If rumours are to be believed Microsoft wants to expand its Xbox brand with two new Xbox consoles, one would be the next-gen Xbox we’re awaiting to be announced, the other one would be a new redesign of the Xbox 360 as an Xbox 360 set-top box
You might think so what, the Xbox 360 gets another redesign? however here’s were things get a bit interesting.
The redesigned Xbox 360 model would be marketed as a Xbox 360 set-top box product, like the Apple TV, however with the ability to play Xbox 360 games from the hard drive. The redesigned Xbox 360 would not have a DVD drive so all content would have to be purchased from Xbox Live. This is where the always connected ideas could be coming from, as this would essentially be a Xbox 360 set-top box streaming device which is capable of playing download only version’s of retail Xbox 360 games, along with arcade games.
So is an Xbox 360 Set-top Box a good idea?
This would apparently retail for around the same price as the Apple TV with the advantage of a massive library of both arcade games and retail Xbox 360 games. This redesigned Xbox 360 set-top box will also be able to connect to the next generation Xbox console to provide backwards comparability with all current Xbox 360 games.
At a guess I believe this will use the DVD drive in the next Xbox console and the processing power of the mini redesigned Xbox 360 to do this.
The purpose of the Xbox 360 set-top box unit is to compete with Apple TV, but also provides XBLA and 360 game support which will give it an edge over Apple TV. As the device is connectible to the next Xbox it will have 100% backwards compatibility from day one, likely giving the console an edge over Sony’s offerings, which is rumoured not to be backwards compatible.
The rumours about a new Xbox 360 model actually match the ones from Paul Thurrott, who said Microsoft is also launching a 99$ Xbox 360 codenamed “Stingray” on November alongside the Next Xbox.
For now these are just rumours, however a quite interesting idea all the same if this turns out to be true. This would essentially recycle the existing Xbox 360 technology and extend its lifespan for years to come.