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The Xbox One won't be Microsoft's last console, says Phil Spencer

"I think local compute will be important for a long time."

What with all Microsoft's talk of magic cloud gaming, whereby most or all of a game's operations are performed on servers, you could be forgiven for thinking the Xbox One the last of an endangered species.

After all, what need we a boxful of RAM on the coffee table when there's a supercomputer cluster just down the road? Will Microsoft ever find it necessary to release an Xbox Two, or will it just upgrade the server farms with new graphics cards, CPUs and the like - even streaming games direct to a display device? Hold your horses, says Studios boss Phil Spencer.

"I don't," he tweeted yesterday, when asked whether Xbox One might be Microsoft's last traditional console. "I think local compute will be important for a long time."

Jonty and I pondered this very question in a Hot Topic last year. As I recall, Jonty claimed that the Xbox One could be the last console you'll buy, while I argued the opposite. Who's laughing now, Jonty?

Zoom

The mobile market has often been proffered as a parallel for the way consoles have become increasingly reliant on networked features. That's an analogy that cuts two ways, Spencer added in a follow-up Tweet - smartphones continue to offer more local power, despite the greater sophistication of their network support. "You can look at mobile, connected to faster networks, more cloud services but local power still increases each gen."

Microsoft has spent $700 million beefing up Xbox Live for the launch of Xbox One, and is confident that its Xbox Live Compute service could "absolutely" support game streaming. Time will tell what difference all that investment makes.

Spencer's hardly alone in questioning the viability of suggestions that the concept of a console is obsolete. EA Studios executive vice-president Patrick Söderlund thinks the next Xbox and PS5 could launch by 2018 at the earliest.

Thanks, NowGamer.

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