Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, Microsoft’s director of programming for Xbox Live, was at PAX Australia recently and was interviewed about the future of the console. He discussed how the company is blurring the line between Xbox as a console and as a platform, as well as moving forward to an all-digital future.
Hryb oversees projects and programs that’s all related to Xbox, including Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere initiative. Play Anywhere allowed users to purchase a game once and let them play the game on either the Xbox One or the PC. This has led to speculations that Microsoft might be aiming for an all-digital future for the console.
“I think the world is — with every passing year and month, every passing moment — the world is more and more comfortable with digital purchases, and frankly that’s what consumers are demanding,” Hryb told GameSpot in an interview. “They want to have that flexibility of content unlocking and being available the moment a game is released. Being able to download it at their leisure.”
Hryb also believes that Play Anywhere represents Xbox as a modern-day platform where Microsoft and Xbox are somewhat the same in terms of gaming. He added that the Xbox has always been console, but it’s also become Microsoft’s gaming brand recently. That said, Hryb emphasized that they want to make sure that everybody will be able to play games however and whenever they want.
Microsoft wants to make people look at the Xbox as a platform rather than just a piece of hardware that gets an upgraded version every few years. Hryb then discussed Project Scorpio and how that expands the consumers’ choice on how to play games. He explained that there are people who are capable of building their own PCs, while there are those who simply don’t have the time for that and that’s exactly where Project Scorpio steps in.
“We’re looking at Scorpio as part of the Xbox family. I mean, who defines generations? They used to be defined very clearly by perhaps processor, hardware releases, and the games that were on them,” Hryb said. “What we’re looking at doing now is something that’s a little more akin to the mobile phone space, where when you upgrade all your content goes with you.” Hryb is perhaps hinting once again at convincing customers to buy games through its digital storefront.
The only problem that Microsoft is facing with its digital-only future for Xbox is that not all gamers around the world have reliable, high-speed internet. There are still a lot of gamers in the rural parts of the United States that are still highly dependent on physical media, as pointed out by Shack News.