A somewhat ambiguous posting on a web portfolio of a designer currently working for Microsoft has got tongues wagging about a potential 2015 launch date for the next Xbox console.
Posted by Ben Peterson, who was recently recruited to work at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, the art (spotted by ZDNet) reads: "Confidential / Collaboration with Microsoft’s IEB Design Group investigating future user experiences and hardware for 2015."
You can see the full sized image below.
Until recently there had been an increasing belief that the traditional hardware cycle as we knew it was over, with launches such as Xbox 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move being marketed as life-expanding re-launches of their host machines.
Indeed, SCE boss Kaz Hirai recently insisted that the company is "not deliberating" PS4 and argued once gain that the four year old PS3 is not even middle aged.
Some, such as Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, have even predicted the death of console hardware as we know it due to the increasing competition offered by social gaming and potential cloud gaming networks such as OnLive.
However, there have been signs that faith in this belief has wavered.
Last year Capcom’s European CEO (and former PlayStation boss) David Reeves predicted a new wave of machines would arrive in two to three years.
And developer Bungie recently admitted that it was positioning its future technology to be easily adaptable to the eventual emergence of new machines.
UPDATE: The student in question has confirmed to Eurogamer that the image is nothing more than a student project.