Established Xbox rumour-monger ‘MS Nerd’ has claimed Microsoft will reveal a new Xbox Lite console at E3 in June.
The device, he says, will be similar in design to Apple TV, containing an ARM-based architecture and retailing for something in the region of £100.
It will focus on Xbox’s networked features such as streaming video and social networks and also work with the newer version of Kinect that has to date only been confirmed for PC.
"At some point after [the Xbox Lite], we'll see a Xbox Next, a true successor to the 360," he claims. "Details about it are very hazy, except that, like the 360, it will do games for core-audiences and the same media apps as the other device, also with Kinect."
Indeed, could this be the disc-less Xbox that MCV was tipped off about earlier this month?
MS Nerd adds that a true successor to Xbox 360 will follow the launch in 2013.
The validity of these claims is entirely up for question, of course – we won’t have any definitive answers until the weeks running up to E3 at the earliest.
While the thirst for next-gen machines continues, it does appear that there has been a change of strategy at Microsoft.
MCV revealed in January that both Microsoft and Sony were intending to reveal new hardware at E3 this year. At the time Microsoft’s position was the usual “we don’t comment on rumour and speculation”.
This stance, however, has changed, with Microsoft now highlighting the virtues of Xbox 360 and emphasising its long life ahead in response to any rumours of a new machine.
Indeed, the platform holder has even come out and outright denied that a new machine announcement is imminent.
And the truth of it is that Sony’s strategy is being dictated by Microsoft’s decision. The platform holder is determined to not allow a new Xbox the same head start on the market that Xbox 360 had over PS4.
It would, however, be more than happy to keep developing PS4 for another year – and Microsoft’s apparent decision to put back its Xbox 720 plans gives it licence to do so.