Microsoft all but confirms Xbox 720 in 2013

March 17, 2012

Microsoft has moved to end all speculation about it showing the Xbox 720 at E3 this year. Which all but confirms the next Xbox will be unveiled in 2013.

With the Wii U on the way many people are fascinated to see what Sony and Microsoft have up their sleeves for the next generation of consoles. Or perhaps it’s just me. Either way the rumors have been coming thick and fast in recent months, with speculation that a disc-less Xbox successor will be arriving in 2013 the latest to do the rounds.

Microsoft yesterday issued a statement attempting to end all speculation until at least next year. It read:

While we appreciate all the interest in our long-range plans for the future, we can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon. For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360 … The console is coming off its biggest year ever — a year in which Xbox outsold all other consoles worldwide. Xbox 360 didn’t just outsell other consoles, it also outsold all other TV-connected devices like DVD players, as well as digital media receivers and home theater systems. And in our seventh year, we sold more consoles than in any other year — defying convention.

This year, we will build on that Xbox 360 momentum. With Halo 4, Forza Horizon, Fable: The Journey, and other great Kinect games on the way, our 2012 Xbox lineup is our strongest ever. This year, we will deliver more TV, music, and movie experiences for Xbox 360 — as we’ll make it even easier to find and control all your entertainment. And this year, Xbox games, music, and video are coming to Windows 8 so people can enjoy their Xbox entertainment wherever they go.

This is an official statement from Microsoft, a company which usually does not comment on rumor or speculation. So either it’s decided to try and kill talk of the Xbox successor for the time being so as not to detract from the Xbox 360’s final year as its primary console, or it’s making us all look the other way so that when the Xbox 720 (or whatever it’s called) does make an appearance front and center at E3 2012 we’ll all be shocked and stunned.

I think it’s the former, and I hope so too. As excited as I am to see what Microsoft has lined up for the next-gen, I would rather only see the new hardware a few months before launch rather than the more-than-a-year-ahead strategy adopted by Nintendo with the Wii U. They showed their hand too early, and by the time it launches any anticipation will have dissipated.

Note the continual references to “this year,” which is Microsoft essentially saying, “Forget about 2013, that’s a long way off. Just focus on 2012 and all the Xbox 360 goodness we have planned for the next nine months.” Will we listen to them or will we continue to speculate about the company’s plans for the next iteration of Xbox hardware?


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