Microsoft Teases Xbox 720 Launch For E3 Launch in June

Here's a curious thing. If you direct your browser over to the Major Nelson blog, which covers Xbox Live related topics, you'll find a countdown timer to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 158 days and some odd hours from now. Above the timer is a three word statement: "And it's on..."

Yes folks, it's on indeed. Perhaps one of the worst kept secrets in cyberspace is that Microsoft is planning to unveil its next generation Xbox console at E3, and posting a countdown timer on the Major Nelson blog is a pretty big hint that Microsoft is prepping a big reveal. If not the Xbox 720, or whatever the next Xbox will be called, what else could it be?

E3 Countdown Timer

We won't even go there, because with all the leaks in 2012, a new Xbox console and second generation Kinect sensor are as close to sure bets as you can get. The real question is, what will the Xbox 720 bring to the table? A leaked Xbox presentation spanning 56 pages reveals some interesting tidbits, such as the inclusion of AMD graphics, the above referenced Kinect 2 sensor, and other details, though early specs and plans have a way of changing as time rolls on (more recent reports suggest an Nvidia chipset). Some early speculation has the Xbox 720 touting a quad-core Intel processor and 4GB-8GB of memory.

Xbox 360 Controller

The only thing we seem to know for sure, however, is that Microsoft wants to have its Xbox 720 on store shelves in time for the next holiday shopping season, and introducing Durango (Xbox 720's codename) at E3 aligns nicely with that goal. And barring a response from Sony, Microsoft is likely to dominate holiday sales. As we noted in our review of the Wii U, Nintendo's newest console misses the mark, and without a PlayStation 4 to contend with, the Xbox 720 could end up being the hottest selling tech toy of the season. There's certainly been plenty of pre-release interest in the un-released console, as evidenced by the number of search queries on Google for "Xbox 720."

Xbox 720 Mockup

In any event, the countdown has begun.