It’s pretty clear at this point that Microsoft is cooking up a new console for next years holiday quarter, and a lot of the details of the main unit have been leaked already. The “Durango” devkit we’ve been hearing about is presumably fairly close to what the hardware in the Xbox 720 is going to look like, and it’s pretty beefy. It now looks like that might not be the only next-gen Xbox hardware they’re working on, though.
The Verge has a report today that indicates Microsoft might also be working on a “Lite” version of the next-gen Xbox, which is to be used as a set-top box in a similar manner to Apple TV. It will apparently offer all of the Xbox service’s media feature, such as their recently-expanded music and video content. It likely won’t play the proper triple-A titles that the full console will, but will instead offer a selection of more casual games. It’s possible that this means it will have access to whatever the next-gen equivalent of Xbox Live Arcade is.
This set-top box, along with the full-fledged next-gen Xbox, are expected to arrive sometime in the latter half of 2013. Of course, Microsoft is remaining tight-lipped about the whole thing; when reached for comments, they replied with a simple boilerplate response that reads:
“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.”