Xbox 720 Rumours: Release date, price and specs - T3 paints a picture a picture of what's to be expected.
On this day 10 years ago, Microsoft better known for its way around a PC, ventured into the gaming world with its first ever games console.
In that time its more than fought its corner against the Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo Wii and seen a raft of changes including the more slender Xbox 360 S and the introduction of T3 Gadget of the Year, Kinect.
But what does the future hold for the next 10 years of Xbox? The Xbox 360 successor dubbed the 'Xbox 720' has long been rumoured as Microsoft's next generation console but we have yet to have any concrete information on its existence.
Surveying all the latest talk surrounding the next Xbox, we find out how close we really are to the console being dubbed as the 'Xbox 720.'
Xbox 720: In development
Evidence that work on the Xbox 720 work has already begun comes courtesy of a series of job listings spotted by Beyond 3D Forum earlier this year which appeared on business networking site LinkedIn.
The three positions advertised included a Senior Architect and Performance Engineer for the Xbox Console Architecture Group, a Senior Hardware Design Verification Engineer and a Graphics Hardware Architect "responsible for defining and delivering next-generation console architectures from conception through implementation".
Putting things into context, the original Xbox 360 was launched back in 2005, while the Xbox 360 S console only launched last year.
Microsoft have said that the Xbox 360 is about halfway through its lifecycle, but it makes a whole lot of sense that Microsoft would already be thinking about life beyond the current console.
Xbox 720: Specs
It's would be no major suprise if the Xbox 720 ramps it up in the power department, but according to John Carmack, the man behind legendary titles Doom and Quake and Rage, it could be as much as ten times more powerful than the current Xbox 360.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Carmack said, “The next-generation will be here soon, a couple of years. It'll be another ten times as powerful as this generation.
I'd be surprised if that doesn't last over a decade before people wind up saying, well, we've really tapped out everything you could possibly do on there."
Xbox 720: To be announced at CES 2012
The CES 2012 rumour-mill is warming up nicely, several ‘insider’ blogs have started posting what they claim to be legitimate information that says the next generation of the Xbox will get it’s debut at CES 2012.
If the 720 doesn't show at CES then MCV have reported that an 'exemplary' source has given them information which suggests both the Xbox 720 and the PS4 will be stealing the show at E3 2012.
According to the source the focus will be very much on creating a seamless experience between all Windows devices, which means integration with Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 as standard. It’ll also be smaller, cheaper to produce and more powerful than the Xbox 360.
Xbox 720: UK release date
If talk of an Xbox 720 E3 2012 announcement or even an appearance at CES 2012 proves accurate, we could well see the new console on the shelves the following year in 2013.
However, with Kinect set to breathe more life into Xbox gaming as more titles embrace the motion-sensing controller, Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnich could be right with his pre-E3 2011 comments.
Despite Nintendo replacing the Wii, Zelnich believes there is still iife in the Xbox 360 and PS3 saying, "We still have plenty of room to push the limits of creativity in the current console generation."
Xbox 720: Controller
Kinect, Microsoft's motion controller it appears, is here to stay and was even stated by one Microsoft exec last year to give the Xbox 360 another five years of life.
As we have seen from the Kinect announcements at E3 2011, Microsoft is beginning to look at ways of integrating Kinect into more 'hardcore' games, so the motion controller is likely to play a significant part in any next generation Xbox console.
Will Microsoft choose to follow in the footsteps of Nintendo with the Wii U controller? As fans of the current Xbox 360 controller, we sincerely hope they do not stray too far from the current design.
Xbox 720: Blu-ray
Will Microsoft go the way of the Sony PS3 and adopt Blu-ray for its next console?
Developers have previously complained of the restrictions of the current Xbox 360 disc format, but according to Director of Xbox and Entertainment at Microsoft, Stephen McGill, they willl not be going the way of Blu-ray believing that digital media is the way forward. In an interview with CVg last year, McGill said:
"We have no plans to adopt [a] Blu-ray drive for the Xbox 360. In fact, the future of home entertainment started last autumn when Xbox 360 became the first and only console to offer instant-on 1080p streaming HD movies."
Xbox 720: Gaming in the cloud
With the likes of Amazon and Apple launching cloud services, could the next Xbox enable gamers to play games wherever you are?
Cloud gaming service OnLive could be a possible solution. OnLive VP of Engineering Joe Bentley recently spoke to CVG and when asked if he could see its service working with Microsoft and Sony, responded:
"Absolutely, they would make great consoles. Our controller is a hybrid between a PS3 controller and an Xbox controller. It's all compatible, it would just work. There are OnLive guys chatting [Sony and MS], but we'll see where it goes. But it would absolutely work, we're ready to work with everybody."
Xbox 720: To be announced at E3 2012?
Will Microsoft redress the balance at next year’s LA gaming expo? First talk of an E3 2012 unveiling surfaced when Crysis 2 devs Crytek were reported to have claimed that the new console was E3 2012-bound, and that the company was working on a new Timesplitters title for the new Xbox 720.
Crytek have since refuted the claims, but BGR now say that they have it on good authority from a source “with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans within the company’s Entertainment and Devices Division” that the Xbox 720 will be announced at E3 2012.
They were also told that Microsoft has been working on the new console since 2006, which supports comments made by Microsoft EMEA Vice President Chris Lewis way back in 2006.