Citing “multiple sources familiar with Redmond’s plans”, The Verge has been tipped that Microsoft is planning to launch an Xbox-branded set-top box, similar to Apple TV, built to deliver movies and TV shows as found on the 360 marketplace, as well as more ‘casual games’ – most likely to be downloadable Xbox Live Arcade titles.
Removing support for the triple-A blockbuster games that 360 gamers currently enjoy - if reports are accurate - will remove the need for an optical disk drive (saving space, as well as making sure the box is much lighter than its core-gaming equivalent), but will also keep the price of the box down by using more cost-effective, less powerful components.
It seems Microsoft's intentions to make the Xbox the 'entertainment hub' of every modern living room doesn't seem such a crazy idea after all, with this hardware reveal sitting nicely beside an Xbox hub already featuring the likes of Sky Player, Netflix, iPlayer, 4OD, Blinkbox and more. With bite-size, arcadey titles sitting on top of that, an Xbox TV set-top box could introduce even more families to the otherwise videogame-centric Xbox brand.
A spokesperson for Microsoft told The Verge “Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console life-cycle 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 life-cycle convention.”