E3 2011’s over. If you were sleeping under a rock, you can catch up on all Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s press conferences at Ubergizmo’s live.ubergizmo.com channel (it’s still up there, for now). While Nintendo and Sony both unveiled new hardware – the Wii U and the PS Vita, Microsoft chose to focus its concentration on expanding Kinect’s potential with a variety of games including Kinect Star Wars and Forza 4. According to VideoGamer, a “high ranking source” from Crytek reports that Microsoft will reveal its plans for the next Xbox 360 within the next 12 months.

As history has proven, the best place to reveal new hardware is at E3, the largest video game trade show of the year. VideoGamer says that Crytek is already working on TimeSplitters 4 for the new Xbox 360 successor and is basing all next-gen development off of DirectX 11. Our two cents on the rumor? It seems plausible, given how Microsoft’s plan to rival the PS3’s 10-year life cycle is in motion. Revealing the console next year would make for a delectable first round tease, with a release in 2013 more likely.

We don’t think Microsoft is worried about the Wii U’s launch next year, as Nintendo is merely catching up to the 360 and PS3 in terms of HD graphics and power. Adding more fuel, we think Microsoft could even build in Kinect’s motion powers, given how hard the company and Kinect daddy Kudo Tsunoda are stressing the accessory.

Should Microsoft release the next Xbox in 2013 or 2014, the 360 will only be turning eight and nine-years-old, which leaves plenty of time for the console’s life to taper off and for gamers to transition to the next console. Heck, Microsoft doesn’t even need to kill off the 360, but price it as a budget gaming experience, much like Sony did with the PS2 when pushing full steam ahead with its PS3.

Whatever the case, the console race is heating up again, with the Wii U looking to start the next generation of home consoles early. The big question is: are you ready for a new console?

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