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 “isn’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.