Microsoft Corp. may be already working on shaping the next-generation video game console that will succeed the Xbox 360, which is already three and a half years old, and may be discussing potential peculiarities of the new video game machine with game designers.
It is not a secret that development of new products takes several years and is carried out secretly so that not to let competitors know potentially strong or weak sides of it. However, it is inevitable that at some point details regarding the fact of development or even details regarding the next-gen products are made public.
Last week Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design at Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard, said during the Game Developers Conference that he talked to Microsoft Corp. regarding the next-generation video game system from the software giant. This week the company officially said that Mr. Pardo has never claimed he had discussions with Microsoft over the next Xbox.
Microsoft’s first-generation Xbox console had very short lifespan for the video game market, just about four to five years, and was not a big success: only about 24 million of units were sold. But the current-generation Xbox 360 is much more successful: with around 30 million of units sold in three and half years after the release, it is unlikely to be discontinued soon, which is why all the talks about the successor for the device now seem irrelevant. However, in a year or a little more there will be gamers demanding more advanced graphics or feature-set and knowing that Microsoft should begin to work on the successor years before the commercial launch.
The first unofficial information about the Xbox 360 platform emerged in mid-2003, around two and a half years before the release, when ATI Technologies, which is now graphics products group of Advanced Micro Devices, was chosen to develop graphics processing unit with unified shader architecture for the forthcoming console.
At present there is no information about the hardware inside the third incarnation of the Xbox, but it seems like Microsoft is talking to visionaries in the video game work over the future of video games, which will definitely influence design decisions for the next-gen console.