Nintendo Wii U confirmed, PlayStation 4 rumoured: Where's Microsoft's Xbox 720?

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By Alastair Stevenson | July 9, 2011 12:55 AM EST

With Nintendo's new Wii U confirmed and rumours flying about Sony's PlayStation 4, analysts are questioning just when Microsoft's adoring fans will get word of its next generation Xbox 720.

The Wii U

Originally codenamed Project Cafe, Nintendo's Wii was unveiled at this year's E3 expo.

Despite being "unveiled", little is known about the exact tech spec, price or release date of the Wii U.

Thus far all that is known for sure about the Wii U is that it the it will have a tablet sized controller with its own touch screen and will be capable of running HD 1080p graphics.

The console will also have upgradable flash memory that can be added to using USB and SD memory cards.

Like the Wii, games will be available for download online and through high-density optical discs.
Additionally, the Wii U will be backwards compatible with all Wii software and devices -- including the odder peripherals like the Wii balance board and classic controller.   

Outside of this, the console's graphical prowess and release date have become the source of heated debate. In an interview with Forbes earlier this week President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime did release a few more details.

Fils-Anime clarified that the Wii U would be release after the second quarter of 2012. He also shed some light on the console's graphical prowess stating that Nintendo has never been about graphics -- indicating that the Wii U may not dramatically improve on the quality of the current generation PS3 and Xbox 360's graphics.

The PlayStation 4

The most recent news regarding Sony's as yet unconfirmed PlayStation 4 came from the Digitimes earlier this week.

In its report the Digitimes claimed unnamed sources had revealed that the new console was set for release in 2012.

It also reported that unnamed the same unnamed sources also revealed that Sony had instructed the Taiwan-based Foxcon and Pegatron Technology manufacturers to begin assembly of as many as 20 million PS4s earlier this year.
Before this there were reports this May that a certain Sony executive had accidentally revealed the PS4's existence at a shareholder meeting.

Xbox 720 rumours

Of the big three, rumours about Microsoft's next Xbox 360 -- commonly referred to as the Xbox 720 -- have been uncharacteristically few-and-far-between.

The last semi-believable rumour surfaced in June when an unnamed source from Crysis 2 developer Crytek revealed to Videogamer that Microsoft's next generation Xbox is in development and set to be shown at 2012's E3 conference.

Unfortunately, since then the developer has issued an official statement vehemently denying Videogamer's report.

Before this, the last semi-plausible rumour regarding the Xbox 720 came from Engadget.

Engadget's report speculated that a number of new job openings at Microsoft could be seen as evidence that the new Xbox was in development.

The crux of the rumour came from the fact that many of the jobs were for its Mountain View research campus, which reportedly houses the team responsible for "defining and delivering next generation console architectures".

There is yet to be any official word from Microsoft about Engadget's rumour, though to date it remains the only semi-plausible 720 rumour yet to be officially denied.

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