Microsoft: Don't expect a new Xbox anytime soon

Software giant says it will spend all its time talking about the Xbox 360 at this year's E3 gaming expo.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Microsoft is happy to hear about excitement surrounding a new Xbox, but the company cautioned recently that such a scenario is still premature.

"While we appreciate all the interest in our long-range plans for the future, we can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon," Microsoft Corporate Communications chief Frank Shaw told All Things Digital in an interview published Friday. "For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360."

And for good reason. Microsoft's console has been handily beating Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii in monthly U.S. sales. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it sold 426,000 Xbox 360 units in February, easily outpacing the Wii's 228,000 unit sales. Sony didn't divulge unit sales for last month.

Although the Xbox 360 just celebrated its sixth birthday, sales are actually accelerating--a feat not often seen at such a late stage in a tech product's lifecycle.

The Xbox 360's secret sauce in the U.S. is made up of two key elements: pricing and games. Consumers can pick up the device for as little as $200, putting it within striking distance of the $150 Wii. What's more, game developers have been doubling down on the console, bringing many of their top titles to the platform. Some gamers consider the Xbox 360's title library the deepest in the business right now.

All that success and developer desire to continue to bring games to the console has ostensibly reduced Microsoft's desire to offer up something new anytime soon. In the past, game consoles would usually start to see demand falter after about five years.

Still, all this hasn't stopped the rumor mill from working overtime to determine what Microsoft might have planned for its next console. In October, video games site Develop reported that Microsoft was planning to announce the next Xbox at the E3 gaming show. Less than a month later, U.K.'s Edge Online cited sources who made the same claim. It was also reported at that time that the next Xbox would come with enough graphics firepower to match those found in the 2009 megahit "Avatar."

Gaming blog Kotaku said earlier this year that the next Xbox will feature built-in technology that stops people from playing used games on the device. Used games have long been a thorn in developers' sides, since the revenue generated from them goes solely to retailers, like GameStop, and not to the companies that have actually created the titles.

Although Microsoft won't be talking up the next Xbox at E3 in June, it will still have something to say about its current console. And CNET will be there to cover it.