Many questions remain unanswered since Microsoft announced the Xbox One last month. How exactly will used games work between consoles? Just how good will the console's next-generation games really be? And how much will the thing actually cost?
Pre-orders have already opened at Amazon Germany, with a price tag of €599 (around $785 / £508), but over in the UK, gamers have been able to place their pre-orders with Blockbuster with a deposit of just £20 ($31 / €23), with the company reporting huge interest from potential buyers. Some expect the price at launch to come in at around $399 (€304 / £258), but whatever the exact amount, it's likely to be a significant chunk of change.
One device to rule them all: gaming, entertainment... and Sky TV?
Prior to the Xbox One announcement, there had been speculation that Microsoft planned to announce a similar payment option to one currently offered with the Xbox 360, whereby the console's up-front price would be discounted if the user signed up to a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold subscription. According to one source, that plan has now been shelved, but a report via MCV suggests that Microsoft is still exploring options to offer the console to buyers at a discounted rate.
MCV cites unnamed "sources familiar with the situation", who claim that Microsoft is in talks with British Sky Broadcasting, the UK's largest commercial TV broadcaster, which offers satellite and IPTV services, as well as home phone and broadband connections. These discussions are reportedly aimed at securing a deal whereby Sky would sell the Xbox One to its customers with its TV and broadband subscriptions, with the device being made available to subscribers "at a hugely reduced cost".
Sky offers set-top boxes as part of its TV subscriptions - but will the Xbox One be offered as an add-on?
In addition to broadcasting hundreds of TV and radio channels to its customers, Sky is also one of the UK's largest content providers and creators, through its boutique of premium channels, including the Sky Movies and Sky Sports families, as well as Sky Atlantic, offering shows such as Game Of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. The company already offers an app on the Xbox 360 - built by Microsoft's Xbox team in the UK - which allows subscribers to view programming.
MCV doesn't offer many details in terms of exactly how the arrangement between Microsoft and Sky would work in practice, but it suggests that the deal may already have been done. Last month, Sky told Pocket-lint that it enjoys "a long track-record of innovating with Microsoft on the Xbox platform and will explore any future opportunities offered by Xbox One." Whether this will translate into the kind of deal predicted here remains to be seen - just one more of many unknowns surrounding Microsoft's new console.
Source: MCV | Images via Microsoft / Sky
Update: A spokesperson for BSkyB got in touch with The Next Web to deny the claims made in MCV's report. The statement to TNW reads:
We have no plans to sell Xbox hardware as part of a Sky subscription. We have a longstanding partnership with Microsoft by which we distribute our content via Sky Go and NOW TV on Xbox. We look forward to continuing to work with them as part of our commitment to giving our customers more ways to watch Sky programming in addition to their Sky+ HD box."