Robbie Bach, currently the chief Xbox executive at Microsoft, has spoken generally to technology magazine Business Week on his new role on Microsoft's Consumer Leadership Team, and in the process, dropped a few hints as to what non-gameplay features the Xbox 2 might carry.
Citing the alleged success of the Xbox Media Center Extender, a device that allows networked Xboxes to play video or music stored on a PC through the TV connected to the game console, Bach suggested that the next Xbox will have more robust media capabilities.
Bach specifically mentioned concepts of sharing personal media, such as digital photos or digital video: "Certainly, there's the idea that you're going to want to share what I'll call, for lack of a better phrase, your digital memories, whether that's digital photos or digital video. People are going to want to find cool ways to share those types of things." Such features would take advantage of the same type of trend Apple recently introduced into its iPod Photo.
Other possible features mentioned were "sharing broadcast video" in some unspecified form, music playback, and communications, "whether that's chat, messaging, blogging, telephony." Whatever ends up in the final console, Bach expressed confidence that it would be software, both games and in the UI, that would win the console race, rather than hardware.