Microsoft Rumored to be Working on Xbox Mini

Microsoft's Xbox 360

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 | Wikipedia

It appears that Microsoft is thinking small and will try to muscle their next Xbox console in a set-top box TV. There were reports that the company is working on an Xbox Mini, which is expected to hit stores late next year.

Coming Soon: Microsoft’s Xbox Mini

Citing “multiple sources familiar with Redmond’s plan,” The Verge reported that Microsoft is working on a set-top version of its popular gaming console. Dubbed as Xbox Mini, the console is believed to compete against the leading players in the market such as Apple and Roku.

It was reported that the console would be an “always on” device, and its architecture would be a scaled-down version of the rumored next-generation Xbox. There were also speculations that Microsoft could combine core system for the next Xbox with a phone stack, so the Xbox Live could be played on a Windows Phone handset.

No prices were given for the Xbox Mini yet. Meanwhile, Apple’s set-top products are priced at $99 while Roku’s unit is offered for as low as $50. When asked about their future plans for their popular gaming console, Microsoft stated, “We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.”

Xbox Mini in the Horizon

It is believed that Microsoft will try to expand their beachhead in the living room with the purported Xbox Mini. The console will be offered as an economically-priced device that would enable users to access a couple of core entertainment services, as well as “casual” gaming titles. Moreover, it appears that the company is trying to do what it did with Windows 8: Span all platforms from desktops, laptops, phones and tablets.

On the other hand, the possibility of Xbox Mini also raised some questions. This includes the very loose classification of “casual” games. It is also more likely that the rumored gaming console will also cut into the turf of Xbox Live, which now offers entertainment services such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, and online gaming.

Thus, it also raises questions whether Microsoft will re-price Live—which is now priced at $60 per year—to retain its value proposition for its subscribers.

It is expected that the Xbox Mini will become available during the holiday season in 2013, and will stand on store shelves together with its next-generation big brother—the Xbox Next.

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