Is Microsoft prepping a next-gen Xbox?

The current console cycle seems to be dragging on forever, with peripherals like Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Move effectively delaying the launch of next-gen systems by at least a few years.

Fortunately, it appears as if Microsoft may have (finally) kicked off efforts to design a next-gen console.

To be sure, g4tv recently spotted a series of ads on Linkedin “suggesting [Redmond could] be hiring people to work on [its] next console.”

The ads include a listing for a graphics hardware architect who is familiar with 3D rendering architectures, software pipelines and physics.

There is also a posting for a senior architect and performance engineer in the Xbox Console Architecture Group.

But perhaps the most interesting want ad is one requesting a senior hardware verification engineer – who will be tasked with the “design verification and qualification of the Xbox console at the component, motherboard, and system levels, [by] leading test strategy discussions, developing test methodologies & plans and project-manage qualification cycles.”

Now, obviously the above-mentioned ads are not a confirmation of an Xbox 360 2. 

Still, I’ll definitely take what I can get, because frankly at this stage, the cycle delay is nothing less than embarrassing.

As I noted earlier this month, we desperately need a next-gen console STAT so titles can be pushed to the next level, both in terms of graphics and AI.

Of course, this is not just an issue affecting rabid console fanbois. 

Rather, PC gaming has also been negatively affected by the delay, as studios (with an eye on the bottom line) insist on porting titles designed for aging consoles onto new rigs.

A new generation of consoles can help end the vicious cycle – at least for a few years.