What's up Polynauts!
I've been thinking about this for a little while now. Xbox doesn't have an answer to the Vita, and now that PlayStation TV (known in Japan as Vita TV) has been announced for the west, Xbox has some things to think about. I'm not saying they need to compete with PlayStation on these fronts but it wouldn't hurt.
Hear me out: A micro console, similar to the Ouya, GameStick, Fire TV, and the PlayStation TV. The difference is you use the internals of a 360 (minus the disc drive of course) that runs the 360 OS and can stream to your Xbox One within your home. This would mean the box would be the biggest of the media box/micro console line, but for what you're getting it makes sense. With a free app you can stream your Xbox One to that TV and enjoy from a different room. The beauty of this is that you aren't running something like Vita OS (meant for a touch screen) or a proprietary OS that feels clunky and not user friendly, your using Xbox 360's OS. It will be familiar to most people. Even if they didn't own a 360 during it's generation they've probably had some sort of contact with it or are familiar enough with Xbox One's OS that will make it easy to catch on.
These benefits aren't just for the micro console. Since the console is basically a disc drive-less 360 that means a simple update or app release can turn any 360 into a streaming box. Leave your Xbox One in your entertainment center move your 360 to the bedroom. No need to go out and purchase the micro console if you already have a 360!
How about the controller? PlayStation has a bit of a controller problem when it come to the PSTV. It will support the DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 out of the box. It will play legacy games through PlayStaion Now, be able to stream your PS4, and support PS Vita games. The problem? Each controller is a bit different. The DualShock 4 has a small touch pad on the front and the Vita has two touch screens for certain games. This means the PSTV instantly becomes useless for some of the Vita's strongest titles, including Tearaway. Where the Xbox succeeds is it's minor upgrades. The 360 controller and One controller are essentially they same. The minute differences aren't game breaking. The new d-pad is much better, but doesn't kill legacy compatibility. The Start and Back buttons, while not named the same thing, are in the same location and can be used as such. The only thing that gets taken away are the trigger motors for rumble, which is an awesome feature, but not required for any game. This means that the 360 controller could be used to play any and all Xbox One games. The micro-console could also support the One controller just like the PSTV supports the DS3 and DS4.
The price should be around $99-$120 and include a wireless 360 controller and an HDMI cable. The Micro-console could support the 360 S sized hard drives so you could expand memory if you wanted to, but should come with a reasonable amount of memory built in. Maybe 64-128GB? Just enough for people to get a few titles and use it as a streaming box without needing the hard drive. This would make for strong competition (always a good thing) against the PSTV as they are selling the box standalone for $99. That means your only getting the box and power cable. No controller, no HDMI cable, and no memory (PS Vita proprietary memory card) included.
Microsoft is already onto something with streaming games over the cloud as a competitor to Sony's Gaikai purchase. They already got Halo 4 to stream across low end PC's and Windows Phones. I would love to eventually be able to do this with all of my games especially as a Windows Phone owner. The micro-console could bring them one step closer to this goal.
I sold my 360 about a year ago because I got a good deal on my entire haul and had beaten everything I wanted to. I don't regret selling it. Xbox 360 didn't have any exclusives coming out and I still had my PS3 for multi-platform games. What I do miss is the large number of downloadable titles I left behind. I would love to be able to have access to them again. This would be a way to get those titles back and enjoy my Xbox One from a different room.
As an owner of all the New Gen consoles and handhelds I am looking forward to what this generation brings. This post is meant to start a discussion, not a console debate. I love my PS4, I love my Xbox One, and I love my Wii U. I plan on buying a PSTV because I see huge potential in it for myself. I would love to be able to purchase an Xbox variation as well.
So what do you guys think? Please take a moment to answer the Poll and give me your thoughts below. And as usual, stay awesome Polynauts!