The next generation of Microsoft's incredibly popular Xbox games console won't arrive until 2015, according to our sister site ZDNet.com. By that time the console will be 10 years old, and we'll all have hoverboards and be taking holidays on the Moon.
This specific leak comes from a chap tasked with some sort of design for the new console. To back it up there's even one of the most ambiguous photographs we've ever seen (above) -- and that includes some of the ridiculous stuff that crops up when Apple launches a new device. It tells us nothing specific though, aside from the new console might be black.
Consoles have tended towards a lifespan of around five or six years, but electronics companies seem keen on extending that. This probably stems from the fact that modern console development is ludicrously expensive and with this generation Sony and Microsoft have taken much longer than before to break even, selling consoles at a loss, and hoping to make money on licencing from games developers.
Although it feels like a long wait for the next generation in gaming, part of us is quite pleased. It means everyone who's bought an Xbox 360 will be able to keep enjoying the latest games for some years to come. With the transition from PS2 to PS3, we did feel a bit miffed -- it seemed like we'd just built up a good collection of games, and then it's time to switch again.
On the downside, it could be argued that the 360 is graphically weaker than the PS3, and games must already be bumping up against the capacity constraints of DVD, versus Sony's much more capacious Blu-ray drive. Will the games that come out over the next four years look as impressive as their PS3 counterparts? There's also the 3D issue to consider. While the 360 can support 3D, it's not Full HD and that puts it at another disadvantage compared to Sony.
Microsoft will also be keen to ensure the next console is a significant leap forward if the 50 million 360 owners are going to cough up a significant sum of cash to buy the next generation of console. We're certain Kinect will form a key part of the new offering and it's reasonable to assume Microsoft will continue to put huge emphasis on downloads over physical media. Which leaves us wondering if the company is brave enough to ditch the optical drive altogether. We suspect not, but time will surely tell.
Image credit: ZDNet.com