The original Xbox 360 launched on November 22nd in 2005, and some fond memories have certainly been made on Microsoft's second home video game console. However fond these memories may be, it seems Microsoft is getting ready to move on to bigger and better things, because they've recently posted job listings for work their next-gen console via LinkedIn.
The positions offered by Microsoft vary, but they all seem to focus on development of the next-gen Microsoft console. One position that is being advertised is for a Graphics Hardware Architect, and anyone who scores the position will join Microsoft's current team who will all be "responsible for defining and delivering next-generation console architectures from conception through implementation." Another position listed by Microsoft is for a Senior Architect and Performance Engineer, and once hired they will also join up with Microsoft's "XBOX Console Architecture Group."
"Our group is involved in product definition from early evaluation all the way through high volume manufacturing."
A third and final job posting was for a "Senior Hardware Design Verification Engineer." If anyone happens to land that position then they "will be responsible for the design verification and qualification of the Xbox console at the component, motherboard, and system levels," all of which makes for a very intense job.
All of these positions certainly seem to indicate that Microsoft is gearing up for the next-generation Xbox (Xbox 720?), but the fact that they've only begun hiring now for development on the next Xbox is a safe bet that it's not coming for a long time. There unfortunately isn't more detailed information in the postings that hints at what to expect from Microsoft's next-gen system.
They are looking for people to build the new Xbox from the ground up and if you followed the news coming out of GDC last week, Epic's new Unreal Engine is a good way to see what the next-generation of console gaming will/should look like, but considering that Kinect is still fairly new on the market and A+ titles such as Gears of War 3 and the Halo: Combat Evolved remake are both due this year seems to suggest that Microsoft won't be abandoning the 360 for at least a couple more years.
What new features would you expect the next-gen Xbox to feature? What games would need to launch with the console in order for you to purchase it on launch?