Next-Gen Xbox May Split in Two

The latest rumors on Microsoft’s follow-up to the Xbox 360 suggest there will be two separate consoles. One will be aimed at hardcore gamers, with the other for a more casual audience.

According to the reports, the differences will go beyond the current variations in disk size. The cheaper version of the new console will be more akin to a set-top box. It will likely still support Kinect, and the games are likely to be download only, aimed at casual gamers. The goal would be to get some non-gaming content on board such as support for Netflix.

Meanwhile the more expensive version would be closer to the current design, containing both a disc drive and a hard drive. Unlike the cheaper version it would be backwards compatible with 360 games. There’s some talk it could feature two separate graphics chips, which could allow developer to create more realistic imagery in terms of shading and reflected light.

As might be expected, there’s a huge variation in the rumors about the console. For example, the names XBox Loop and Nextbox are both being bandied about, the former for the cheaper version. It’s also reported that the console or consoles could be on sale in time for Christmas 2012, with the first public demo at January’s Consumer Electronics Show.

However, there are also reports Microsoft is planning to use 28nm chips, which have only recently gone into mass production, raising some questions about the timescale. It’s been suggested the 2012 reports may be the result of confusion over Microsoft supposedly planning to include elements of Windows 8 in the console, which doesn’t necessarily mean it will show up any time soon.

Other indicators do suggest an advanced timetable though: it’s reported that major developers including Ubisoft have already received PC software that allows them to test games using what’s effectively an emulator of the new system, while a full-on prototype of the console is expected to be with them by Christmas.

15 Responses to Next-Gen Xbox May Split in Two

    • “who writes this crap”

      If you don’t have the patience to google the difference between a disk drive and a hard drive then perhaps you shouldn’t be posting.
      A disk drive generally refers to an optical media drive like a cd or dvd drive. A hard drive is generally a large capacity magnetic or solid state storage unit.

      • Well, if we're splitting hairs, an optical drive is actually a disc drive. And spinning magnetic media drive (hard drive) is a disk drive.

        Just sayin'….


  1. Ford- Learn your tech before you troll. Gregg is probably right; in this sense, the 360 has both a hard drive and a disc drive. (Notice the different spelling. "Disk" in this sense is either a typo or a flat-out misnomer.)

  2. So Microsoft now splits the Xbox like it splits operating systems, so we can look forward to:

    XboX Starter
    XboX Home
    XboX Professional
    XboX Ultimate

    Then there will be XboX 3rd World version that will be sold to developing nations at 1/10 the cost of the same product here in America….

    I think splitting the platform is a bad idea, simplicity is the key here…

  3. I'm still of the opinion that the next Xbox will essentially be "simple" computer, meant just to handle games snf other media (while conecting to a TV, and still using a controller interface, over a mouse and keyboard) – and Windows 8 will include an Xbox emulator.

  4. I believe that the split has already happened. Last January, I purchased a new Xbox 360 arcade and found out the hard way. Since it has with a 4 gig memory that isn't a hard drive, you just can't play Halo:Reach in Coop mode on it. You NEED a hard drive to do so. Weirdly, it is not stated on the box, nor on the game. The issue is well documented online, even on the Xbox website. I had to argue with the reseller to be able to return the console and purchase a 250 gig unit. Look it up, and you'll find that Halo isn't the only game that doesn't run fully on the Arcade version.

  5. The PC isn't dead for gaming…'s just been squeezed into Microsoft branded SFF cases for people who can't be bothered to upgrade or build their own…lol

  6. I think we have some time before the next gen 360 bits the market. I say this because Microsoft is NOT going to want to take the chances that Nintendos’ new Wii Unit will crush it as Nintendo64 has already confirmed that it will be more powerfully than both the ps3 and 360. Now also look at the comment of alleged chips – chips that just hit mass production means major expense passed down to consumers. While obvoosly some people wont balk at a $400Leah price when you get closer to a grand people are going to balk.

  7. The problem with speccing in game console world is when multiplatform games are created they work to the least technically advanced system and bring out that version on all platforms. Really, Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo should look at making it easier for game designers, as the Majority of games are multiplatform.

    Only problem I can foresee is games will be made with the less advanced system as a baseline, and the advanced systems will gain no benifit.

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