A prominent industry analyst believes Microsoft has little interest in replacing its flagship Xbox 360 with a newer console in 2012.
According to Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, rumors of an Xbox 720 launch as early as next year are just plain "silly," simply because the older platform is still selling quite well.
"Microsoft is still selling a ton of Xbox 360s, and they won't replace the existing one until sales begin to slow,” Pachter told Industry Gamers.
"I think the rumors are based upon leaks about modifying the current Xbox 360 to allow it to operate Windows 8. I fully expect a new model of Xbox 360 by holiday 2012, but don't think we see a new console altogether from Microsoft until 2014."
However, as Destructoid’s Jim Sterling notes, the Xbox 360 is already showing its age and 2014 is still some two years away.
"I [really] wonder if Microsoft can wait that long. The PS2 still sold a ton when the PS3 was out, and while Sony's obviously a different company, I would say that console releases are about more than just replacing the falling sales of the last machine," Sterling opined.
"Keeping up with the Joneses and grabbing press attention with shiny new toys is just as, if not more, important. I don't think the Xbox 360's success can be taken as sole evidence that a new console isn't on the horizon."
Although details about the next-gen console are understandably scarce, MS Nerd claims the 360's successor will be based on a modded Windows 9 core that uses a Zune HD-like hardware platform.
The site describes the platform as "a 'main' processor with multiple dedicated assistive cores for graphics, AI, physics, sound, networking, encryption and sensors."
Interestingly enough, MS Nerd also claims the console - reportedly designed by Microsoft and three partners (AMD, Imagination Technologies & Samsung) - is based on ARM architecture.