Xbox 2 To The Power Of Three In 2005?

Technology website The Inquirer reports that a presentation given by Microsoft to analysts and market researchers in the UK pointed to the existence of three different versions of the Xbox 2 will be released with two of them launching autumn 2005 and a third early 2006. The firm plans to launch versions with and without a hard drive in 2005, and then a fully functional PC / Xbox 2 combination in 2006.

Xbox 2 and Xbox 2 HD would largely be functionally identical, but the latter of the pair features a added hard drive and offers increased functionality as a result – which could be anything from Xbox backward compatibility (which the basic model could not offer due to the lack of a hard drive) to media jukebox functions or TIVO/Sky+ style video recording.

This news may sound surprising but Microsoft has recently told developers not to rely on the presence of a hard drive for their games, but has also curiously failed to rule out the possibility that a drive could be present in there next console when questioned on the matter.

The third version of the Xbox being touted by today’s reports, however, is a rather more unexpected beast – titled Xbox Next PC, it combines the Xbox 2 with an entry-level PC which would run a media-focused version of Windows, run standard PC software and games, and include a CD burner, wireless keyboard and mouse. This system would not launch until autumn 2006,

Although this news is in no way confirmed by Microsoft the site reporting it is a well respected source so there must be bases in fact for this news. I guess we will all have to wait for Bill Gates’ keynote speech at CES in early January to see what road Xbox2 is taking. The CES is where he’s expected to publicly unveil the console in case you did not know.