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'New hardware means more power, but do we really need it?'

To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question...

On last week's mailbox Jon Gates, said he feels just a little bit overwhelmed by open-world games and said games like Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City were too daunting.

This week Philip McLean asks if we really need new hardware, and whether Microsoft can offer something to people content with their current generation of hardware.

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Knuckles, how do you feel about new consoles?

I was just thinking about the 'Xbox 720' - although new hardware would mean more power, do we really need it? And if so, would it be possible for a 'software based product' to be sold allowing 360s to run 720 games on a 360, but suited to the 360's lack of power? This product would be launching alongside the 720 for those who are happy with their 360 and would rather pay less to have access to the next generation of games without hardware upgradesem

XBW says: The next-generation is happening, and we'll know more about it at E3 in June. Do we really need it? Probably not; it'll only make AAA game development much more expensive and widen the gap between large and small developers.

However, do we want the next-generation? Of course. We've seen how high-end PCs are pushing games far beyond what current consoles are capable of (just look at Battlefield 3) and we'd be foolish not to want a piece of that.

What the next Xbox will bring isn't just better visuals, though. It'll bring new ways of playing (through a better version of Kinect) plus superb media features and enhanced online. No, not strictly essential to our gaming lives, but a very exciting prospect.

CVG says: Your suggestion is interesting but ultimately highly unlikely, in fact it would be foolish to not encourage users to migrate onto a new platform. By providing a solution similar to what you suggest it would effectively be telling a massive portion of its current audience not to spend money to upgrade. It's just not good business.