Microsoft job postings suggest new Xbox console development?

Xbox 360 250GB Console with KinectMicrosoft launched its Xbox 360 gaming console in 2005 and it’s still going strong today. More than that, gaming as a whole has reached new peaks of popularity since the latest console generation began, with everything from online gaming to digital content delivery to mobile technology to high-definition displays inspiring larger numbers of people to embrace interactive experiences. The traditional 5-6 year console life cycle no longer applies as a result of these changes, though that doesn’t mean the industry’s top companies aren’t looking ahead to what’s next.

It certainly seems that Microsoft is. A series of new job postings on LinkedIn (spotted by a forum member at Beyond3D) pretty explicitly point to long-term development plans for a next-generation console. Three positions are being filled: graphics architect (Xbox hardware), performance architect (Xbox hardware) and hardware verification engineer (Xbox console). A snippet from the graphics architect posting’s job description may be most telling: “The team is responsible for defining and delivering next generation console architectures from conception through implementation.”

To be clear, these open positions do not necessarily indicate that work is underway on a next-gen Microsoft console. You can bet that somewhere within the depths of the company’s research & development department, someone is sketching out what the future of Xbox might look like. But these positions specifically could mean any number of things.

Perhaps Microsoft is looking at improving the current console’s internal hardware. Or maybe the company is at long last considering a leap into the portable gaming space. It could even simply be a case of employee turnover, with newly vacated positions needing to be filled. There are any number of possibilities. Now you’re thinking about them all though, right?