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

April 8, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Xbox 720 rumors du jour: May 21 unveiling, AMD chips

Two  prominent Microsoft bloggers are saying the company will unveil the next Xbox at an event on May 21, but the company isn’t confirming any such plans. Also out today is a Bloomberg report saying that the new Xbox will use AMD chips, a detail that first emerged in January.

Paul Thurrott first floated the May 21 date in a podcast on Friday. Today Tom Warren at The Verge said, “We understand this date is accurate.”

Asked today if the information is correct, a Microsoft spokesman told me to ask Thurrott: ”He is the only person that has announced an event.”

Microsoft is widely expected to launch its next Xbox at the E3 game conference in June in Los Angeles, which tees up game products going on sale in the holiday season.

There has been speculation about a “pre-launch” press event since Sony provided reporters a glimpse of game and controllers for its upcoming PlayStation 4 at a Feb. 20 event in New York. Sony’s event wasn’t especially well received, so it would be surprising if Microsoft used the same approach.

Thurrott also said he’s heard that Microsoft won’t be offering an Xbox-branded, low-cost streaming device (an Xbox 720 Media Center Extender …) as some reported earlier this year. He also said Microsoft will refresh the Xbox 360 and sell it for $99 alongside the new Xbox, which is a standard approach with console makers who continue to make money from their older hardware.

Bloomberg’s report on the AMD ”Jaguar” hardware being used in the new Xbox cites “people with knowledge of the matter.” Its report sent AMD shares up 13 percent to close at $2.59 today.

The chips are reportedly similar to those used in Sony’s PlayStation 4, making it easier for game developers to produce titles for both platforms.

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