Rumours currently doing the rounds detail a Microsoft designed TV set-top box for Xbox. This development has gained traction following another rumour describing a next-gen Xbox set for release in 2013.
This new device, dubbed “Xbox TV”, appears to be a natural extension of Microsoft’s gaming product lineup, given the push the company has made in media integration. It would also offer Microsoft a strong competitor in the media streaming market to challenge the Apple TV, Roku Box and Wii U.
Microsoft is supposedly hinging the design of a set-top box based on the success of the Xbox’s media streaming ability, hoping users will opt for a device intended for viewing content as opposed to hardcore gaming. The set-top box is also rumoured to draw inspiration from Windows 8 design elements. This makes sense given the touch-centric OS has been optimised to function on multiple devices.
The recent enhancements that Microsoft has made to its Xbox entertainment bouquet is another reason for motivation. Having redesigned Xbox Music and Video, the company has placed a heavy emphasis on creating a cross-platform service for its users.
When pressed for comment, Microsoft responded with the following:
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.
This response, although non-specific, does point to Microsoft’s desire to expand the Xbox to different media formats. One such application may see the set-top box TV offering a strong platform for future Xbox branded smartphones.
We can definitely see the motivation behind a media specific Xbox product, but it will all depend on price point. The distilled gaming experience of the next-gen Xbox, supposedly priced at US$300±, may push consumers to opt for the cheaper set-top box instead.