A new report suggests that Microsoft's next generation Xbox will come in two very different models.
The first is the console we're all expecting, providing true next-generation gaming experiences, while the other will be a more affordable unit aimed at the casual market. The latter is said to use Windows 8 as the basis of its operating system, and won't be able to run the latest triple-A titles, but will support downloadable casual games from Xbox Live.
So it will function more like a set-top box, or an Apple TV, allowing a greater number of consumers to experience the console's growing range of entertainment apps. Apparently, the next-gen Xbox will be an 'always on' device that starts up almost instantly, letting you resume your game with little downtime.
This latest report comes from The Verge, which cites "multiple sources familiar with Redmond's plans". (Redmond, if you were wondering, is the location of Microsoft's research facility.) It also claims that this twin SKU approach is part of a larger Microsoft strategy to ensure that its core Xbox software is 'scalable' to run on a variety of devices. There's even talk of making it so that a phone could be capable of delivering a full Xbox Live experience. It has also looked into including licensing core Xbox functionality into television sets.
It's believed that both devices will be announced sometime in 2013 and made available before the end of the year.
Next Xbox to arrive before 2014, Microsoft ad suggests
Microsoft unintentionally hints at new Xbox console again after stating that recent 720 comments were misunderstood
A job vacancy for a senior role at Microsoft's entertainment division has suggested that the next generation Xbox will be released before 2014.
The advert, seeking a Central Marketing Group director, claims that "over the next eighteen months Microsoft will release new versions of all of our most significant products including Windows (Client, Server, Phone and Azure), Office and Xbox, along with completely new offerings like Microsoft Surface".
The statement suggests that Microsoft will launch the next Xbox before 2014. CVG sources have previously suggested the system's release date will likely fall in the latter half of 2013. Development kits were issued to several third party studios in the UK at the start of 2012, the sources have said.
Microsoft does not comment on speculation regarding the so-called Xbox 720.
However, on Tuesday the software giant broke protocol to insist that comments recently made by an executive at the company - who had briefly mentioned the "new Xbox" - were allegedly "not understood in their intended context".
Brian Hall, general manager of Windows Live, told journalists last week: "We've operated Hotmail for about 16 years, we obviously have Exchange and Outlook that people use at work, and we just decided it was time to do something new and bring the best from each of those and put them together and release it right in time for the new wave of products that we have coming out with Windows 8, with the new version of Office, with the New Windows Phone and the new Xbox."
Microsoft retorted: "When Brian mentioned a 'new wave of products,' he was referring to the full line-up of products coming later this year from Microsoft, including Windows 8, Office, Windows Phone and of course our fall Xbox update which will bring a host of new consumer experiences like Xbox Music, Videos, Games on Windows 8 and Xbox SmartGlass."
At the centre of the debate is a semantics issue: whether the so-called 'new Xbox' was in reference to new Xbox 360 services or a new system altogether.
The latest Microsoft job advertisement does not mention Xbox Live, its operating system or any related online services, just simply that "over the next eighteen months Microsoft will release new versions of all of our most significant products including Windows, Office and Xbox".
The vacancy also suggests that these new devices will launch within the next eighteen months. Microsoft's clarification on Brian Hall's comments, meanwhile, were that he was referring to a line-up of products set for release within the next five months.
The two distinct timelines suggest that Hall and the job advertisement are referring to a separate line of products.
In June, a leaked 56-page document had detailed what appeared to be an early Xbox 720 release plan. One month later, images of what appears to be an Xbox 720 development kit surfaced on the internet.
Another day, another rumor regarding the Microsoft Xbox 720 next generation video game console. Reports are now coming in that the console has gone into beta testing, and prototype kits are making the rounds to video game developers.
Twitter user, SuperDae, the same user who leaked the image of Xbox Kinect 2, is the source of the latest rumor. Now, if the leaked Xbox Kinect 2 image is real, then there is a chance the Xbox 720 is truly in beta stage, which could mean gamers could be in for a treat when E3 2013 takes centerstage next year.
Xbox 720 rumors began making headlines quiet regularly since the beginning of 2012, and got even more as 2012 comes to an end. The first big rumor was about so-called leaked details of the console that found its way on the Internet. Information found in this leaked document suggested that the Xbox 720 would feature 8GB of RAM, Blu-Ray disc drive, Xbox Kinect 2.0 built in, AR Glasses and a new controller.
Another rumor not too long ago claimed the Xbox 720 CPU is expected to clock at 1.66GHz, which is slightly faster than the slow CPU found in the Nintendo Wii U. Obviously, all rumors should be taken lightly until Microsoft or well known game developers make any form of official announcement regarding the specifications and features of the Xbox 720.
E3 2013 is right around the corner. Everything gamers want to know about the console should be revealed there along with the launch date and price. That's if rumors of the console launching in time for holidays next year hold any merit.
Microsoft buys R2 Studios - Tech giant buys start-up with home entertainment patents
Microsoft has acquired US home entertainment start-up R2 Studios for an undisclosed sum.
The technology giant has also obtained some patents related to controlling electronics as part of its deal with R2, which was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal. It is thought that these will be used to bolster Microsoft’s Xbox home console.
Last year Microsoft released Xbox SmartGlass, app designed to enable users to control their home entertainment using their mobile or tablet devices. This deal supports Microsoft’s move to reposition the Xbox console as a home entertainment and media hub.
R2’s founder Blake Krikorian and his small team will now be heading to Microsoft’s Redmond campus.
The Silicon Valley-based business has been developing technology related to distributing and displaying digital media on TVs, which games and electronics companies are all flocking to.
It was also in talks with Google and Apple about a possible deal, sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
R2 Studios was founded by entrepreneur Krikorian in May 2011. Previously, Kirkorian founded the firm behind the Slingbox, which allowed users to watch TV on their PCs. He also served on the board at Amazon.com, though he resigned from the position last week.
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