A report has claimed that Microsoft is preparing a universal, cross-platform Xbox gaming platform similar in design to OnLive for launch in 2012.
If true it would dismiss the ongoing whispers that Microsoft could snap-up the fledgling OnLive service and integrate into its own operations.
ElectronicTheatre suggests that the new network will be designed to take the Xbox brand to a host of new platforms and free it from the shackles of the Xbox 360 console itself.
The idea is that games purchased on one platform could then easily be taken with the consumer to another via a dedicated streaming service.
Indeed, the Xbox brand itself will enjoy a significant, console-free presence in Windows 8 and already forms part of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 offering.
And while the next iteration of the Xbox is widely believed to be building toward a 2012 reveal, it is logical to conclude that a company such as Microsoft could see a transformation of service as a more important evolution that simply an upgrade to its tech.
With Xbox 360 in its sixth year, a significant – but perhaps restrained by historical standards – hardware upgrade would be relatively cheap, freeing up the financial resource needed to invest in the kind of online infrastructure a brand as big as Xbox would need to succeed in the cloud arena.