Microsoft has not been shy about using the term “next-gen” to describe its games and experiences for the Xbox One, but what exactly does it mean?
Speaking with GameSpot, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the term is multifaceted and at times difficult to convey. “I think it’s multiple things. Graphic fidelity is clearly going to be one of those…and I think graphic fidelity is always going to be at the top of what gamers think about,” Spencer said. “But more and more you’re seeing connected games. Titanfall is a great example, even [Forza 5 ] was a great example. And other briefings had similar functionality.”
“The mix of exactly what makes a new generation game is now more faceted than it used to be because there’s just more capabilities in the platform,” he added. “Visual fidelity continues to excel here, but you actually just have a lot more capability in the hands of the creator, and you’re seeing that show up.”
Spencer explained that next-gen even extends beyond visuals and connected experiences to the creative teams behind the games themselves. “And it’s why, when I’m onstage, I will show something like Below that certain people look at and say, ‘Is that really a new-generation game?’ But I’m also just in love with the creative talent that teams have,” Spencer said. “Because in the end, I think, it’s about fun games. It’s about fun games that people love to play.”
Spencer also admitted that getting across to consumers what makes a next-gen game compelling will be difficult, considering the change is no longer standard definition to high definition in terms of visuals. “It’s a good challenge,” Spencer said, of marketing next-gen experiences. “If you think about the original Xbox to Xbox 360, it was SD to HD. You saw those differences. I do think you’re seeing visuals now that are remarkably different, but yeah, in your mind’s eye you might think they look similar, but you put them side by side,and there’s a dramatic difference.”
The Xbox One launches in November for $500 , a full $100 above Sony’s competitive product, the PlayStation 4.