The Xbox One release date is so close, we can almost feel its shiny new controller in our hands. With the console’s shelf date less than 12 hours away, it’s no wonder that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is working so hard to promote the system. Yet, behind all the hype, the tech giant may be facing some unexpected changes. CVG News recently reported that retiring CEO Steve Ballmer was forced to defend the Xbox as a profitable venture for the corporation.

During Ballmer’s last shareholder address as CEO, he called the Xbox brand a “reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is united under a common vision.” Ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, a possible replacement for Ballmer, is rumored to believe that the gaming brand should be cut loose.

Although the Xbox 360 is considered to be one of the most popular video game consoles of all time, Elop may view the brand as unprofitable. Bloomberg’s inside sources reported that Elop “would also consider selling healthy businesses such as the Xbox game console if he determined they weren’t critical to the company’s strategy.” Market analysts report that some of Microsoft’s entertainment divisions are losing billions. Still, eliminating the gaming category entirely may not be the best long-term solution. The Xbox One is well on its way to becoming an entertainment one-stop for your living room, allowing users to play games, watch television and stream movies.

Microsoft is arguably Sony’s main competitor. With the popular launch of Sony’s PS4 on Nov. 15, Microsoft is racing to give players a better system and more game choices. Xbox One reviews have been generally favorable, predicting that the system will give buyers a satisfying interactive entertainment and gaming experience.

Whether you prefer Sony or Microsoft, it’s unlikely that the Xbox brand would remain so popular if it were sold to another media company. It may be a better idea for Microsoft to create more strategies and campaigns aimed at pleasing its hardcore and casual gaming audiences.

Would you still purchase the Xbox if it were to be produced by someone other than Microsoft? Should the company ax the Xbox? Leave a comment below.