When Microsoft General Marketing Manager suggested his company might start employing the subsidized subscription model for the forthcoming Xbox 720 — rumored to be called simply ‘Xbox’ — questions arose over just who Microsoft’s target audience is for their next console. However, a new Xbox 720 rumor suggest the idea of targeting multiple audiences is very much a part of Microsoft’s game plan.

In fact, there are even some claims that there will be two versions of the Xbox 720 developed, one geared towards the hardcore gamer, and one geared towards the casual electronics consumer (note the use of consumer and not gamer).

The scoop comes to us from IGN who claim that the console gamers expect to be unveiled at E3 2013 is indeed coming, but it will be one of two SKUs unveiled. The other streamlined device will not be capable of playing the hottest triple-A titles developed for the next-gen, but will instead be based on Microsoft’s Windows 8 architecture, and will be intended primarily  for entertainment app usage.

The site does proclaim that playing downloadable titles (games that require less graphical horsepower) will be possible on this “other” Xbox, but its primary function will be for services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HD movie rentals.

A complimentary report from The Verge confirms Microsoft’s approach to the next-gen, and additionally claims that the new software Microsoft is creating for this console would be scalable to the point it could be included on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Moreover, there’s the possibility the software could be licensed out to TV manufacturers for incorporation into their set-tops — all but eliminating the need for a console.

While, for the moment, this should be treated as an extreme rumor, it does make sense that Microsoft would find ways to cater to not just gamers, but entertainment users, with their upcoming console. If they can streamline the tech contained in this Windows 8 Xbox then the company might be able to offer it at an affordable launch price, or with a palatable pricing plan.

And, as the report notes, this should not in any way impact the development of the next-gen Xbox — the one that will be capable of delivering high-end graphics, possibly support Kinect 2.0, and may or may not feature an “innovative” new controller.

What do you think about this two console approach for the next Xbox? Do you feel like Microsoft is splitting their attention between two devices?

Source: IGN, The Verge