The Xbox One reveal was so disappointing that it’ll likely go down in history as one of the gaming industry’s most memorable high-profile blunders. Microsoft’s decision to revise its mistakes will also likely go down in gaming history as unprecedented. Now, in what may end up as another unprecedented move, Microsoft might be revising the Xbox One’s hardware before it even releases.
For the uninitiated, Microsoft took a few enormous missteps when it announced the Xbox One. The new console would be bogged down by always-online DRM, a mandatory Kinect that is always watching, listening, and can see in the dark, a system to curb the sale of used games, and the same Xbox Gold paywall that currently plagues the Xbox 360.
On top of all that, it turned out that the Xbox One’s hardware wasn’t all too impressive when compared to its main competitor, the PS4 — and it would cost £100 more than Sony’s more powerful, not-bogged-down-at-all console. After a couple months of standing staunchly against almost everyone’s wishes to knock it off with these restrictions, Microsoft finally caved and removed the always-on DRM and the used games restrictions. So, the Xbox One would no longer have draconian restrictions, but still suffered from the problem of being an underpowered, more expensive console than its competitor.
Consoles don’t usually go through major hardware horsepower revisions during their lifecycle — they generally just lose some weight and use your power more efficiently. It’s also extremely rare for a console to undergo a hardware revision after its official announcement. After Microsoft relented and gave up on its dream of a locked-down, heavily restricted console, reports are suggesting that Microsoft will now give up on its hardware dream before the console even releases, and change its specs in order to not only better compete with Sony, but to better justify that £429 price tag.
Last week, the Examiner reported that a source claimed the Xbox One’s GPU will get a bump in clock speed, and the 8GB of DDR3 RAM will increase to 12GB. Additionally, the Xbox One development team is asking designers what other changes to the console they’d like to see — which comes off as a little desperate, especially considering the hardware is supposed to release in around four months.
The RAM rumour seems to have originated from the Xbox One dev kits shipping with 12GB of RAM. However, the source claims that the retail kits do not pack that much RAM. The source also notes that the clock speed increase is the result of Microsoft “giving off the impression” that this took place.
While it may seem very odd for high-profile hardware to backtrack on its announced specs only a few months before its release, we wouldn’t be surprised by anything Microsoft does with the Xbox One anymore. Whether it’s a power boost, a price cut before release, or finally removing the Xbox Gold paywall, Microsoft still needs to clean up its image ever since it got tarnished from the console reveal. If there’s one thing Microsoft will surely retain, though, it’s that you can bet your Xbox One will have a lot of games that feature marines.