New rumors have provided additional details regarding alleged functionality inMicrosoft’s next Xbox. An in-depth report from veteran tech blogger Paul Thurrott onWindows IT Pro elaborates on several topics Thurrott covered earlier this monthincluding the next Xbox’s pricing, release date, operating system and more.
According to Thurrott, previous rumors that there will be two versions of the next Xbox are no longer accurate. He notes that Microsoft “originally planned to offer both a ‘full’ version of the next Xbox (with video game playing capabilities) and a lower-end entertainment-oriented version, code-named ‘Yuma,’ that didn’t provide gaming capabilities.” However, “plans for Yuma are on hold, and no pure entertainment version of the next Xbox will appear in 2013 (or possibly ever).”
Thurrott notes that the rumored “always online” functionality of the next Xbox is correct. He notes that “the next Xbox must be Internet-connected to use. This is the source of the ‘always on’/’always online’ rumors and isn’t as Draconian as many seem to believe.”
Following up on his report earlier this month, Thurrott reiterated that “Microsoft will initially offer two pricing models for the console: a standalone version for $499 and a $299 version that requires a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment at an expected price of $10 per month.” He also reports that the system “will launch in early November 2013.”
In terms of backwards compatibility, he once again noted that he believes Microsoft will “also deliver a third-generation Xbox 360 console this year that will be significantly less expensive than the current models.” The system is codenamed “Stingray” and Thurrott says “it’s not clear whether this device is required because the next Xbox isn’t backward-compatible or because Microsoft simply wants a low-cost entertainment box alternative.” As a third possibility, he also notes that since the Xbox 360 is still selling well, Microsoft may simply want a low-cost option since the system has become significantly cheaper to manufacture compared to its launch in 2005.
Building on rumors that Windows 8 could power the next Xbox, Thurrott writes that the system is “based on the ‘Core’ (base) version of Windows 8. This suggests a common apps platform or at least one that is similar to that used by Windows 8.” He also believes that Microsoft “could open up this platform to enthusiast developers” and reports that the company “will discuss the next Xbox developer platform at the Build conference in San Francisco in late June.” The Build conference is also where Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows 8.1.
Thurrott also confirmed previous rumors that the next Xbox will include a Blu-Ray optical drive.
Thurrott added that the name of the console “is a big area of speculation” and that “while I’ve heard nothing official, I’d be surprised if Microsoft didn’t just called it Xbox.” The next Xbox is commonly referred to as Durango, though previous rumors also suggested it wascodenamed Loop or Kryptos and could be called Xbox 8. As for the console’s final name, we agree with Thurrott.