According to the Verge, Microsoft may be brewing a new streaming device under the Xbox brand name to compete with the Apple TV. This device would not replace the current Xbox, but it would be used solely for streaming videos, music and other web content with light gaming capabilities. The device will reportedly be cheaper than its older brother and is set to be released around the 2013 holiday season. Like the Apple TV and its competitors, Microsoft’s streaming device will be an “always on” device, meaning that users can pick up a remote and start streaming videos instantly. Finally, Microsoft’s Xbox streaming device would likely feature the same core components as Windows 8.
The Verge has heard these specs from multiple sources who are familiar with Microsoft’s future plans. When the Verge reached out to Microsoft on the issue, they responded with the following statement:
“Xbox 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.”
While I understand that Microsoft wants a larger presence in the living room, I think an Xbox branded media streaming device would cause too much confusion in the marketplace. Xbox is almost always associated with gaming, not movies and other streaming content. I think that Microsoft should work on bringing the cost down on the standard Xbox while working to provide an even better media streaming experience with the standard Xbox. This would give users the best of both worlds.
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