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We may only be into our 6th year of a previously assumed ten-year life cycle, but if reports are to be believed, we could be in for a new Xbox console release as early as 2013.

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The console, now into its 7th revision of Xbox 360 since its original release back in late-2005, is still going strong with huge blockbuster titles such as the Call of Duty franchise continuing to push hardware sales. Even the release of Sony’s Playstation 3 didn’t dent the Xbox 360′s stellar sales figures, and Microsoft’s gaming arm is one of the Redmond outfit’s stand-out successes, after the original Xbox was generally considered a flop.

Reports from chip manufacturers and software middleware firms now suggest that the next Xbox, whatever Microsoft decides to call it, could be hitting shelves as early as 2013. To get the machine out in time for the Holidays, that would mean Microsoft would need to announce its new hardware at E3 2013 (or 2012 maybe?) – less than two years away. That window may seem a little short – going from announcement to release within six months – until you remember that the Xbox 360 went through a similarly truncated cycle.

Multiple sources across the industry, from processor chip manufacturers to middleware firms, have told Develop they expect the console to be fully unveiled at E3 2013, months before its release. The collection of data points to a 2013 launch for the system across all main regions, though early 2014 remains a possibility.

Microsoft shows no sign of putting the Xbox 360 out to pasture just yet. Testers are soon set to receive a new Dashboard update to try out, with new video content providers coming on board and Bing search being added to the growing roster of Kinect-integrated features.

The Xbox 360 is still the best selling games console on the market, outselling the Nintendo Wii two to one in September. With results like that, does Microsoft really need to rush its new console to market?

Nintendo will be the first of the big three players to release a new console, with the Wii U set to debut early next year. Aiming to bring Xbox 360 and PS3-level graphics, if not better, to the world of Wii motion gaming, Nintendo will be hoping that they can steal a march on its two big competitors this time around.

(source Develop)

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