Microsoft's Xbox 720 will interact with your cable box

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Microsoft has spared little effort in transforming its flagship Xbox 360 into a versatile entertainment hub, making the system much more than a gaming console.

If you think about it, many people spend as much time streaming video and listening to music on their Xbox 360 as they do playing games. The next generation Xbox, currently referred to as the Xbox 720, is likely to take this concept even further.

Indeed, The Verge is reporting that Redmond will be unveiling a new Xbox (720) feature, allowing the console to take over a TV and cable set-top box, much like Google TV. The publication also confirms the next-generation Xbox will require an always-on Internet connection, at least for entertainment services.

With a persistent Internet connection, the next-gen Xbox will be able to stream content and more by taking the cable box signal and passing it through the console via HDMI. This will allow the Xbox to overlay the user interface and features on top of the existing TV channel. As noted above, Google TV did much the same thing, making it easy to search for programs across multiple media sources at one time.

Interestingly, Microsoft has also apparently extended support plans for various cable services that will be rolled out gradually, with basic functionality embedded in the console from launch. In terms of launch titles, Redmond is reportedly considering including a new version of Forza with "super lifelike graphics."

Another game tipped to be launching alongside the new console is Crytek's Ryse, which we first heard about back in 2011 at E3. Ryse - set in the Roman Empire - will use Kinect integration to allow players to slash and kick enemies. Another launch title tipped, but not named, is said to be a zombie game, along with a family game that will likely boast Pixar-style graphics.