An anonymous source has claimed that a number of video game developers and publishers now have access to development kits for the home console that Microsoft will launch to replace the Xbox 360, which has been called the Xbox 720 by the gaming community.
Ubisoft Montreal is said to be the latest studio to have received such a kit, with the sources saying that the consoles are running custom software and components from Microsoft, with the graphics processing units apparently provided by AMD, although the model is not known.
Electronic Arts is also said to be in possession of a Xbox 720 development kit and more studios are set to receive them before Christmas, as Microsoft tries to get developers interested in the new device and show them what kind of gaming experience it can deliver.
Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Microsoft have repeatedly said that they are not prepared to comment on rumors and speculations when confronted with rumors about the next generation consoles that are said to be in development at the moment.
Rumors were supported by the fact that four employees from Microsoft made the mistake of listing work on next generation systems on their LinkedIn profiles with the creative director of Kinect also being implicated in work on a new console.
Nintendo is preparing to launch its new Wii U platform during 2012, presumably summer just after E3, and the device will offer the same computing power as the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 and will use a new controller which incorporates a touch screen.
The official line from both Sony and Microsoft is that they still have long term plans for their current gaming platforms, aiming for a ten year life cycle.
Industry watchers have speculated that next generation devices could have incorporated motion tracking, more 3D features and attached digital distribution solutions.