It was only two weeks ago when an Xbox 720 logo was spotted in the film Real Steel, adding more fuel to the speculation that Microsoft may unveil the Xbox 360 successor next year at E3 2012. This was further teased by some recent LinkedIn profiles of Microsoft employees that vaguely revealed specific positions in relation to next-gen Xbox development.

While we’ve expected for quite some time for Microsoft to tease their next big hardware console package next year, it could still be a long while until said console is available for retails. The latest report has the Xbox 720 (Xbox Next?) potentially releasing in time for the 2013 holidays.

Develop has the report which claims they’ve talked to a variety of industry insiders,  “from processor chip manufacturers to middleware firms,” who expect Microsoft to do a full reveal at E3 2013 and for it to release a few months later.

If that is the case, it’s still possible they do an early reveal/tease at next year’s E3 to at least show the world what’s next – otherwise it will be 3 years in a row with no new platform. This year at E3, the focus was on software. Last year, it was to reveal the Kinect. If next year is just more software again, while Sony and Nintendo show off new handhelds and in the big N’s case, a new home console in the Wii U, Microsoft will look a little behind the times.

Is Halo 4 enough?

343 Industries is hard at work on rekindling the mainstay Halo franchise with the goal of kicking off a new set of games and path for Master Chief to follow, titled “The Reclaimer Trilogy.” This game will undoubtedly be a focal point for Microsoft Game Studios next year, but will that suffice or does Micorosoft also need to show a new console?

They will also have more gaming and cross-platform functionality with the Windows phone but the industry is ready for the next step – as evidenced by developers like DICE and Crytek clamoring for better hardware to develop for.

Develop is also quick to point out that the Xbox 720 could also come in early 2014, which puts it near 9 years in the Xbox 360’s lifecycle, and right around the launch window of Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 and exactly when Bethesda expects the Xbox 720 to release.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Develop

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