Microsoft's Xbox 360 built its reputation on the back of being the first console to offer a worthwhile online gaming experience, but a rumor suggests that a new variant of the device could cater to the casual crowd sometime next year. Similar to the Apple TV, the "Xbox TV" console would focus on streaming media and casual titles like Fruit Ninja rather than hardcore frag fests like Call of Duty.
The Verge reports that the Xbox TV will be part of a dual-SKU strategy Microsoft hopes to implement for its next console: a full-priced powerhouse capable of catering to dedicated gamers alongside a lower-powered, low-cost version designed for people who want to focus more on watching Netflix or listening to Last.fm. The Xbox TV will reportedly provide near-instant boot and wake times.
Creating a budget-priced Xbox offering would make sense for Microsoft. Many people use the console more as a streaming media hub for the living room than a traditional gaming console, and back in March, the company announced that Xbox 360 owners spend more time streaming music and movies than playing proper games.
Microsoft may integrate the core guts of the next-gen Xbox console into a smartphone or Smart TVs, The Verge goes on to say, which would allow those gadgets to tap into the proper Xbox Live services, presumably including the new Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps. The company is also rumored to be hard at work at creating a 7-inch "Xbox Surface" gaming tablet.