The prevailing wisdom these days is that the next generation of home consoles from Microsoft and Sony should arrive in time for next year’s holiday shopping season. Sales figures of the current gen hardware are beginning to stagnate, major developers are switching over to next-gen development, and leaked dev kits are doing the rounds online. All of this point to a new console cycle in 2013, and a new Bloomberg report reaffirms this theory.
The report, which cites “people familiar with [Microsoft]’s plans,” says the next-gen Xbox is definitely on the way. At this point, Microsoft is unsure whether they want to reveal it at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, or hold their own big standalone press conference for the new console. Unveiling new hardware at one of the big gaming expos like E3 or TGS is the traditional way of doing it, but more and more companies have been opting to release their new hardware via flashy, Apple-style press conferences recently.
Details on the next-gen Xbox’s hardware are still hard to come by at this point, but we’ve heard some rumors about the “Durango” dev kit specs. A new Kinect is allegedly going to launch alongside the new Xbox, and will offer much greater precision than the current model. Most curiously, the rumors also indicate that the Xbox 720 (or whatever they end up calling it) will have an HD touchscreen embedded in its controllers, which is giving us Dreamcast flashbacks galore.
This whole affair is good news for console gamers, who by now are surely eager for some advancements in gaming fidelity. The Xbox 360 launched way back in 2005, making this the longest console cycle in recent history, and it shows in the games that are coming out. Graphical improvements have ground to an almost complete halt for the last year or so, as everyone waits to see what next year’s new hardware will bring.