The successor to the Xbox 360, reportedly dubbed the Xbox 720, will arrive within 18 months, according to a now-deleted Microsoft job posting.
A job advertisement briefly posted on Microsoft's careers website said that within the next year and a half, the Redmond-based company will release new versions of all of its significant products, including Windows, Office, and Xbox.
"The wave of product launches will define the course of the company for years to come and thus provide an unprecedented opportunity for us to refresh and evolve our strategic brands," the ad said, according to a screenshot (below).
The ad has since been removed from Microsoft's careers site. According to a company spokeswoman, "Microsoft is always looking for talented people to innovate now and in the future. We don't have any further comment on this or any other job posting."
Microsoft has already announced the next versions of Windows and Office. But official details about the next-gen Xbox have been scarce. The company said in March that it would not introduce a new Xbox at this year's E3 gaming conference and that 2012 would be "all about Xbox 360."
The 18-month window mentioned in the Microsoft ad, however, gives Microsoft until early 2014 to introduce a new Xbox - almost a decade after the 2005 debut of the Xbox 360.
In June, a 56-page document titled "XBox 720-9-24 Checkpoint Draft 1" leaked to the web. It said that Microsoft's next-gen console would be called the Xbox 720, include major hardware and software upgrades, and be released ahead of the 2013 holiday season. Microsoft later tried to have the document pulled offline.
Rumours about what the next Xbox might include have been flying since the beginning of the year, including speculation that the next Microsoft console will have: built-in software that refuses to recognise used games, a controller with a built-in touch screen, and a new chipset codenamed Oban that runs on a Power PC central processor from IBM with Radeon HD 7000-series graphics from Advanced Micro Devices.
In July, meanwhile, Microsoft's effort to gain ownership of domain names for Xbox 8 prompted renewed speculation about the console.