Multiple sources confirmed to The Verge last week that Microsoft is building a less expensive alternative to its Xbox console: an Xbox set-top box (STB).
According to the article, "the move will allow Microsoft to further increase its presence in the living room," offering customers a choice between the next-generation console and the STB. The new hardware is set to be released in 2013.
The Microsoft Xbox STB will feature a chipset that allows it to start up quickly and offer "near-instant access to TV and entertainment services." This will also allow the device to run casual games rather than the more detailed versions supported by the dedicated Xbox console.
This may not be the last Xbox expansion Microsoft is planning. Alleged plans for a Microsoft Xbox 7-inch tablet were leaked in June and were confirmed in November, when several sources confirmed in a separate story to The Verge that the company was working on an Xbox tablet geared specifically toward gaming.
These announcements come at a strategic time for Microsoft, which has struggled with a lack of enthusiasm for its Microsoft 8 platform. Tempting consumers with a low-cost Xbox STB that still offers easy access to gaming may help the company attract interest in its newest deployment efforts.
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