Rumor Mill: Xbox 720 Arrives in 2012, Main Designer Replaced

New device might have a lot in common with recent dashboard update

Rumors about the new home console from Microsoft have been growing in scope throughout 2011 and now a new batch suggests that gamers will see the device during 2012 and might be surprised by the design choices of the development team.

Unnamed sources inside Microsoft have told CNET that Don Coyner, who is the man who led the design process for both the original Xbox and the 360 follow-up, is not the man in charge of creating the basic structure and the design of the new gaming platform.

His replacement is Emma Williams, who has recently headed the team that developed the new interface update for the Xbox 360.

It’s not clear what position Coyner might have now inside Microsoft or what reasons the company might have for the switch in personnel.

Microsoft refused to confirm or deny the rumors, stating through a spokesperson that, “We don't comment on personnel issues.”

Don Coyner has been working at Microsoft since 1995 and has previously worked at Nintendo as a marketing manager for a number of years.

Since then he has been one of the major players in the development of the Xbox line of hardware and has managed to make the 360 one of the most successful devices of its generation.

During 2011 the home console has managed to increase its sales significantly, despite the fact that regular wisdom says that late in their life cycle sales numbers should be dropping.

The fact that Emma Williams has replaced Coyner might be a sign that Microsoft is more interested in making the next Xbox appeal to a wider audience, which might pick it up in order to get video content and social features, in addition to straight up video games.

The new interface update for the Xbox 360 introduced separate hub areas for social and video content and has expanded support for the Kinect motion tracking system.

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