Microsoft is reportedly preparing a new Xbox 360 model for 2012 that would operate Windows 8.
The new Xbox 360 model would launch in time for the holiday season of 2012 and will reportedly be designed with Windows 8 in mind. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes the new model is not a successor to the Xbox 360, like many recent reports suggest, but an upgraded model. ”Those rumors are silly,” said Pachter in an interview with IndustryGamers. “Microsoft is still selling a ton of Xbox 360s, and they won’t replace the existing one until sales begin to slow.” The current Xbox 360 console has been the top selling console in the U.S. for the whole of 2011. Despite a temporary slip in December (due to shortages), Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console has dominated the charts for 16 out of 17 months.
Microsoft has kept its Xbox brand, hardware and software fresh over the years. The company launched its controller-less console accessory for the Xbox 360 across the world last year. Kinect has sold millions of units and also broken a Guinness World Record. Guinness World Records officially named Kinect for Xbox 360 the fastest-selling consumer electronics device, which sold an average of 133,333 units per day for a total of eight million units in its first 60 days between November 4, 2010 and January 3, 2011.
Microsoft is expected to deliver an updated dashboard and Xbox 360 hardware to make the console compatible with Windows 8. “I think the rumors are based upon leaks about modifying the current Xbox 360 to allow it to operate Windows 8,” said Pachter. “I fully expect a new model of Xbox 360 by holiday 2012, but don’t think we see a new console altogether from Microsoft until 2014.” Several references to the Xbox 360 were discovered in early builds of the Windows 8 kernel. Microsoft revealed at BUILD that the company plans to include Xbox LIVE in Windows 8. The support will allow Xbox LIVE users to play against Windows 8 users in multiplayer games. Async multiplayer will allow Windows PCs, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 users to play against each other using multiplayer and matchmaking functionality.
The Xbox LIVE integration in Windows 8 is identical to Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 dashboard, due shortly. Microsoft started to push beta copies of the Xbox 360 fall dashboard update out to testers earlier this month. The December dashboard update will bring Microsoft’s Metro style interface to the Xbox. Microsoft is also preparing to include YouTube and Bing on the Xbox. Bing users will be able to use Kinect’s voice recognition feature to search for movies, music and other content on their consoles. The new dashboard will also enable Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone integration with Xbox, see a video demonstration here.
Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 fall dashboard update will be made available for existing consoles on December 6.