Xbox TV set-top box to debut next year, will be a low-cost alternative to the Xbox console

According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft is shifting towards a devices and services company. On top of that, Microsoft believes that the Xbox platform is the heart of this shift. Now, a new report is suggesting that Microsoft will offer a low-cost alternative to the Xbox console and this new device will be a Xbox TV set-top box.

"We're told that the set-top box is part of a two-SKU strategy for Microsoft's next-generation of Xbox hardware that will be unveiled in 2013, with a release date ahead of the holiday shopping season," the report states. In essence, this set-top box will run core components of Windows 8 and support casual gaming rather than full Xbox games. Microsoft wants this device to be always on and provide instant access to TV and entertainment. The idea behind this is simple, Microsoft wants to introduce a low-cost alternative to its Xbox console. Just recently, we learned that Microsoft has made the Xbox platform the heart of its shift towards a devices and services company. "I said that over time, the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the roadmap in front of us brings this to life," Ballmer stated in a letter.