There's no official word yet on the release date for the next-generation successors to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but a recent Los Angeles Times article suggests the launch timeframe for the next-generation gaming consoles could happen over the next several years.
The latest rumor originates from a recent lawsuit involving Activision that brought to light details of the company's publishing agreement with game developer Bungie.
The contract, a 10-year deal made between the two companies in 2010, indicates that Activision expects Bungie to launch a sci-fantasy, action shooter game code-named "Destiny" in November 2013 for the Xbox 360 as well as a specifically referenced Xbox 720. A game for the PlayStation 4 would arrive in 2014, as noted in the official agreement between Activision and Bungie.
So did that contract just inadvertently announce when we should expect the next Xbox and PlayStation consoles? Some might think so, considering the Xbox 360 turns 7 years old and the PlayStation 3 reaches six years of existence this year.
Microsoft representatives already announced that no new hardware would debut at the massive E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles -- the usual launch pad for new game console announcements. Technically, Microsoft did not announce the Xbox 360 at E3, but rather on a special announcement show on MTV several weeks before the gaming expo back in 2005.
Does next year present itself as an opportune time to launch a new gaming machine? My colleague (and CNET editor) Jeff Bakalar believes otherwise. "For Microsoft to come back in a year and a half (after E3) and release a brand new console is wishful thinking." However, the chips continue to stack up towards 2013 (and beyond) as the right time, since a recent PlayStation 4 expose and Xbox 720 rumors indicated both consoles would launch around then.
Do you think the new consoles are coming in 2013 and 2014? Sound off in our poll or in the comments.