Stop the silly: Of course Xbox 720 won’t release in 2012

Thursday, 15th December 2011 09:01 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Talk of a next-generation Xbox console has the hardware down for a launch next year. Brenna Hillier reckons someone’s got the maths wrong.

What we’re given to go on at that point will be the barest of bare bones. Maybe the new hardware will, indeed, end up smaller and cheaper than past consoles, and have an emphasis on TV content; very likely it will indeed come bundled with an improved Kinect. But it won’t release in 2012.

Since gaming crawled back out of the Atari-driven crisis of the early eighties and re-established itself as a profitable business, hardware has seen a turnover cycle of up to five years, regular as clockwork. That third generation of consoles – the 8-bit NES and Master System – was the first in a series of easily-classified waves of increased horsepower and feature sets which eventually resulted in what’s usually called the seventh generation – the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which launched in 2006 and 2005 respectively.

Eventually, Microsoft will build a new console and launch it as the successor to the Xbox 360. The sort of world where this did not occur is not one any of us can contemplate in comfort, because it suggests a future in which the games industry has collapsed. (Or we’ve been taken over by brain-eating zombie dog overlords. Either scenario puts us out of a job and the chance to play Killing Things VI.)

By the generational measure, we’re overdue new machines, but still your beating hearts – it’s not going to happen any time soon.

Las Vegas, January, 2012

French site Xboxygen has claimed an anonymous source for a report that we’ll see the fabled Xbox 720 – whatever they’re calling it – mentioned in some form at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January.

If you draw a little timeline of console releases – ignoring the half-generational blip of the Wii – you’ll see we’re bang on the mark not just for a new console announce, but for its release (something Nintendo is no doubt hoping will discourage anyone from noticing that their latest effort with the Wii U isn’t any more grunty than the current batch of machines).

Speculation exploded in the week following this purported leak, and it was helped along by a handful of correlating reports suggesting a new Xbox hardware launch in 2012. If your chest does little flutters when you hear these rumours, you should probably take a handful of these cynicism pills. Whispers and “insider” predictions of new hardware generation have been cropping up since early 2008 – not even three years from launch. Over 2011, it’s happened with almost comical regularity, with at least one new rumour every month for the space of six months.

One report claimed that Crytek had hold of development kit and was expecting to show Timesplitters 4 at E3 2012; this was at least the second occasion on which the developer was implicated in the mythical console’s 2012 launch.

Again next year?

This is how Microsoft launched Xbox 360 at E3 2005. Think straight for a second: do you really think Microsoft is going to do this with a new console next year?

Another went so far as to name a couple of launch titles – the new Alan Wake, since revealed as an Xbox Live release, and Saints Row 4.

Reports that the new console has been in development for five years certainly added weight; if it’s not true, why is there such a definite number? A compelling pub argument.

You can add two and two together here and get a nice square four, but for maths to work you’ve got to solve all the clauses of the equation, not just the ones you like. What the excitement fails to account for is that the games industry of the seventh generation is a very different place to that of the third, fourth, fifth and even sixth. Major games now cost so much to develop, and new hardware is so difficult to come to grips with, that a new console venture is an undertaking on an entirely different scale. Microsoft and Sony built their current consoles with this in mind, leaving room to expand their lifespans with peripherals and home entertainment features like streaming services. For every developer who wants the excitement of new hardware, just as many dread it.

Asked about the rumours, EA strongly denied either Crytek or a second development team’s receipt of a new Xbox dev kit. Blizzard added its voice to the naysayers, and even Michael Pachter pooh-poohed the talk.

This very quick sample yields as much evidence for as against, and there’s plenty more indication that any future Microsoft console is still at least three years away.

Avalanche has dropped heavy hints that at least one new console is due in 2014. This date was backed up by a number of anonymous sources, apparently close to first-parties. Massive retailer Gamestop, whose leap into the digital realm shows it knows which way the wind is blowing, is in agreement.

On top of that, in a detailed assessment of Microsoft’s manufacturing capabilities, Digital Foundry concluded that the company simply doesn’t have the resources to have produced a new console to launch in 2012.

Still confident?

Calling it

A key point from Xboxygen’s report which has been greviously overlooked is that the site never claimed a working console would debut – it reported only that Microsoft would give “some information on the new console, and some of its capabilities”.

If reports of the company recruiting for a hardware engineer to work on new console are true, of which there’s no guarantee – Microsoft needs engineers for new Xbox 360 models and ongoing Kinect development – then work had really only just begun sometime around March. That’s perfect timing for an upcoming tech announcement and, yes, a 2014 debut.

According to yet another unverified report, Microsoft called a round table of developers after E3 2011 to gauge what kind of feeling developers had for upcoming hardware – what features they might like, how much power is needed.

This one does add up, and slots in neatly with the 2014 timeframe being bandied about. What we’re expecting to see at CES is an announcement of a partnership with one tech company or another – very likely AMD, since the company has already flapped its lip – as to what might form the basic architecture of the upcoming Xbox.

What we’re given to go on at that point will be the barest of bare bones. Maybe the new hardware will, indeed, end up smaller and cheaper than past consoles, and have an emphasis on TV content; very likely it will indeed come bundled with an improved Kinect.

But it won’t release in 2012.




  1. Mr Tom

    Not listening *lalalalalalalalalalala*

    I’ve got the itch for the next gen!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    You’ll have to wait! :)

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Mike

    It will. I guarantee it.

    December 2012. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Strawb

    #3: Actually, people have been claiming the world will end in December 2012 for years.
    Yes, that’s right. The Xbox 720 will be our doom.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Patrick Garratt

    £50? I’ll even give you odds.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Mike


    #6 3 years ago
  7. OrbitMonkey

    2014? So the 2nd Halo forerunner entry could be a launch title then? Should help it shift a few ;-)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. rainer

    Charlie Demerjian always had some interesting scoops and is saying the chips for the Xbox Next have taped out (initial test run) but mass manufacturing wont begin until end of 2012 and a launch in summer 2013 is likely.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Erthazus

    2012? Of course it won’t be released in 2012.

    there is Halo 4 in 2012.

    But 2013 for the first next gen XBOX is for sure.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Fin

    Tech demo at E3 2012, full showing at E3 2013, release in Q4 2013. Best guess.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Psychotext

    I for one welcome our brain-eating zombie dog overlords.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Christopher Jack

    My guess is an E3 2013 reveal & a holiday launch, I don’t think the 360 has any AAA excluisives for 2013 already announced, I can only think of 2 major titles that are yet to be released, Halo 4 & Ryse.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Erthazus

    Btw i think we will see first XBOX details at CES 2012 and not in E3 2012.
    CES is the show for MS.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. polygem

    Q4 2013

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Gheritt White

    Q4 2013

    #15 3 years ago
  16. drewbles82

    Ryse has already been confirmed for the next gen xbox.
    So have several other games already being made for next gen.

    Still predict E3 2012 demo, E3 2013 full line up,etc and released for 2013 holidays.

    Halo 4 might be in the works but still might do better to wait for next gen and release it on there.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Maximum Payne

    @16 Not for but to steal a show for Wii-U.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. The Evil Pope

    PS4/NextBox, keep them! I’ll stick with my PC and Nintendo hardware for my gaming in the present and future.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. IL DUCE

    Brenna…that report you’re referring to said Alan Wake 2 was in development for the nextgen console – which has nothing to do with American Nightmare since Remedy has made clear to us on several occassions “This is not Alan Wake 2″…must be a reason they’re so admant about pointing that out…even if the console and game aren’t coming out for a while

    Also, using Pachter to back up a claim doesn’t lend much credibility since the guy is wrong about just about everything besides the blatantly obvious…

    But yes, I agree it will absolutely not release in 2012…definitely might see or hear about the tech it may have but I would think E3 2013 would probably be the earliest we see it and they could pull an Apple and release it that week but I would lean more towards Holiday 2013 and the latest Fall/Holiday 2014…

    Since now were starting to hear about games in 2013 such as Rainbow 6 Patriots it makes me wonder if its really coming to next gen or if it will be one of the last games this gen…and since Ryse has already been said to be missing this gen that confirms a new Kinect or motion control will be bundled with the new console since I would assume it would be a launch title for it…and it also means they have to have some sort of plan if they’re are certain it will miss this gen, therefore they must know when it ends…

    #19 3 years ago
  20. xxJPRACERxx

    #10 got it right.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Lahanas

    @8 rainer, how reliable is this semiacurate site?

    #21 3 years ago
  22. chipvideo

    Q4 of 2013 is what I am thinking. Out in mid Oct to get the buzz going before Black Friday hits.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Demiath

    With the potential exception of Leadbetter’s manufacturing estimation (which appears to be hidden behind a paywall) there’s not a whole lot of hard facts backing Hillier’s (not inherently unreasonable) counter-arguments, either. Cautious publishers churning out official verbiage and a supposed Microsoft round table about console features don’t come off as necessarily being more substantial than predictions based on the only firm, reliable data we got; what has happened during previous console cycles.

    It may be true that this generation is special, but (as the article implies) if that is so it’s certainly had ample time to be divergent by now, and at some point it’s time for any bottomline-centric hardware developer to simply move on. Costs always rise dramatically as a result of generational shifts; that’s sort of the definition of a move to exponentially more advanced technology…

    #23 3 years ago
  24. kezwar

    @Patrick I don’t know about 720, but a very close and reliable source at Sony told me that the PS4 will be out sooner than anyone thinks. I interpret that to mean 2012. They wanna re-pay the favour and get the jump on Microsoft I reckon.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Lahanas

    You mean the PS4, yes?

    #25 3 years ago
  26. kezwar

    sorry yes I meant PS4.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. fearmonkey

    It’s going to happen in 2013, there will be some announcement with maybe some demos of its possible capabilities at the next E3.
    Does anyone here believe that MS wants to allow the Wii-u to have TWO years of a headstart? That would happen if they didn’t release till 2014.

    Fable 4 will be launch title, Rare will have an FPS or killer instinct remake/sequel, and maybe that crytek title….

    #27 3 years ago
  28. ozama

    yeah that’s right

    #28 3 years ago

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