New positions seems to tell the story
Microsoft has not said anything publicly yet about their real plan for a new next generation console beyond the Xbox 360, but recent job recruiting and postings seem to suggest that Microsoft is starting to get its ducks in a row (so to speak) to move forward with the development of the successor to the Xbox 360.
Microsoft is apparently looking for people, based on the following job postings: graphics hardware architect, senior architect, performance engineer, and senior hardware design verification engineer. After examining these job descriptions, it is obvious that they are looking at Xbox console architecture going forward.
While there have been a number of theories about when Microsoft might move forward with their next offering beyond the Xbox 360, it does take a lot of time to design, qualify and get the hardware built. The bigger thing, however, is defining the specifications of the new system so that developers can get started on software for the new system.
Sources tell us that they don’t expect anything sooner than perhaps 2013 or maybe 2014, as Microsoft seems to still have a lot of life left in the current Xbox 360, but developers are very close now to consistently pushing the console to the limit; and when that becomes the standard of the titles being released it is time to start thinking about a new console, according to some sources we spoke with.
As usual, Microsoft has no comment on who they hire or what they might be hiring for and what projects the company may or may not be currently working on.