The production of the system of chip that will power Microsoft's next generation gaming platform, otherwise known as the Xbox 720 or the Next Xbox, has started according to tech websites Fudzilla and Semiaccurate.
Both sources claim that the first chips, which carry the codename Oban, were produced back in December 2011 and are being produced by IBM and Global Foundries using a 32nm Silicon-on-Insulator manufacturing process.
The first batch of processors is likely to find its way into developer consoles - which will be seeded to various game production firms worldwide, either in March or in April.
This means that a 2012 release at the Electronic Entertainment Expo is very unlikely, even more so, as Microsoft needs to focus on the release of Windows 8 as well. A 2013 release window appears more likely.
As for the chipset itself, it will be based on a PowerPC processor with an ATI/AMD Southern Islands GPU, possibly a customised 7000 Series but no x86 processor.
Life for a lounge-bound, traditional gaming console is likely to be made impossibly difficult thanks to the ubiquity of mobile gaming platforms. By the time the Xbox 720 is released, mainstream smartphones are likely to be running on quad core chipsets with seamless integration with existing gaming environments.