• Next-generation Xbox rumored to be unveiled at E3 2012

    Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox console will likely be shown at E3 2012, according to reports.

    The software giant is preparing to announce the successor to the Xbox 360 at E3 2012 according to VideoGamer.com. The site claims that Crytek is already developing a new TimesSplitters game for the next-generation console. Hardware specifications have not been fully finalised but Crytek is working with Microsoft’s DirectX 11 as the basis for its development plans. The timing means that Microsoft could announce and launch its new console ahead of rival Sony. VideoGamer’s source is a high-ranking industry official at Crytek who claims that TimeSplitters 4 is being demonstrated internally at the company. The game was reportedly shown privately in video form at E3 2011.

    Microsoft is known to be in the early stages of preparing a new Xbox console. The software giant has managed to keep the Xbox 360, released in November 2005, fresh through a number of software improvements and hardware refreshes. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console dominated U.S. charts in 2010. Microsoft revealed at CES in January that the company has sold over 50 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide since launch. Microsoft also has 30 million active Xbox LIVE members and has sold 10 million Kinect sensors since the device debuted in November. The Kinect sensor is a horizontal bar that sits at the base of your TV. The device has an RGB camera, depth sensor and multi-array microphone which runs proprietary software. Kinect allows for full-body 3D motion capture, facial recognition, and voice recognition.

    Microsoft’s Xbox Console Architecture team has also been hiring for numerous positions on the next-generation Xbox team. The job listings appears to have confirmed that Microsoft is in the early stages of pre-production for the next-generation Xbox. Microsoft is so early on in the development stages that the graphics hardware hasn’t been fully decided and tested. Previous speculation had suggested that Microsoft was further on in the development stages for its next-generation console.

    Rumors of a new Xbox console kicked off on Friday when gaming site Develop claimed that an unnamed Electronic Arts studio had taken delivery of a new Xbox console. It’s claimed that the new hardware was sent to EA last month and is packaged and stored inside a PC shell. EA developers are allegedly getting to grips with the hardware to create first-generation software says Develop. Microsoft declined to comment on the story but EA spokespeople claimed the story was false. “This story is a total fabrication – 100 percent not true,” said EA corporate spokesman Jeff Brown.