Several projects already underway for new Microsoft system

Sources point to 2013 launch for ‘Xbox Next’

Microsoft and industry partners are working towards a 2013 launch of the next generation Xbox, Develop understands.

Multiple sources across the industry, from processor chip manufacturers to middleware firms, have told Develop they expect the console to be fully unveiled at E3 2013, months before its release. The collection of data points to a 2013 launch for the system across all main regions, though early 2014 remains a possibility.

Few in the games business expect Xbox Next to be in stores before the holiday side of 2013 – this Christmas and the next will likely see Microsoft marketing software for Xbox 360, Windows Phone and its Kinect motion controller.

Microsoft has declined to comment.

In further developments:

* Develop understands that Lionhead is working on a project internally named ‘Fable Next’, which will launch on the new console.

* Epic Games’ new Unreal Engine would likely be available sooner than the 2014 date recently given by studio founder Tim Sweeney.

* One source still insists that an EA studio already has rudimentary Xbox console technology on desks. EA has flatly denied the claim.

Further data on the so-called ‘Xbox Next’ project comes amid new information showing that preliminary work on PlayStation 4 games is underway.

The Xbox 360 has sold more than 55 million units worldwide since its release in October 2005.

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