Now that the Xbox 360 is essentially a virtual cable box, many are asking what's next?
That question may be answered thanks to a recent approval from the US Patent & Trademark Office. The agency has granted Microsoft a patent for DVR-like functionality on a gaming console.
The patent, which was originally filed in 2007, includes the following description:
"A digital video recorder (DVR) application running alongside a television client component allows users to record media content on the gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games. Alternatively, users can record content when the gaming console is turned off. The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. When in the recording state, users can also switch between various other media modes, whether gaming, television, and so on."
That seems pretty self-explanatory. Basically, not only would users be able to record the same TV content they can watch now, but they'd also be able to capture all their spectacular gaming moments. You'd no longer have to just tell people about the time you got that perfect kill in Mortal Kombat; you'd be able to show them.
What's even more interesting is the ability to record from other forms of media - like music or DVDs - making it more powerful than any other recording device on the market.
This kind of advanced functionality would most likely not be implemented on the existing Xbox 360 so most likely it will be a feature on the next console, whatever that might be called. It certainly fits in with Microsoft's push to make the Xbox 360 the only device any TV needs.