Word out of Engadget is that Microsoft is on a hiring spree for new Xbox hardware developers. Unless the old hardware developers up and left or were fired, I think it’s safe to assume that Microsoft might be tooling up for the next iteration of its increasingly dominant console (yes, I know Wii has still sold more, but the 360 is becoming iconic). The next gen consoles have already overstayed their normal 5 year cycle and Microsoft needed to ride that out in order to be profitable with each unit sold so I don’t think there are any complaints about the next generation emerging.
This may just be the right time. Without considerably changing manufacturing procedures and with hardware becoming cheaper, more powerful, and less energy intensive, Microsoft may be able to take the next console profitable right out of the gate. If they learned anything from the success of the 360 and if the entire industry learned anything from the un-killable nature of the PS2, Microsoft will ensure they come out first with the next generation, ensure backward compatibility, be prepared with a large stable of games and maybe, just maybe, give us more than a pittance of hard drive space.
I can’t predict what’s coming, this is what I hope to see: At least 1Tb space pretty please, the usual (more powerful blah blah, faster yadda yadda), Kinect hardware with its own chip so that t doesn’t outsource to the console (unless the console is beast enough), throw in a bluray player for good measure, play nice with my flash drive, more video formats (.mkv love), A browser and the option to throw one in of your liking, DVR capabilities with more than just sucky AT&T Uverse, and most importantly I want silence.
Of course, this wishlist is likely to change and the final capabilities along with them because we already know that the 360 is meant to be the primary going concern at least through 2015. So it could be another 5 years before we get any next gen goodness. More than enough time for one of the other companies to beat Microsoft to the punch, you know, like tradition (except in the case of the 360).