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Microsoft Planning Two Versions Of Xbox 720?

More Xbox 720 – or whatever you want to call it, rumours, are coming from a report on Gamesindustry.biz, who are reporting that Microsoft will go for two drastically different versions of its new console.

Apparently they will offer two types of console; one premium hardcore version and then a cheaper “pared down” version. The pared down version would be used more as a media set top box, and then Microsoft would have a full-bells and whistles hardcore version with optical drive, hard disk and backwards compatibility, which would be sold at a premium price point.

This strategy is nothing new, the current Xbox 360 is massive hit in the US for Netflix alone, with people buying it for its on-demand TV as much as its gaming credentials. This two tier approach could be Microsoft’s way of tackling the problem of whether to ditch physical media or not.

Rumours for both a new Xbox and Playstation have been rife recently, with PlayStation Europe CEO Jim Ryan stating that Sony would consider it “undesirable” to release their next console after the competition.

The new report also claims Kinect is likely to receive a significant upgrade with the next generation, and will more than likely be bundled with the console from launch.

A double-header strategy would certainly fit within Microsoft’s IPTV strategy which is seeing iPlayer and 4OD coming to the Xbox 360 UK dashboard update landing next month on December 6th.

There’s also talk of licensing Kinect to TV manufacturers, who are currently looking for something to take on TV’s from Google and Apple – potentially opening the door to a slimmed-down version of the Xbox, which could be included with TV’s with all the features of Xbox Live and its digital content.

This also might explain recent rumours of a project called Xbox loop said to be cheaper and smaller than the current console and based on an ARM processor.

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