According to a report on The Inquirer
Microsoft is planning to release three different version of the next iteration of Xbox console, catering for three different markets.
This site claims to have seen a slide taken from an analyst meeting held in the UK this year which details three hardware options.
Specifically, Xbox Next, Xbox Next HD and Xbox Next PC are all mentioned, slated for release in the autumn of 2006.
In the words of the Inquirer, “The standard Xbox Next will not include a hard drive, which will allow Microsoft to cut costs on this basic unit. Xbox Next HD, as you might imagine, does include a hard drive and will offer increased functionality based on this. Xbox Next PC is, according to the presentation, an entry-level PC that runs Windows and all standard PC software. It also includes CD Burner, Wireless keyboard, mouse and controller and will work best connected to a high-definition TV or PC monitor. Media Center functionality - like movies, music and photos - is also included. The device will also play most available PC games. System outline specifications note that internet browsing and instant messaging would be key applications, and that the entire unit will be smaller than the current Xbox, although it will not be possible to upgrade the shipping memory or processor.”
This rumour remains unconfirmed by Microsoft, as you may imagine, with the firm sticking to its policy of not commenting on anything that isn’t officially announced by its press office; though SPOnG believes it to be unlikely. The plan outlined above talks of splitting the Xbox user-base into two distinct sections – those who have access to hard drive storage and those who don’t. This would necessitate a multi-layered development process for all games for the new system, seeing increased development costs in the next generation that current estimates already place at 50% more expensive than current platform development.
And surely any shared-component PC iteration may as well come branded with the Jolly Roger on the side of the case…
We’ll bring you updates as and when.