Take this with a grain of salt, but a number of sites are reporting today that the next version of Microsoft's desktop operating system, Windows 8, will let users play Xbox 360 discs on their PCs.

There isn't much information available at this point, and naturally many will be wondering why Microsoft would potentially cannibalize sales of its own console. But with Windows 8 still about a year away, and the company's next-gen console announcement expected in some form at E3 2012, the pieces could fall into place for a smart succession plan of Microsoft's gaming platform.

For one thing, the move would drastically increase the installed user base for the platform, allowing Microsoft to continue riding this console generation and profiting from game sales as it shifts focus to the next hardware update.

The next Xbox may or may not feature backwards compatibility. If Microsoft is developing some sort of emulator for Windows, I don't see a reason why the same functionality wouldn't make it to the 360's successor, but even if it doesn't Microsoft would be covering its back through this PC initiative by protecting people's investment in Xbox 360 games.

Microsoft has previously said it will relaunch PC gaming with Windows 8. The wealth of games that would come through this Xbox 360 integration could be a strong selling point for its next operating system, though hardcore gamers will certainly expect more than just being able to play console games with a mouse and keyboard.

According to the rumor, Xbox 360 on PC will require an Xbox Live Gold-like subscription service, but online gameplay will specifically prohibit cross-platform matchups to keep the playing field leveled. Take it for what it is: a rumor. But with that said, would you be interested in seeing Xbox 360 functionality on PCs with Windows 8?