Microsoft Is Essentially Making A Casual Xbox

Hey, remember when Microsoft decided to cater to the hardest of the hardcore with their gaming console, and then discovered that all the money was in selling games to kids and their moms, like Nintendo had been doing for years?

Microsoft is doubling down on the strategy, at least according to rumors.

The Verge has the less-than-shocking report that a company looking to compete in the whole “selling media to people in their living rooms” market isn’t staking its entire strategy on a $400 console:

The device will run on the core components of Windows 8 and support casual gaming titles rather than full Xbox games typically found on a dedicated console. Although hardware specifications aren’t fully locked down, we understand Microsoft will use a chipset to enable an “always on” device that boots quickly and resumes to provide near-instant access to TV and entertainment services.

In other words, hook a Kinect up to this thing and it’ll basically be the Xbox for people who don’t buy Halo.

It’s actually a really good idea, especially since most home theater PCs do not need to be monsters, or even Magikarp, to handle Kinect games or to play back your Netflix queue.

It raises an interesting question, though: Where does Microsoft see the next Xbox, which is apparently coming in 2013? Nintendo rather infamously suffered the pain of being sneered at and scorned by hardcore gamers, a pain they struggled through with the fat stacks of cash they made off selling the Wii to everyone else. The Wii U is stepping away from that a little, but Nintendo TVii makes it fairly clear they’re still aiming for a broader market.

So, if Microsoft puts this out and it makes them a lot more money… they’re suddenly going to be in a very interesting position, financially speaking. Does it still make sense to manufacture a gaming console for the hardcore at a loss in this situation? We might find out.