Xbox's Phil Spencer teases big new things coming to Xbox in the next 1-2 years, and these experimental plans could transform gaming even more than Game Pass and Project xCloud.
With features like backwards compatibility, Project xCloud game streaming, and Game Pass, Microsoft has been a tremendous innovator for the games industry. The company isn't done yet. Microsoft plans to continue pushing the bar in its cross-platform framework with ambitious new content/services/hardware in the next 1-2 years.
In a recent podcast with Major Nelson, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the company may reveal major new innovations in the next 1-2 years. Spencer doesn't say what these plans are--whether or not they're hardware, services, or new features coming to the Xbox-PC-smartphone ecosystem--but he does say they're "incredibly exciting."
"What are the things coming in the next year? I like to think of that as Horizon Zero. And then I think of a kind of Horizon One as being 2-3 years out. We kind of know what those things are and what's on the roadmap.
"Then you have those things that are 3-10 years out, and most of those won't work. Those are kind of investments that you're putting in. Backward compatibility was one of those things--it was 'hey let's go try something that probably won't work, but we want to give it a try.'
"There's some things that I'm incredibly excited about that hopefully over the next year or two we'll get to talk about. What are those Horizon 2 type of investments that we're making that will come, the ones that are coming in the next 3-10 years that'll get people excited as xCloud and Game Pass is making people today.
"That's our job, our job at Xbox is to be thinking about the moment and the roadmap ahead but also be experimenting with some things that have the potential to be real game-changers but are also risk-filled and technology-filled.
"There's some cool things on the horizon. It's just an incredibly exciting time for the teams right now."
Project xCloud and Game Pass are the ultimate tag-team duo so it's hard to see where Xbox could branch out insofar as services.
We could see Microsoft finally reveal an Xbox game stick, which would allow console-free gaming on a TV. The idea works like this: Hook up a HDMI dongle to your TV and Microsoft would stream games wirelessly from its Project xCloud servers directly to your TV.
There's a possibility this new advancements could be software-based, too. We'll see big jumps in next-gen gaming experiences as Microsoft pursues Xbox Series X/S exclusive titles, which will push new features like ultra-fast game loading, ray tracing, 4K 60FPS, and a multitude of physics/lighting/environment optimizations.