Microsoft's Project Scorpio - the souped-up, 4K-ready version of the Xbox One - could mark the end of traditional console generations for the company. Instead, it hopes to treat dedicated gaming devices more like smartphones, with regular iterations instead of leaps and bounds every six or seven years.
"For us, we think the future is without console generations," said Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft's Head of Xbox Games Marketing, in an interview with Engadget. "We think of this as a family of devices."
Greenberg added that Project Scorpio is "a pretty big bet" for Microsoft, noting that the success of the updated hardware, which is still over a year away from launch, could "change the way we think about the future of console gaming."
With the help of initiatives like Xbox 360 backwards compatibility and Xbox Play Anywhere, which works with Windows 10, Microsoft hopes to keep the Xbox One community and their libraries consistent across multiple platforms, rather than bench the old ones each time a new system enters the fray.
"It's one ecosystem," said Greenberg. "Whether you have an Xbox One S or Project Scorpio, we don't want anyone to be left behind."
Project Scorpio won't have exclusives...except when it does
On that topic, Greenberg clarified that all games and accessories made for the Xbox One and recently released Xbox One S will also work on Project Scorpio ... with one fairly major exception.
Project Scorpio will be the only console in the Xbox family powerful enough to handle virtual reality gaming, making whatever VR headset and games Microsoft has in store exclusive to Project Scorpio.
While that could be seen as a direct contradiction of Microsoft's earlier statement, Greenberg clarified that Xbox's eventual dip into VR is considered separate from Project Scorpio.
"We don't think of that as console gaming, we think of that as high-fidelity VR," said Greenberg.
With PlayStation VR releasing this fall, on top of Sony's own upgraded PS4.5 Neo console, we won't have to wait long to see if console-based VR and iterative hardware generations take off. Our only hope is that it doesn't go the way of Kinect.