Microsoft are going to launch the upcoming Xbox 720 in 2013. Bloomberg initially reported on this a few days ago and we have been trying to get information from insiders in Taipei over the weekend. We spoke to one unnamed source close to Microsoft who felt that it would launch in Q3 in 2013. The plan so far would be to showcase the new console at E3 in June 2013.
Some plans indicated that Microsoft initially planned to release the console later in 2012, but sales of the 360 are still so strong that it made little business sense. Xbox 360 sales have been very strong since it was released, and the Kinect controller helped boost console adoption in the last year. The Kinect is actually one of the best selling peripherals of all time.
The hardware has not been officially confirmed yet, but the most solid rumours would indicate that the Xbox 720 will use a version of the AMD 6670 chip (codename OBAN) which would bring Direct X 11 support to the console masses. 3D would also be an option with this GPU. This rumour has been circulating now for a while and many gamers feel the 6670 isn’t powerful enough to give a truly ‘next generation’ experience.
When the 720 is due to launch AMD will have the HD8000 series of graphics to market, which means the console would be two generations behind the PC market. We would feel that Microsoft might be looking at a more powerful configuration before official launch. An insider told us last week that the HD6670 GPU may just be included in an early build of the console to allow developers to get to grips with the AMD based configuration.
Kitguru says: Developers are already playing with early versions of the console. A job advert at the start of the month from Lionhead studios states a requirement for Direct X 11 programming skills. This is a platform not yet used by any console.