Why “Next Xbox” Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Next Gen”

[drop2]News this morning that the ‘next Xbox’ wouldn’t have a disk drive have brought up lots of discussion, but perhaps the full story isn’t quite as exciting and earth shattering as Twitter and every forum ever are making it out to be.

Whilst I don’t doubt that MCV have concrete sources here (and I’m not trying to take anything away from their major scoop) part of me thinks that the references to ‘next Xbox’ don’t necessarily mean a ‘next generation’ platform, and that behind the story lies something else.

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Perhaps, just perhaps, Microsoft will be bringing out a new version of the current machine, the 360, which will be smaller, thinner, lighter.  And not have a disk drive.

Instead, it’ll be marketed as some kind of ‘lite’ version.  It’ll be cheaper, come with a decent sized hard drive and, naturally, let you download everything off the Marketplace as before.  As as for retail games, well, they’ll all probably be there on the Games on Demand service by 2013.

It’s not that hard a stretch.  A new hardware announcement at E3 this year is almost certainly on the cards, but it might not be the all singing, all dancing super Xbox 720/Next thing that we are all hoping to see this Summer on those massive screens.

And if it is, then maybe it’ll launch alongside this Xbox Mini.

Thus, the news today is validated, and honestly, this is the most logical way forward I can think of for this – the UK at least is absolutely not geared up, mass market, for 10GB+ downloads.

Even Microsoft’s official comment on the rumours ties in.  “Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle,” it says. “We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.”

(emphasis author’s own)

“Beyond that we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

Either that, or whatever’s coming will be streamed, OnLive style, but I’m not buying that there’s much credence to that particular line of thought.

Happy, as ever, to be proved wrong of course.

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33 Comments

  1. This is quite possible actually, especially if it was priced near the Wii’s current price, it could easily attract ‘casual’ gamers that want a cheap console, but with the advantage of having way better graphics and services.

    • A Xbox without a DVD drive would be a bonus, no DVD’s for it to destroy.

      However a PS3 without a Blu-Ray drive? No Thanks, i use mine ALL the time…

  2. Win. I pretty much don’t play console games because of having to change discs!

    • You lazy bastard!

    • This^^ Steam has it’s advantages :)

    • Umm you have to change discs on PC as well, no difference

      • Maybe in the 90s.

      • lmao, when matey?? look i know Baldurs Gate is brilliant and everything but you should consider playing some modern games ;)

      • @Deathbrin.. Brilliant!!

      • Ahem.. I meant @TheDemocrodile.. TFIF!

  3. “the UK at least is absolutely not geared up, mass market, for 10GB+ downloads”, that’s the crux of it all there.

  4. I’m not really sure what the point would be or who it would be aimed at – it’s not like dvd drives, or even xbox 360s at this point are particularly expensive.

    You can pick up dvd drives for under a tenner at retail now so buying at trade prices in bulk would be a fairly small cost. For the small discount that would be introduced, I cant see such a thing appealing to, well, anyone.

  5. Sounds plausible, maybe Microsoft want a slice of the OnLive pie?
    It’s a fair point that parts of the UK have patchy broadband, here is fine, we have fibre and cable. Mate in next town along has 1meg adsl, good luck trying to run any sort of download service on that :(

  6. The cost of giving it a decent sized hdd would far out weigh the cost of a DVD drive, so can’t see how this would be cheaper, or what the point would be?

  7. I suppose that would be following the *cough* success *cough* of the PSPgo?

    • i reckon its probably Steam theyre thinking of, i doubt any MS execs can even say PSPGo without hysterical laughter :D

    • Sony have been caught unaware by digital demand, they assumed that people would buy a 4GB card for the Vita for game saves & the odd small digital title and that main games would be purchased via the boxed cards, almost everyone seems to have filled their included 8gb cards in the first couple of days & are scrabbling after 16, 32 & even enquiring as to whether 64GB cards are coming

      People weren’t ready in 2009, but it’s 2012 now and they’re lapping it up, by 2013 & beyond it will be a whole different ball game again.

      The world’s largest company doesn’t seem to have a problem selling products that only consume digital content

      Plus later info seems to indicate some kind of physical card format anyway

      • Your correct and it’ll well and good, I buy all my music and films via iTunes for years, but id still like to always have the box and disk when it comes to games. Nice to have on a shelf, easy to take to a mates house and always available to play (as long as its looked after). I still have a working MegaDrive and carts, if the next gen consoles are all DLC, this sort of collection would be lost forever… shame.

      • I dont get quite why it is but I think people (I include myself in this) view music, movies, and handheld games as a more disposable pleasure. Whereas a game that can clock in at around a 40hr playtime seem like something I want to keep for posterity – I still have my original boxed copy of FFVII for example and would loathe not have it.

      • what would be the point of some kind of solid state format though?
        it’d be more expensive than discs.
        drive speed are getting faster all the time so any speed advantage isn’t going to be that great by the time whatever this machine turns out to be comes out.
        and it’s not gonna be any more secure than any other cartridge format has been in the past.

  8. “continue to defy the lifecycle convention” oh goody, its not like the current console graphics started looking aged over a year ago, or like memory constraints are forcing devs to scale back their ideas to fit on ancient hardware…… morons.

    (im all for digi distro though ;) )

  9. Ah, so that’s what it is about!

    XBox 360 — OnLive Edition

    • Onlive would actually make a cracking addition to consoles i reckon, not as a replacement for boxed games but as a portal on the dashboard much like Netflix, etc are now.

      I was pretty sceptical about how well it would work until I tried it on my phone but it was a pretty flawless experience (apart from the controls which sucked).

      Whack it on an xbox/ps3/vita though and it would be fantastic

  10. Xbox 360 Go?
    If it’s cheap enough, I’ll buy it. Alan Wake is available to download, right?

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