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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 6, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Microsoft’s next Xbox circulating, report says

The next version of Microsoft’s Xbox console is already being tested by an outside developer, although it’s unlikely the system will be revealed to the public anytime soon, according to a new report.

Develop Magazine heard from a source that Electronic Arts received an early test version of the new console last month, so the game company can begin developing the first batch of games for the system.

It’s really just an early build of the hardware components in a PC case and no details were provided about what’s new to the system. The story said only that the new hardware “will feature enhanced support for Kinect with just a couple of alterations.”

Microsoft executives have said they expect the current Xbox 360 to have a 10-year lifecycle, meaning it will be sold through 2015.

The Kinect motion sensor released last fall refreshed the console, boosting sales and extending its appeal midway through the cycle.

The news comes just before the E3 game conference in Los Angeles in early June, where Nintendo plans to reveal a replacement for the Wii. It’s going to compete more directly with the Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation by offering consumers — and game developers — full resolution graphics.

Today’s leak may be intended to take some steam out of Nintendo’s announcement.

It’s no surprise that Microsoft is working on the next Xbox. It’s probably even thinking about the one after that.

But it’s the first hint that the Xbox 720 or whatever it will be called has gelled enough to be distributed outside of Redmond.

If EA and other big developers take three years to develop new games for the 720, perhaps the device will surface at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014 and be on sale that holiday season.

Comments | Topics: EA, Microsoft, new console

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