The Xbox gaming console has certainly evolved over the years, and Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi has revealed that the system is only in its beginning stages.

Having recently joined the team, I have the benefit of a fresh perspective, Mehdi writes in a post in the company's official blog. And one of the things that struck me is the amount of opportunities we have ahead.

The iconic gaming console has shifted from an outlet for video game consumption to a multi-purpose entertainment device. This seems to be the direction Microsoft intends to pursue, Mehdi emphasizes.

In the last year, the Xbox has transcended from a gaming console to a broad entertainment device inclusive of movies, TV, music and sports, he writes.

The Microsoft team member shared an anecdote of a rainy day spent with his family to further illustrate his point. 

My son sprinted toward the Xbox 360, he said, describing how his son chose a movie to watch. He didn't first turn on the TV or go to our relatively hefty collection of DVDs. For him, the Xbox is now the gateway to what he wants to watch.

Xbox Live subscribers now spend an average of 84 hours per month on the console. While gamers tend to be persistent when it comes to their virtual goals of conquering quests and battling enemies, much of this success can be attributed its use as a multi-media system.

Microsoft has sold 67 million consoles since the Xbox 360 launched in 2005, Mehdi wrote, generating more than $56 billion at retail.

The most recent rumor to surface involving the next-generation Xbox 720 is the integration of Skype. A new job posting at Microsoft's London office calls for a Lead Program Manager, posted under the company's Skype division, according to the Eastern Morning Herald.

There is also a prospect that gamers will  Windows 8 on the Xbox 720, although this has yet to be confirmed.

We've got ideas for making all the entertainment you love more personal, interactive and social across the devices you love -- and on the phenomenal Windows 8 devices that are to come, Mehdi writes.

This doesn't directly indicate that Windows 8 will run on the new Xbox, but with Mehdi emphasizing the console's role as an entertainment system, it wouldn't be surprising. Regardless, the Microsoft executive promises that new surprises will be unveiled next month at E3, which will stream on Xbox Live for the first time this year.