The next gaming-focused hardware from Microsoft may be an "Xbox TV" device. Multiple sources reportedly familiar with Microsoft's plans have told The Verge that the company is currently developing an Xbox-branded set-top box for release in 2013.
The device is reportedly part of Microsoft's two-SKU plan for its next-generation Xbox hardware and is being billed as a "low-cost" alternative to the long-rumored Xbox 720. The Xbox TV device will supposedly run on a modified version of Windows 8 and support casual titles instead of "full" Xbox games.
According to the sources, hardware specifications have not yet been finalized, though it appears that the Xbox set-top box will feature a chipset that enables the device to be "always-on." The device will reportedly boot up "quickly" in an effort to offer "near-instant access" to TV and other entertainment channels.
Lastly, the Xbox set-top box is reportedly just one part of Microsoft wider effort to make sure the systems and services for its next-generation Xbox are capable enough to run on a range of devices. Microsoft is also believed to be working on a proprietary smartphone and Xbox-branded tablet.
A Microsoft representative provided GameSpot the following comment:
"Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships," reads a line from the statement. "We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention."