from a player's perspective, that's the most exciting part; that it's not just about the chips in the box under the television or wherever you position your console of choice, it's about what the platform will provide you with over time. We've not had that in a console generation before."

This growing process ostensibly applies to both performance and features. There are, Harrison told us, plenty of ideas Microsoft has yet to fully implement - whether couched as part of a game, or in the form of an app, or in some other form entirely. "There are more ideas and vision for what games can be than available time to build them into the launch games.

"So for every feature you've seen in the launch titles - SmartGlass, GameDVR, use of voice with Kinect - there are five features in the queue waiting to come out, either in an update or a sequel or in a future version of a game. The kind of creative and technical innovation that we're seeing in the industry - it's a really good time."


All Xbox One developers have free access to dedicated servers and a chunk of server processing power, to blow on whatever they see fit. Among those who've attempted to extol the practical benefits are Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt and Respawn's Jon Shiring, one of the minds behind the Microsoft exclusive Titanfall.

Fancy a copy of issue 106? You can order the new issue online here, or download a digital copy (which doesn't include the free FIFA code) from iTunes, Zinio and Google Play. If you subscribe on iTunes you get two issues free, though you'll miss out on the free gifts you'll receive when you subscribe in print.