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Xbox One performance can increase over time, claims Harrison

Microsoft exec claims cloud-served upgrades will reduce system's aging effect

Microsoft's next-generation console is capable of gradual performance increases over time, a key Xbox executive has claimed.

Phil Harrison, vice president of the Xbox division, said these system-side evolutions will help stimulate the console and refresh the market during the latter stages of the Xbox One's lifespan.

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"The way in which you keep the market fresh is keep the technology fresh and keep the development ecosystem growing so that new and exciting experiences are coming out," he told MCV.

"And with Xbox One using the power of cloud we can add features, we can add functionality, we can have performance increases over time. I think that will keep the platform very fresh over a long period of time."

Many in the industry today believe the current console cycle, which began in 2005, has outstayed its welcome (the UK retail market has only grown in one month since 2009). Executives at publishers such as Ubisoft say they do not want another ten-year console cycle - something which both Microsoft and Sony are promising.

But Harrison believes the Xbox One can gradually increase its performance over time due to its connection with the cloud. Mark Cerny, the PlayStation 4 system architect, has previously stated he is unconvinced by cloud-based system performance upgrades.

Elsewhere in his interview, Harrison was unsure how predominant digital distribution would be over the next ten years.

"On a macro-global scale, the world is clearly moving in a digital direction. It is, I think, an unstoppable, inexorable momentum. We are going to see the world be truly digital. But with Xbox One we quite correctly give people choice," he said.

"It really depends on where you live. It's my favourite William Gibson quote: 'The future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed.' If you go to South Korea, the market is entirely digital. The infrastructure that they have with broadband is so powerful that there is no physical retail distribution of games. It is going to be a slow evolution, not a revolution."

Speaking briefly on the various Xbox One policy reversals that occurred after its divisive reveal in May, Harrison said: "I absolutely believe it was the right decision to adjust our plans".

Microsoft has set an Xbox One release date of November 22 across the US and several nations in Europe.

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