Microsoft Xbox 720 may have a sidekick that runs 360 games

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Yes, we've got still more Durango (aka Xbox 720) rumors today. I'm a little conflicted because today's rumor comes from VGLeaks with no info whatsoever about the source, which makes it hard to take seriously. Normally I wouldn't bother sharing it, but I'm making an exception because I find it rather interesting.

First of all, VGLeaks says forget about all this fuss having to do with the Durango requiring an online connection. They say Durango will play local content without an Internet connection just fine. That makes sense to me.

They say Durango will not have backwards compatibility build in. That makes sense to me as well.

But the big reveal is that Microsoft will launch a second console at the same time, an Xbox Mini (not an official title). This device will require an Internet connection since it doesn't support physical media. It'll play Xbox 360 titles from Games on Demand, and Xbox Live Arcade titles too. But its main focus is going to be on streaming entertainment and it is intended as a device to compete with Apple TV. It'll launch at $149.

I haven't heard this rumor before but it's what intrigues me.

But, you say, I have a huge stack of Xbox 360 games on disk that I haven't finished with! Will I have to repurchase them? Apparently not, but here's where VGLeaks gets a little vague. The Xbox Mini will "work with" Durango in some way. VGLeaks compares it to the Playstation 4's streaming solution to backwards compatibility, only in the Xbox's case it will all be done on your local network. They could be right, but it seems to me it'd be more reliable and less complex if the Xbox Mini and Durango were just connected by a cable in such a way that the Mini could use Durango as an external DVD drive. I envision the Xbox Mini socket being right next to the Kinect socket on the Durango.

Either way, the goal is going to have to be a pair of devices that use only one HDMI port on your home theater, and which can be controlled with a single controller. But of course each device has to work on its own as well.

Again, this is a totally unsubstantiated rumor from a site that doesn't even mention a source, but I love the idea they're pitching here. For newcomers to the gaming fold, Microsoft winds up with a great entry-level streaming device/gaming machine (the Xbox Mini) to get started with. Long-time gamers can grab Durango and then choose for themselves whether or not backwards compatibility is worth $150 to them. (And I bet retailers will offer some kind of trade-in deal for your old Xbox to help offset that cost.)

So that's what VGLeaks is saying now. Oh, one last minor detail. They say the reveal event was pushed back from April to May because Microsoft didn't have a physical console to show. Maybe they saw the ridicule Sony took from some corners of the Internet after they introduced the PS4 without actually having a PS4 to show to us. Or maybe they just wanted to offer a physical demonstration of how Durango and Xbox Mini work together.

I'm getting anxious for the reveal though. With so many rumors floating around, some of them are bound to be correct. I can't wait to see who got it right and who got it wrong.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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