I’m going to start by warning all of our readers that the following is pure speculation, and the musing of a man who can’t get to sleep even though its 2AM and he is dreadfully tired.
Don’t take this article too seriously, it’s a bit more on the ‘fun/speculative’ side.
With that out of the way: I want to ponder a little bit on a what-if scenario that isn’t exactly impossible, but nor is it all that likely.
What if the next Xbox game format (Xbox 720?) worked both in Microsoft’s next Xbox hardware AND in select ‘gamer’ PCs?
I know that there are several barriers that make this difficult, first off, processor and hardware support. If Microsoft continues to use PowerPC there would likely be a MAJOR compatibility issue that would pretty much rule out this possibility.
What about the rumors that the next Xbox will run ARM? I’m not sure what to make of these rumors, I suppose if Microsoft is interested in creating a system that is very sleek and sexy, it could happen. We all know that ARM isn’t nearly as powerful as x86 (or even PowerPC for that matter), but I guess it depends on the configuration.
Imagine a dual processor ARM machine that features two quad-cores. This would certainly offer a stronger gaming experience than the 360, provided its video processor was up to snuff.
So in this scenario Microsoft releases Xbox consoles but also licenses the Xbox technology to select vendors that make ARM PCs (and laptops) that can run the next-gen Xbox’s games while also having full Windows for ARM compatibility.
For Microsoft I don’t see a major downside, since the money is in game sales and not in the hardware itself. By requiring vendors to pay a licensing fee to use “Xbox For Windows” Technology, they’d actually stand to profit more from this model.
Also by using proprietary drives in these PCs that can run Xbox games, they would still (hopefully) be able to keep piracy at bay. Still, this might be more of a problem I suppose.
Again, I’m not saying this would or even could happen. Really I’m just curious, would this be a good idea? Microsoft has shown interest in pushing Windows as a gaming platform (with things like Windows LIVE games, etc), so this would just be taking that a step further.
Additionally, it would also be great for ARM developers because they might not have x86 PCs games, but they would have Xbox games as a balancing factor. Of course this is provided you purchase a licensed Xbox/ARM PC.
I also would love to see ARM-based tablets that have a slim-line drive and work as fully portable tablet Xboxs… of course using a controller might be a little difficult for something like this and so either the tablet would have to have a built-in controller or Microsoft would have to allow touch-controls in Xbox 3 games (which is VERY unlikely).
So what do readers think out there? Any merit to the idea or do you think that it just is too impractical to work?
Maybe it would make sense instead, as PC processors improve, to just offer Xbox and Xbox 360 games as downloads from Microsoft?
Any other interesting ideas of how Microsoft could expand its Xbox brand into traditional PC gaming territory or do you think Microsoft should keep Xbox as a console-only thing and instead just continue its efforts to reinvigorate the PC game market?