The next Xbox could share a common operating system with PCs and mobile phones, according to a new report.
A source told This Is Next that Microsoft intends to create a single OS for its PC, phone and console businesses within the next four years. The timeframe is in line with Windows 8's expected three-year lifecycle, and suggests that the new Xbox will launch around 2015.
The console will support the successor to Windows 8, which will apparently be rebranded with a new name that better reflects Microsoft's vision of the future.
The report was corroborated in part by comments made by Windows Phone president Andy Lees at the Microsoft Partner Conference on Tuesday.
Lees explained that we are at an "inflection point" in Moore's Law, where all of the key components of a PC can be placed onto a single chip. This has caused a proliferation of different devices with the same fundamental capability.
"The key important thing here, though, is the change that's yet to happen, but it's about to happen - the bringing together of these devices into a unified ecosystem," he said.
"Because if it's possible for the core of the device itself to be common across phones, PCs and TVs - and even other things because the price drops dramatically - then it will be a single ecosystem."
Lees presented two graphs showing sales of relevant devices in 2010, and the same devices' projected sales in 2012. The graph included PCs, mobile phones, and, tellingly, a games console.
"Windows has always spanned different PC form factors, and with Windows 8 we're going to take this to a whole new level, including tablets... We are aiming to provide coherence and consistency across the PC, the phone, and the TV, particularly with Xbox."