Xbox 360 set for September

The next Xbox looks set to be released this November, with some new leaked pictures giving us a hint of what the console will look like.

The next Xbox looks set to be released this November, with some new leaked pictures giving us a hint of what the console will look like.

Last week at the convention of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in Seattle, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates accidentally confirmed that Microsoft's next-generation console was coming this year. Just days later, MTV has apparently confirmed the month the device, which will almost certainly be called the Xbox 360, will hit the market.

MTV in the USA's advance schedule has begun running a listing for MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed, the special that will see the Xbox 360 shown to the public for the first time. Besides saying how the show will feature "tours of the design labs, interviews with the designers, behind-the-scenes and inside scoop", the listing promises to feature "trailers of the newest games that are due out in November for the new Xbox".

The listing appears to cement suspicions that the next Xbox will launch on the fourth anniversary of the original Xbox's release in mid-November 2001. However, despite the clear wording of the MTV listing, Microsoft representatives said they could not comment on it for the time being.

In the meantime, gamers only have to wait a few more days to wait until Microsoft and MTV show off the Xbox 360. MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed airs this Friday at 7pm. CNET.com.au will have more details on the Xbox 360 next week.

Though the MTV special that shows off the Xbox 360 won't air until this Friday, it was actually shot last week in Los Angeles. And while the 200-odd attendees were asked not to reveal the secrets they were privy to at the event, naturally, a few couldn't help but spill the beans.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, those few were also armed with digital cameras, which they used to snap pictures of the Xbox 360 console. The photo of the console confirmed the authenticity of earlier pictures, showing a silver, slightly concave-shaped console that looks almost as though it's designed to sit atop the slightly convex current-generation Xbox. It also confirmed the so-called "ring of light" theory, which had said the device would sport an oversized power button surrounded by a ring of LEDs, as well as that it would sport two slots for 64MB memory cards and one for a 40GB hard drive on the console's side.

Besides the Xbox 360 itself, the leaked snapshot showed three peripherals, including its controller. The controller pictured was clearly the same as that shown in pictures "leaked" by the Microsoft-associated teaser site Ourcolony.net. That site also recently released another picture of the controller, which shows the controller in more detail, including what appears to be the new Xbox logo...the same globular insignia featured in a shot leaked months previous. It also shows what appears to be a charging port on the bottom of the console.

Besides the controller, the other Xbox 360 peripherals pictured in the leaked photo were an apparently wireless headset and an EyeToy-like camera. The latter recalls the add-on mentioned by Microsoft corporate vice president and chief XNA architect J Allard at last year's E3, one which, as evidenced by Allard's demonstrative chitchat with Jenny McCarthy, would let Xbox Live subscribers videoconference one another.

Another photo leaked from the event shows a DVD remote for the Xbox 360, which, besides reconfirming the globular Xbox logo, appears to have some sort of Windows functionality. Beneath the traditional X/Y/A/B button configuration is a button with the distinctive Windows logo. Given recent comments by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, it's likely the insignia means that at least one version of the Xbox 360 will have Windows Media Center functionality.

Last but not least, a new image leaked on Ourcolony.net indicates the Xbox 360 will have customisable skins. The image shows five examples of the increasingly iconic power button--which is also featured as one of the rotating images on Ourcolony.net's home page--surrounded by multicolored patterns reminiscent of many currently available console skins. Such a feature would be in line with J Allard's keynote at this year's Game Developers Conference, during which he talked about the customisation demanded by today's youth, which he deemed "Generation Remix."

While convincing, it must be emphasised that none of the images have been confirmed by Microsoft. As of press time, spokespersons for the company had still not officially commented on the pictures.

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