New Xbox 720 rumors dampen our enthusiasm

Last week we learned, via the rumor mill, that the Xbox 720 (the generally accepted made-up name for the successor to the Xbox 360) was coming in 2013, with a big announcement planned for this year's E3 show in June. Of course as with every rumor, I added plenty of caveats.

Sadly it seems it's already time for me to invoke those caveats. Maybe. Vague enough for you? Let me stop beating around the bush. It turns out that Cedrick Delmas, who is marketing manager for Microsoft France, spoke to LePoint (page is in French) and that conversation was translated by Eurogamer. So already we're several steps and one translation from the source. Keep that in mind.

Anyway. Delmas said that he is "not convinced that things will happen this year" and that "there will be nothing new in 2012." A lot of sources took this to mean that there will be no announcements this year, but the way I'm reading it, he's saying there will be no new product launched this year. If I'm correct then our 2013 rumor can still stand. If I'm wrong...well then we're probably looking at 2014 at the earliest. I base my possibly optimistic opinion on Delmas also saying "Afterward, what will happen at E3, it's still too early to say."

Now I don't actually believe that. I can't imagine that Microsoft doesn't already know exactly what it's going to say at E3. But the main point that Delmas seemed to be making was that Microsoft isn't responding to Nintendo and the Wii U. Instead, Microsoft is doing what it thinks is best for Microsoft and gamers.

Eurogamer ends the piece with a bit of new rumor mongering. They're suggesting that whenever Xbox 720 does launch, there'll be two SKUs. One will be a very pared-down set-top box. They call it a Kinect-themed gaming portal. I'd suggest it's closer to a media hub to bring all that new video content to homes everywhere. Anyway, the second SKU will be a typical gaming console with optical and hard drives. Basically what we think of when we think "Xbox 720."

Speaking of video content on the Xbox, this week Microsoft added two new sources to the Xbox 360: CinemaNow (which offers streaming TV and movie rentals and sales) and Crackle (free older movies and TV shows). Neither of those seem super-exciting to me, but it is interesting that Crackle, which is owned by Sony, would show up on the Xbox 360.

Also, in case you haven't checked it out yet (I haven't had the chance) I'm hearing good things about the new co-op Syndicate demo. Syndicate is one of those beloved IPs from yesteryear that caused howls of outrage when word got out that it was getting resurrected as a shooter. My friends tell me it's time to set aside the hate and give the demo a try. The full game is scheduled for Feb. 21st.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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