Xbox 720: Christmas 2013 release date expected

This year is all about the Wii U. But, next Christmas, the must-have console could be an Xbox.

According to reports, Microsoft’s next generation console will be released this time next year.

Business bible Bloomberg says sources who are “familiar with the company’s plans” have revealed the Xbox 720 will be launched in June followed by a release schedule timed for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Microsoft is expected to either unveil its new gizmo at the annual E3 electronic entertainment expo in Los Angeles or to hold its own special event to launch the machine.

Any new release would be eagerly anticipated by fans, who are continuing to snap up Xboxes. During the traditional US Thanksgiving sales period, Microsoft sold an incredible 750,000 consoles, almost two times as much as the new Nintendo Wii, which was launched on November 18.

As well as gamers clambering to get their hands on a next generation console to replace the current Xbox 360, the new release would lead to a raft of new games, with developers of recent top-level games saying the 360 does not have the necessary fire power to meet their ambitions.

Although no details about Xbox features have been officially released, technology blogs are rife with rumours that one included innovation will be augmented reality glasses. It comes after a patent filed by Microsoft indicated it was gearing up to produce its own glasses for gaming.

The release will clearly not be without competition though. While Nintendo will be heavily pushing new packages of the Wii U, Sony is also said to be readying an update to its PlayStation console.

Both, what is currently being called, the PS4 and the Xbox 720 are expected to be all about hands-free gaming, with gamers increasingly wanting to get more involved in the action on-screen.

Both companies are also talking about cloud storage, to help gamers keep track of their data. Price is also being discussed, with tech analysts predicting Sony and Microsoft will both be looking to make their purchase point more competitive.

It is thought the PS4 could even be out before the new Xbox, with Sony keen to steal a march on their rivals.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said: “I don’t think Sony wants to launch behind Microsoft again, so I’m confident we’ll see a PS4 in October or November 2013.”

He said it wasn’t likely Sony would launch ealier “as it doesn’t make sense to get too far in front of software, and I’m pretty confident that few developers have been working on PS4 for more than a year or so. Holiday 2013 will be a comfortable window for Sony, and will give them a chance to get a head start on Microsoft.”

So, it won’t just be the onscreen gaming battles that are fought in 2013, but a war between Sony and Microsoft to win over consumers that could be as hotly contested as that between Apple and Samsung in the smartphones and tablets market. Which one will you be putting on next year’s list to Santa?

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