It’s widely believed that Sony will introduce an improved “PS5 Pro” as early as late 2024 given that the next generation of game consoles is 3 years into its cycle. Gaming enthusiasts will undoubtedly be thrilled by the hardware upgrades in this new machine. According to reports, Microsoft does not have any intentions to update the Xbox Series X/S mid-cycle. But in order to remain competitive, Microsoft would be well to reconsider its approach and release an Xbox Series X mid-gen upgrade in light of Sony’s apparent ambitions.
The Case for an Xbox Series X Mid-Gen Upgrade
Mid-cycle console refreshes have become the standard ever since Sony and Microsoft embraced the smartphone model of more regular hardware updates last generation. At a time when 4K TVs were still mostly in their infancy, the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro both prolonged the lifespans of their respective consoles. Fans could enjoy improved performance and graphics thanks to these mid-generation improvements, which also made the systems future-proof for new display standards.
Now with the PS5 Pro rumors, Sony looks to be continuing this successful tactic. The reported specs suggest a sizeable technical leap over the already powerful base PS5 models. For Xbox to not follow suit risks falling behind in the perceptual “console war” of brand reputation and technical prowess. Xbox will appear stagnant and disinterested in innovation while Sony impresses consumers with flashier hardware.
Microsoft needs to at least match what Sony is doing to remain competitive. Here are some key reasons why releasing an upgraded Xbox Series X|S console mid-lifecycle is a wise strategic move.
Maintain Parity with Sony’s PS5 Pro
The biggest reason Microsoft should consider an Xbox Series X upgrade is to match what Sony is doing with the PS5 Pro. The rival PS5 Pro is said to be distinctly more powerful than its predecessor, enabling higher performance targets like more consistent 4K resolution and 8K output.
Xbox just cannot for such a glaring hardware imbalance to persist when compared to the direct PlayStation rival. Consumers base their purchases on a product’s technical specifications and capabilities. If the PS5 Pro clearly outperforms the Xbox Series X, Sony may gain market share.
The goal of releasing a comparable high-end Xbox system is to keep the companies’ technical equivalence in the public’s eye. Even though only a small percentage of people actually possess 8K monitors, having equivalent 8K/60FPS capabilities is essential for marketing and PR purposes.
Satisfy Early Adopters Seeking Cutting Edge Performance
Even while the Xbox Series X has enough power on its own, some fans are constantly looking for the next big thing. Sony is taking advantage of this desire by providing a high-end console tier. By updating their gear as well, Microsoft has the chance to benefit these early adopters and ardent supporters.
Gaming is already moving into 4K 60FPS territory thanks to the Xbox Series X. However, a more potent successor could reach new performance peaks like steady 4K 120FPS gameplay. In multiplayer games that are twitch responsive, higher frame rates translate into competitive benefits. More future-proof specifications would also aid in the optimization of later-released next-gen games on consoles.
For tech enthusiasts with deep pockets, playing on the most powerful premium hardware available is important. An upgraded Xbox Series X would give them that cutting-edge experience they crave while staying within the Xbox ecosystem.
Build Excitement and Renew Interest Mid-Cycle
Sales of consoles often reach their peak in the first 12 to 24 months and then gradually fall over time. Midway through the average 5+ year lifetime, the release of new hardware provides a much-needed sales lift.
In order to capitalize on early uptake and maintain sales momentum through 2024 and beyond, Sony has timed the release of the PS5 Pro effectively. A new high-end model’s hype will pique curiosity and persuade some enthusiasts to upgrade. This strategy lengthens the platform’s profitable life.
Microsoft could benefit from a similar mid-cycle enthusiasm boost. Announcing an Xbox Series X|S successor would make big headlines and persuade many fans to upgrade. This helps maintain a steady sales cadence rather than relying solely on price cuts and game releases.
Take Advantage of Improving Chip Supply
The availability of new consoles was significantly impacted by the global chip shortage. However, supply restrictions started to gradually ease in 2022 and are expected to continue getting better over the next two years. A more favorable chip supply and manufacturing environment would coincide with the release of an improved Xbox in 2023 or 2024.
For a mid-generation upgrade, Microsoft could immediately supply demand, unlike the early shortage of Xbox Series X/S devices. Instead of laboring to develop inventories, this enables businesses to optimize revenues from the hardware announcement. The total launch and rollout are improved by increased supplies.
Deliver New Capabilities and Features
A mid-cycle console refresh also presents an opportunity to introduce new capabilities beyond just faster core hardware. Sony is reportedly developing a base PS5 model with a removable disc drive for example. Microsoft could take the chance to add removable storage, boost backward compatibility features, implement hardware-based ray tracing, or other enhancements that weren’t ready at the Series X launch. More advanced chips and new architecture opens the door for innovation.
Even without changing the industrial design, Microsoft can meaningfully upgrade internal components and platform features. This gives existing Xbox owners more incentive to move to an Xbox Series X mid-gen upgrade.
Conclusion – The Time is Right for an Xbox Series X Upgrade
The PS5 Pro hardware revision, which Sony is about to release, will increase the bar for performance, thus Microsoft should now carry out its own mid-cycle Xbox Series X overhaul. By matching Sony’s new flagship, Microsoft can continue to be competitive in terms of technological capabilities and public perception. As both companies work to increase the lifespans and user bases of their most recent console generations, this enables Xbox to keep pace with Sony.
Hardcore gamers will be pleased with the incremental console upgrade when it is released, and new sales momentum will result. Launching new hardware is also far more feasible today than it was in 2020 because of increased chip availability.
Rumors will continue swirling around what exact specs and features to expect in the PS5 Pro. But one thing seems clear – Microsoft cannot allow Sony to operate uncontested at the new technological frontier. Staying aggressive and innovative with the Xbox Series X mid-gen upgrade is key to thriving in the back half of this console generation, not just at launch.