Rumour: Next Xbox Requires Set-Top Device for Backwards Compatibility
Posted by Ken Barnes
But the set-top device is a standalone machine, too!
According to an apparently leaked document, the next-generation Xbox WILL be backwards compatible, but only if you purchase a second device. The second machine - we'll call it "Xbox Mini" for clarity - will also work as a standalone set-top-style device, providing Xbox Live Arcade games, movies, and TV content. It will not contain an optical drive of its own.
But this is where things get interesting.
As the rumour would have it, if you put an Xbox 360 disc into your next-generation Xbox, you'll be prompted to connect your Xbox Mini in order to play it. Remember the ill-fated Xbox 360 HD-DVD Drive? Yeah, just like that. The requirement here is that the Xbox Mini is essentially an Xbox 360 without the bells and whistles, so your shiny next-gen Xbox sends all the on-disc data and controller inputs directly through to the Mini for processing. The result? Bioshock Infinite (sort of) on your Xbox 720.
The Xbox Mini will apparently require an always-on internet connection in order to use entertainment services.
Now, there is apparently some foundation to this rumour, provided by the fact that Microsoft recently announced plans to sell their Mediaroom IPTV arm to Ericsson. Mediaroom IPTV is used in more than 20 million set-top boxes around the globe, so selling off the company distances the Redmond giant from any potential conflicts if they're to move to produce their OWN set-top box - the Xbox Mini. The leaks suggest that the Xbox Mini would not debut alongside the next-generation console, instead arriving early in 2014.
As we say, this is all hyperbole at this juncture, and you'd do well to keep your eyes on Pure Xbox as we sort the facts from the fiction over the next few months or so.