Microsoft won’t confirm Xbox One X lifespan but talks up ‘not just backwards compatibility’

With the Xbox One X launch, two industry heavyweights will be competing with mid-gen hardware updates. However with the Xbox One X costing a hefty 450, a key question on consumer’s lips will be just what is the lifespan of the new device?

We asked Albert Penello, the senior director who leads marketing for Xbox consoles globally, at an Xbox One X centred event yesterday in London.

"We care a lot about compatibility, we have a huge effort around compatibility, and that’s not just backwards compatibility," he answered.

"I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that we care a lot about compatibility and in this day and age people have shifted to caring more about their community and their apps, than caring about the piece of hardware that they’re on, and we have just moved with that," he continued, equating the Xbox platform to the platform strategy of mobile devices.

Some might say that Windows is the ultimate compatibility platform

Albert Penello, Xbox

Although, he did distance the brand from an iPhone-like rollout strategy: "I’m certainly not an advocate of ‘we’re going to do a new console every year’, but consumers are more used to this idea that they can buy devices with different performance levels, when a new generation of hardware comes out, their old stuff still works."

He also pointed out that no one does compatibility like Microsoft does compatibility: "Some might say that Windows is the ultimate compatibility platform, Windows is backward compatible all the way back to the very beginning in many cases."

"I think that compatibility and cross-platform play are going to be areas we’re really serious about," he finished.

While there’s nothing solid there, Microsoft would be unlikely to make potentially legally-binding promises years into the future after all, it certainly looks as though compatibility is now a major watchword for the company’s gaming efforts, both within Xbox and across all its gaming efforts.

Inevitably, one day in the future, we’ll see games that won’t run on an Xbox One X, but that looks to be something that Microsoft is committed to avoiding for as long as possible – and with its current stance on compatibility and crossplay it’s taking action today to back up that stance.

For more on the Xbox One X, read our recent interview with Aaron Greenberg on the platform’s overall strategy for the new console.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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