Microsoft’s Xbox 720 may lack backwards compatibility as the company moves the console to the x86 platform, prompting the company to come up with a creative solution for buyers who may own an extensive back catalogue of games.
Many have speculated as to what’s powering the next Xbox console, tentatively titled by the media as the “720.” Sony’s Playstation 4 was the first to reveal it’s hardware specifications and the move to the x86 platform means that there is no chance of backwards compatibility.
Instead, Sony will be using the Gakai game streaming service, which it acquired last year, to stream the old classics you bought on the PSN and to handle your PS3 games as well. But if the Xbox 720 follows suit and moves back to the x86 platform, where does that leave fans who desire backwards compatibility?
The answer may lie in a some leaks posted around the net that report that Microsoft may be planning a small Xbox 360, called the Mini. It won’t have a DVD drive but it will feature support for all the titles currently available on Xbox Live, including indie games and AAA titles you’ve bought with your MS points.
According to VG Leaks, the Mini will be able to connect up to the Xbox 720 and use it’s optical drive to read Xbox 360 discs, streaming the information to the Mini over a wired connection and using the Mini’s hardware to render the game. This is similar to the original Xbox, which had a separately available DVD-ROM to read DVD movies.
VG Leaks further mentions that their sources claim the Mini will be sold at $149 and will be competing with the Apple TV, offering gaming capability to make the console more enticing, along with Microsoft’s own video and movie rental service. The console part also means that Microsoft hopes to steal market share from the recently-previewed OUYA Android-powered mini-console.