Microsoft has big plans for its next-generation Xbox console, as besides a full-fledged device, namely the oft-rumored Xbox 720, the company is also reportedly going to release a special set-top box version of the device that won’t be as powerful but will be lower priced and that will provide access to entertainment services.
The Xbox 360 is no longer just a games console as Microsoft has partnered with many entertainment providers
from all over the world that broadcast their content to the tens of millions of Xbox 360 owners worldwide.
While the company is still adamant in supporting its current console, many rumors deem the presentation of a next-generation device a certainty for 2013.
Now, The Verge
reports that besides an actual next-gen console, in the form of the oft-rumored Xbox 720, Microsoft is also working on another version of the device that will feature less powerful hardware and will act as a lower priced set-top box.
This two-device strategy will be revealed to the world next year, according to the website, and will see the Xbox 720 target hardcore gamers who want a new experience, while the set-top box version will be marketed as a perfect upgrade for Xbox 360 owners who want to access new entertainment options besides those on the current console.
The new device will be able to play casual titles and might run a modified version of Windows 8, apparently.
While the hardware configuration hasn’t been nailed down, Microsoft is apparently planning to implement a special chipset that will run all the time in order to provide an instant startup for when owners want to access content right away.
A set-top box function for the Xbox 720 was rumored some time ago and it seems that the company might actually offer it as a standalone device.
For what it’s worth, Microsoft released a vague statement in response to the report, saying that it’s always trying to think of new ways to develop the Xbox business.
“Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.”
As of yet, Microsoft hasn’t even confirmed that it’s working on a next-generation Xbox device or devices.