Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console will run on a modified version of Windows 8, according to a preliminary report from veteran tech blogger Paul Thurrott – the reporter who originally (and accurately) claimed that Microsoft was planning to reveal the new Xbox on May 21.
Thurrott teased some new details about the upcoming device in the latest episode of his "What The Tech?!" podcast this week including the claim about its Windows 8 functionality. It's not entirely clear what this Windows 8 support will mean in the long run for the new console, but Thurrott said that at the very least it means that Microsoft has been building the new Xbox (which he still said will simply be named "Xbox") with Windows 8 apps in mind.
Given the fact that Microsoft just introduced an app that lets you order Pizza Hut straight from your Xbox 360 this week, powering the Xbox with some form of Windows 8 would most likely lead to greater integration within the operating system's general ecosystem in a manner similar to the Microsoft Surface tablet.
Thurrott also said that the machine will be available at two price points — $ 499 and $299, with the cheaper version requiring a two-year subscription to the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) service for an additional $10 a month. He reiterated his earlier suspicions that the console will not be backwards compatible, but will accept Blu-ray discs this time around. And he maintained that the new console will have an always-online requirement, though he insisted that it "isn’t as draconian as many seem to believe."
Thurrott did abandon some other rumors, however. He said that Microsoft put plans for a disc-less version of the console "on hold," suggesting that the company instead will release a new version of the current-generation Xbox 360 that will be "significantly" cheaper than existing models.
Earlier this week, Microsoft said that it is planning to unveil the next Xbox at a special event held on its Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA, on May 21. Thurrott said that the company is planning to unveil more details about the device and its starting line-up of games and related software "on the eve" of E3 in June.