VGleaks have posted some details regarding a new Xbox mini that aims to go head to head with Apple TV. It’s a standalone device that has the option to play Xbox 360 games via digital download and most likely will only operated using an Always Online connection as standard. However, there’s more as this device can also be hooked up with the new Xbox codenamed Durango enabling backwards compatibility amongst other things. So, the big news here is that it looks like Microsoft will be releasing two new consoles in the coming 8 months.
The “Xbox Mini” is not a 360 add-on, it is a stand alone product that contains Xbox 360 functions for gaming, and alone it is meant to compete with Apple TV. Since it is likely it will not have a disc drive, it is being designed with “always online” in mind, and with internet being required for Live functions. Xbox 360 Games can be played on it by purchasing Games on Demand on Xbox Live (for new purchases) or if already purchased, simply download it. This also applies to music and movies. To further clarify, the Durango will also have these (TV) functions, just with next-genration gaming hardware instead of Xbox 360 at a higher price.
When used with Durango, it offers connectivity with it for backwards compatibility with both disc based and On Demand games, and it’s no more different than what Sony will be doing with Gaikai for playing PS3 games on PS4, only with Xbox it will be done locally and not through the cloud. You can control the Xbox Mini under a single interface and not have to worry about switching between devices in a single display input.
These connectivity functions cannot work with existing Xbox 360 units due to the difference in external interface. The Xbox Mini was designed for this along side Durango.
More interestingly and putting earlier rumors to rest, VGleaks also states that Durango will also use an Always Online model, but this won’t interfere with gamers wishing to play games offline.
Durango itself will also always be online like any other device (correct with rumors), but it will not be a requirement to play local content and it will not prevent playing used games. Putting in an Xbox 360 disc into Durango will prompt the user to attach the supporting device that is sold separately. By separating the two devices and their functions it will ensure price competitiveness for both pieces of hardware. Microsoft’s delay in announcing these products from April goes more inline with not having a physical set of devices to show (among specification updates), which should be ready by May or June when this information is officially released.
The price goal of the smaller Xbox is $149 or lower and it is likely to not have a disc drive and would require a network connection. Durango will be priced competitively according to PS4′s price.