Xbox Chief Phil Spencer Shoots Down Idea Of Xbox One And A Half

The latest buzz from the gaming community is that Sony might be working on an upgraded version of its PlayStation 4 console, one that's built with a burlier GPU capable of playing games at 4K Ultra HD resolution. Nothing is yet official, but if Sony makes a bombshell announcement, will Microsoft follow suit with a beefier Xbox One? Don't count on it.

Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, poured water on the fire just as it was getting lit. The inevitable question came up at Microsoft's 2016 Build conference last week, and rather than offer a canned response that would have left the door open to rumors and speculation, Spencer flat out said there are no plans to release an incrementally faster Xbox One console.

Microsoft Xbox One

"I'm not a big fan of Xbox One and a half. If we're going to move forward, I want to more forward in big numbers," Spencer said. "For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it's reliable, the servers are doing well. If we're going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be really substantial change for people—and upgrade."

Eight years passed between the launch of the Xbox 360 in November 2005 and Xbox One in November 2013. If Microsoft holds to that same time frame, it will be more than five and a half years before there's a new generation Xbox console. That seems reasonable, especially if Microsoft breaks up the time lapse with a slimmer model Xbox One or a version that upgrades the storage even further, perhaps to 2TB. Themed consoles also help satiate the market hungry for something new.

That said, the pressure will be on if Sony is somehow able to release a 4K-capable PS4 sooner than later. Not without its challenges, such a system would require some mighty graphics horsepower, and even then it's likely to come at a high cost to consumers—consider that a GeForce GTX 980 Ti in the PC space runs upwards of $650 for the card alone. But if Sony figures things out, it would force Microsoft to at least consider an incremental upgrade, especially as 4K televisions continue to infiltrate the mainstream market.