The Xbox 360 was released in late 2005 and the console is still running strong. Based on a couple of job postings on social networking site LinkedIn, it appears that work is now underway for the next generation Xbox console.
The Xbox Console Architecture team appears to be early on in their process. One position is for a Graphics Architect and the listing states that the job entails, “architecture analysis, key technology selection, architecture specification,” implying that the graphics hardware selection process has not yet begun. Since the GPU is one of the main driving forces in a new console, it’s probably safe to say that we’re in the early conceptual stages of the device. The job description goes on to say that, “The ideal candidate will have been the lead architect and/or implementation lead of a 3D graphics core. The candidate must have taken designs from investigation to end-customer shipment during their career.” One would have to think that this statement severely decreases the qualified applicant pool.
The second position is for a Senior Architect and Performance Engineer and continues to point to the fact that Microsoft is in the early stages of the project with the statement, “involved in product definition from early evaluation all the way through high volume manufacturing.” The job requires pre and post silicon performance and functional validation, as well as the development of performance tools and test suites.
Since Microsoft is beginning to staff up for the next generation Xbox, it’s safe to assume that Sony and Nintendo will be starting to do so as well if they haven’t already. It also appears that we will be using the Xbox 360 for quite some time at this point since it takes a long time to create a design, perfect it, and then mass market the product. This falls in line with what Microsoft’s Chad Lewis said in 2010: “What you’ve seen is with this new sleek design and Kinect for Xbox 360 we’ve got at least another five years of this generation where we continue to offer great experiences for people.”
Let’s just hope it’s not called the Xbox 720.