Microsoft to launch Xbox 720 in May with AMD x86-based chipset

Potentially dubbed the Xbox 720, Microsoft's eagerly anticipated next-generation video game console is now sat firmly on the horizon, with multiple sources tipping the US tech giant and Windows 8 manufacturer to announce its new system at a 21 May event.

The Verge claims to have independently verified the launch date, which was originally outed by well-known Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott in his 'What the Tech' podcast.

Like the muted Sony PlayStation 4 unveiling back in February, Microsoft's late-May announcement may only reveal early details about the next Xbox, which is being produced under the Durango codename.

But while there may not be a physical console to ogle on 21 May, a teaser event by Microsoft would set the stage for a grand Xbox 720 vs PlayStation 4 showdown at E3 in June - a scenario many pundits think likely.

Unsurprisingly, Thurrott tipped Microsoft's new console to be "expensive." Apparently, it will retail from $500 in the US - a direct conversion would equate to rather reasonable UK pricing of around £325, though there will inevitably be a premium imposed for export markets. For what it's worth, we'd expect the new Xbox to cost at least £400 when it arrives later in the year.

Intriguingly, Thurrott added that Microsoft's new gaming system may simply be dubbed 'the Xbox' - a minimalist branding move that would obviously remind of Apple's 'new iPad' moniker.

The next Xbox will also come available for $300 (£195) as part of a subscription package, the blogger claimed, while pricing for the Xbox 360 will be dropped to just $99 (£65) in a nod to concerns regarding backward compatibility on the new console.

Elsewhere, Bloomberg is reporting that the new Xbox will feature an AMD x86-based chipset. If accurate, the reports would surely point to a lucrative 2013 for the semiconductor manufacturer, who will also provide the processor for the PlayStation 4. AMD shares jumped 13 per cent on the back of the news.

Bring yourself fully up to speed on Microsoft's next-gen console with our roundup of the best Xbox 720 rumours, specs, and release date gossip.