Yeah, this one's a rumour. A crazy rumour, right? Maybe not as crazy as you think, so bear with us. Here's what Quartermann says in the latest issue of EGM:

We'll tell you what's up with Microsoft: new hardware options. It may sound totally insane — trust us, we did a double-take the first time Qmann whispered it in our ears — but word has it that Microsoft may begin allowing third-party manufacturers to create Xbox 360 hardware. And we're not talking about peripherals, people; we mean hardware that runs 360 game discs created by someone other than Microsoft.

Nuts nuts, yes? Probably. But at least think about it. It's not like such a move would be without precedent. You could purchase Sega CD drives for PCs. Panasonic released the Q, a Japan-only GameCube that doubled as a DVD player. And we've heard whispers that Microsoft have also been exploring the idea of releasing 360-compatible disc drives for the PC. Not that any of that makes the prospect of seeing, say, a Samsung Xbox 360/Blu-Ray player any more likely (as the rumour seems to suggest), but hey, crazier things have happened.

Quartermann [Electronic Gaming Monthly]