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Bloomberg has cited sources "familiar with the company’s plans" in revealing that Microsoft’s Xbox 720 will be ready in time for next Christmas, meaning we could be only twelve months away from the Redmond company’s next-generation console.

We’ve heard tidbits over the past year with regards to what kinds of hardware the 720 – said to be codenamed Durango – may eventually pack, including Blu-ray support, Kinect 2.0, and native 3D support. With that said, many of the rumors have been conflicting, but with Bloomberg stepping out with this ETA, we should begin to see a more accurate list of details once the Xbox 720 reaches production.

Those anxious to see the console – which has taken up many different appearances in the rumor mill – will be pleased to learn that it will probably be launched at next year’s E3, set to take place in Los Angeles. The event has seen the introduction of some great products in its time, and with the Xbox 360 having followed an E3 launch / November release, there’s no reason to suspect this won’t be the case once more with its successor.

It’s not guaranteed Microsoft will want to launch at E3, though. Bloomberg also states that the Windows maker is contemplating running its own special event to mark the highly-anticipated follow-up to a console which currently dominates the hardcore gaming market. Despite the efforts of Sony’s PlayStation, the Black Friday sales figures indicated the 360 is still well ahead of its main competitive rival, so it’s clear Microsoft has an advantage when it comes to consumers.

With regards to Sony’s next-gen console, not much has been discussed recently, but as it now looks as though it’ll arrive later than its main competitive rival, Microsoft has an opportunity to further establish its lead over the PlayStation brand. Of course, in that respect, once could also see it as an opportunity for the Japanese electronics giant to learn from the Xbox’s mistakes, but giving a console so much ‘free’ time in the market makes for an uphill battle.

It’s been seven years since the Xbox 360 landed, and it’s certainly long overdue a hardware upgrade. We will keep you informed should we learn anything more of the console over the coming months, so stay tuned!

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