Next Xbox: Defining Features Revealed by Phil Spencer

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The next Xbox is already being developed, and news about what it will offer gamers is already starting to surface. When you think of the next generation of gaming, and a next-gen Xbox, you're probably thinking about 4K resolution standards, crazy particle physics, and photo-realistic graphics. That's pretty much what we look for every generation: a leap in visuals.

According to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, however, that won't be the primary focus in the next console generation. According to Spencer, frame-rate and convenience are going to reign supreme, and that's a good thing.

In a pretty lengthy GiantBomb interview, Phil Spencer was asked specifically what he wanted to see out of the next-generation box. The question was broad and very forgiving, basically asking, "If you had it your way, what would the next-gen leap look like?" His answer was really encouraging. I've quoted a few bits below (emphasis mine):

"I think frame-rate is an area where consoles can do more, just in general. When you look at the balance between CPU and GPU in today's consoles, they're a little out of whack relative to what's on the PC side. There's work that we can do there.

"I'm always wishing games could start quicker. The problem we run into with making it manual for the developer is, one, they don't really have all of the data they need, and what blocks to load in what order. And sometimes, games come in a little bit hot, so like, 'hey what's the install order' may not be the [priority]."

Spencer soon repeated both of these points in a kind of summary, re-emphasizing that frame-rate and fast boot times, getting players playing their games quicker than ever, is what he thought was most important moving forward. Of course, those are only two pieces of the puzzle, and your next-gen gaming experience isn't solely based on performance and boot speed.

With all of the rumors we've been hearing about AMD's new console tech, I think it's safe to assume that the next Xbox will boast a major CPU upgrade, the likes of which we haven't seen in several generations. This will put consoles on firmer footing, and may even empower console gamers to enjoy an experience more in-line with current-gen PC gaming tech, which would be huge.

Xbox Game Pass was also an interesting point of conversation, and I think it's safe to assume that Microsoft will be assessing ways to evolve Game Pass and other services to cater to players' spending and playing habits. Subscription "on-demand" services are taking over, and we're beginning to see that people would much rather part with $10-20 every single month to play whatever they want, rather than spending $60 a pop on one new game. Game Pass players are playing more games, buying more games, and meeting more people online. This is great for players, and it's great for Microsoft. Expect the service to evolve over time.

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I think this is a great place to start. If we can expect the same kind of graphical fidelity that we see from the Xbox One X, and leap in CPU speed to help with performance, the next-generation Xbox could represent a healthy balance between performance and power, at an attractive price-point.

What do you hope to see out of the next Xbox, and next-gen consoles in general? Let us know in the comments below!