A team at Flextronics is working on assembling Microsoft’s next generation console “behind-closed-doors from the rest of the company,” according to IGN. The level of secrecy surrounding the project suggests that it is something big. Given the company’s history, it would seem safe to assume that it is Microsoft’s next generation console.
One thing that doesn’t quite gel with the rumor, however, is Microsoft’s previous statements that it won’t show the Xbox 720 at next month’s E3. Either Microsoft is reversing courset, or Flextronics is manufacturing something else — or at least not the Xbox 720 as the general public will see it. SlashGear opines that the company may be rolling out prototypes or developmental models – this seems the most likely scenario. It is also possible that Microsoft is simply holding off and erring on the side of caution with the new machine to avoid another red ring of death-style fiasco.
So will we see a new Xbox this year? If we don’t at E3, it’s doubtful that we will before the end of the year. But don’t rule anything out. The reason why consoles have such a long development cycle isn’t because they take a years and years to develop, but because customers won’t be satisfied with incremental increases in performance. People want to see a big jump in technology and that’s not so much a matter of waiting for the technology to be created as it is a matter of waiting for the technology to become affordable.
After so many years, a new Xbox would generate enough publicity on its own for Microsoft to sidestep E3 and roll out the 720 in time for the holiday season. The company has shared its views on the trouble with trade shows and development cycles in the past, so the idea that it would go it alone is not as crazy as it may seem.