A new report claims that the next-generation Xbox console is already in the manufacturing stages.
IGN sources say that assembly of the console has recently begun at the Austin, Texas branch of Flextronics, the same company currently assembling the Xbox 360; the Singapore-based manufacturer has had a relationship with Microsoft since the original Xbox.
“Prior to reaching the manufacturing stage, Flextronics created a new testing group separate from the rest of the company,” the source says. “This team was solely dedicated to comprehensive marketing, software, and hardware tests of the next Xbox. With that activity concluded, Flextronics started building the hardware.”
If this is, in fact, true, we still doubt they’re creating the final retail versions of the console. Since the source only makes reference to a small testing group, it sounds more likely that Flextronics is creating dev kits. Developers are likely currently working with high-end PCs mimicking the console’s specs; development kits that resemble the final product would be the next step.
Microsoft provided the following statement in response to the source:
“Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle, like introducing the world to controller-free experiences with Kinect and reinventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention. Beyond that, we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”
As much as we’d like to see the next generation of consoles, Microsoft seems intent to push this console cycle to its very limits. Current-gen consoles are nearing their limits, with developers forced to find new ways to squeeze more power out of the systems. The sluggish economy’s also seriously hampering the move to the next generation; we’ll likely have to see massive upgrades in order for consumers to shell out the cash for a new system. Microsoft may well be holding out until the climate picks up, but will that hurt them in the long run?
Is now the right time for the next generation? Share your thoughts below.