The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is working on an Xbox set top box. The idea is that it would have all the entertainment options and TV services that Xbox already has, but minus the console gaming that Xbox usually provides.
The set top box is another attempt by Microsoft to further entrench itself in the living room. The set top box will be cheaper than the Xbox and would thus provide an option for those who do not need the full console experience.
It would probably run on a chipset that is compatible with Microsoftâ€™s Windows 8, and would enable an â€˜always onâ€™ system that would be up and running in no time and resume quickly. The effort is a broader push by Microsoft to make its operating system scalable enough to run on different platforms.
The set top box will give Microsoft two different platforms to push for the living room, one is the full fledged XboxÂ and the other the stripped down entertainment only version. Though light gaming will work on the set top box too.
The next generation of the Xbox might have a phone stack which will allow phones to run Xbox Live fully. It is also exploring ways to partner with TV OEMs to bundle the same capabilities with TVs out of the box. Such TVs will be Xbox branded.
The device dubbed â€œXbox TVâ€ is set to be unveiled sometime in ahead of the 2013 holiday season. While Microsoft was fuzzy about the details, it did not deny that it is working on such a system.
The report is not hard to believe given that Xbox already has a slew of video/music services that rival traditional TVs. For sometime past Microsoft has been zealously expanding its content services on the Xbox, so that Xbox 360 has already becoming more of an entertainment device than a gaming console.
In a statement to the Verge it said â€œXbox 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.”