Even if PC sales continue tanking, Windows 8 could get a significant boost in adoption later this year just from eager gamers picking up the next-generation Xbox. Paul Thurrott of WindowsITPro reports that the next-generation Xbox will release in early November and will run on the “core” version of Windows 8 that “suggests a common apps platform or at least one that is similar to that used by Windows 8.” Thurrott speculates that Microsoft could use the common app development platform as a way to “open up this platform to enthusiast developers” and encourage more development of native Xbox apps.
As far as pricing goes, Thurrott says that the Xbox will cost $299 up front if users sign a two-year service agreement for an Xbox LIVE Gold membership that will cost $10 per month. If users don’t want to pay for a Gold membership, they can buy the standalone Xbox for $499. Thurrott also says that the next Xbox will require a connection to the Internet to use, although he cautions that this feature “isnâ€™t as Draconian as many seem to believe.” And finally, Thurrott says that Microsoft has for now ditched the idea of releasing an entertainment-only Xbox that would function more like a television set-top box and wouldn’t have any gaming capabilities.