Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division has posted a new job ad that seems to suggest that the next generation Xbox, dubbed the Xbox 720, will launch sometime before 2014.
The job ad in question is for a Central Marketing Group director, that will help to develop and execute “branding strategies and marketing communications for the Microsoft brand”. The portion of the ad that seems to directly reference the Xbox 720 reads:
“Over the next eighteen months Microsoft will release new versions of all of our most significant products including Windows (Client, Server, Phone and Azure), Office and Xbox, along with completely new offerings like Microsoft Surface”.
It’s entirely possible that this “new version” is simply another Xbox 360 redesign, however, all the recent talk of next-gen software development makes it much more likely that the statement is in reference to the Xbox 720.
Helping to reinforce this bit of next generation Xbox speculation is a recent statement from Microsoft’s general manager Brian Hall. Speaking in a Windows 8 centered interview with The Verge on August 3rd Hall made the following comment:
“We just decided it was time to do something new and bring the best from each of those and put them together and release it right in time for the new wave of products that we could have coming out with Windows 8, with the new version of Office with the new Windows phone and the new Xbox.”
Microsoft later backtracked on that comment, saying that Hall’s statements were “not understood in their intended context”, and that he was simply referring to the “fall Xbox update which will bring a host of new consumer experiences like Xbox Music, Videos, Games on Windows 8 and Xbox SmartGlass”.
Despite Microsoft denial, my best guess is that we are looking at a Holiday 2013 launch for the Xbox 720, with a full reveal at next year’s E3. Even if that doesn’t happen, don’t expect to hear any official confirmation of the next generation Xbox until sometime after 2012. Microsoft isn’t foolish enough to destroy Xbox 360 sales this year by announcing a new system that is, at best, a year away.