The next Xbox 720 ‘Loop’ expected in 2013?

11 Nov 2011

Microsoft is expected to debut its next Xbox, the 720, which has been given the code-name ‘Loop’ as early as 2013 and at the latest by 2015. It is expected that new console will rely heavily on the Kinect motion sensor platform and will be smaller and cheaper than the current Xbox 360.

Activity is beginning to heat up around the next generation of consoles from the major manufacturers. Nintendo is expected to launch its Wii U next year and Sony is believed to be already working on the PlayStation 4. A key differentiator no doubt will be performance.

The new Xbox is expected to feature a modified Win9 core, a custom-designed ARM processor and dedicated cores focused on graphics, artificial intelligence, networking, encryption, sound and sensors.

So the only question is when? From what I can gather, Microsoft is at an exploratory stage, figuring out what processors will best drive the platform and give the best performance. Could the console debut in 2013 to compete with the Wii U, or are we looking at a longer time frame towards 2015 as the Xbox 360 platform has plenty of life in it yet?

My bet would be on the longer time frame – we’re talking about unlocking the console vision of the next 10 years or more. That is not something you’d want to rush to market.

No doubt the new console will be designed to integrate with Microsoft’s ‘three screens’ vision of a world where the game experience will transcend consoles, phones and TVs simultaneously.

According to prominent Microsoft blogger MS Nerd, the new console will use a Zune HD-like hardware platform.

“It will be custom designed by Microsoft and two partners based on the ARM architecture. It will be cheaper than the 360, further enabling Kinect adoption. And it will be far smaller than the 360. It will also demonstrate how Windows Phone could possibly implement Win9’s dev platform on the lower end,” MS Nerd said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years