Last week, Microsoft confirmed that the next generation Xbox video game console will not be announced or released in 2012. Instead, Microsoft will continue focusing on the current console, the Xbox 360, which will soon complete its seventh year in the market, an eon in video game time.
Previously, rumors suggested that Microsoft could at least discuss its next Xbox at the E3 video game conference, set for the first week of June in Los Angeles. But the software giant squashed those rumors.
"While we appreciate all the interest in our long-range plans for the future, we can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon," a Microsoft statement reads. "For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360, and it's the best year ever for Xbox 360."
This statement suggests that 2013 is the obvious launch target for a new console, a timeframe confirmed by sources in a Bloomberg report. For Microsoft, of course, any additional time in market for the Xbox 360 is a good thing, as the console was developed at a great financial loss, and then suffered from reliability issues so severe that the company spent further billions making it right. A 2010 hardware revision finally solved the endemic problems.
With that new Xbox 360 version and the release of the Kinect motion sensor in late 2010, Microsoft did witness an amazing turnaround in Xbox 360 sales. Previous to that, the Xbox 360 was the perennial second- or third-place finisher behind the Nintendo Wii and, sometimes, even the Sony PlayStation 3. But with the release of the Kinect, Xbox 360 sales surged and continue to do so. Microsoft's current console has rarely finished anywhere other than first, sales-wise, since then. So there's no rush to release a new console.
But don't be confused by the Xbox 360's late rally: Microsoft is indeed working on a next-generation Xbox console, which sources tell me is code-named TEN (and most definitely will NOT be called Xbox 720). Recent job listings at Microsoft state that the company is "designing and developing the next generation console," though Microsoft quickly moved to pull down the public versions of the listings after they were reported by various blogs. The listings also reference a so-called "AAAA" game title, which would be a Microsoft-branded game that could ship alongside the next console.