People have been wondering whether the processing power needed for virtual reality, as well as the changed architecture of the PS4 and Xbox One, could encourage console manufacturers to release hardware upgrades before the current generation phases out.
As it turns out, Microsoft is thinking about that. The reasons why aren't necessarily to do with VR, though.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox for Microsoft, revealed during a keynote speech in San Francisco recently that Microsoft would merge the Xbox One and PC gaming platforms into a new ecosystem relying on Universal Windows Applications (UWAs). The idea is to create a unified developer framework so that applications run across all Microsoft devices, whether they be smartphones, the Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs or tablets.
The Guardian, which attended the event, wrote that Spencer directly spoke about Microsoft improving the capability of the Xbox One's hardware over the course of its lifespan. "We'll see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation and allow the same games to run backwards and forward compatible because we have UWAs running on top of UWP. It allows us to focus on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform."
Spencer reportedly added that more than 40% of Windows 10 users are playing games, and that he didn't want the Xbox to jump a generation and lose the ability to play everything previously. "We can effectively feel a little bit more like what we see on PC where I can still go back and run my old Quake and Doom games, but then I can also see the best 4K games coming out."
Microsoft has been working on a unified platform for years now, with users who purchase a Windows Phone app able to run that same app on their Windows PC. The Xboxchief also noted that UWAs will be able to support multiple different GPUs and that they would have a solution fixing issues around V-Sync.