Like every other gaming website on the planet, we have written countless articles about what the next generation of consoles might hold. While the ageing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are still running strong, the questions surrounding their successors are never far from our minds. While neither Sony or Microsoft has officially confirmed what they have planned, the gaming news industry has been abuzz with what might be the first official statement regarding the next generation of the Xbox console. While not directly confirming anything specific, a recent interview with one of the higher-ups at Microsoft did lead to a direct reference to “the new Xbox.” Could this be what the fans have been waiting for? I wouldn’t break out the bubbly just yet.

The interview in question occurred between The Verge and Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall, on their podcast called “The Vergecast.” Hall was there to discuss the new products coming out from Microsoft, including new versions of Outlook and Office, and other products that will complement the upcoming launch of Windows 8. Of particular note, Hall included “the new Xbox” when he listed said products. This is what many consider to be the first semi-official confirmation that there is a new Xbox console in development, as no previous statements have been that specific. However, the utterance of the words “the new Xbox” doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re any closer to seeing it.

In response to the flood of news articles that followed this story breaking, Microsoft has officially responded by taking a more neutral stance. Noting that the Xbox 360 has exceeded its life expectancy, the are instead looking for new and inventive ways to prolong the life of the console even further. The statement outlines the Kinect and the design overhaul of the dashboard as two examples of this, along with content partnerships that Microsoft has reached over the years.  What Hall could have been referring to was either a re-designed Xbox 360 console, or perhaps software updates to the platform.

While the official statement from Microsoft doesn’t deny that a new Xbox is in development, they also haven’t gone any further towards confirming it. The Xbox 360 will turn seven in November, which is beyond the point in the system life-cycle when we start to see a decline. The fact that we will eventually see  new Xbox console is not in doubt, but for now, its existence remains rumour and speculation.