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Microsoft countdown clock tips Xbox One announcement at E3

We may now have a time frame for the unveiling of the much anticipated Xbox One. Microsoft’s Xbox Live director of programming, Lawrence ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb, launched a clock on his official blog counting down to E3 2013, where some eager fans hope the next-gen console will make its debut.

Though Microsoft has not confirmed plans to launch the console at E3, the annual video game conference that will take place in Los Angeles this June, the rumour mill has taken the countdown to mean as much.

The clock was posted at 16:51 GMT on 2 January and is currently counting down from 158 days. Very little has been given by way of explanation for the countdown; only a short comment reading "And it's on..." accompanies the clock.

The frenzied belief that the countdown pertains to the reveal of the new console stems from a growing sense that the current generation of gaming hardware is reaching its expiry date. That view was given credence by the recent revelation that the UK games market dropped by 17.4 per cent in 2012, according to a report from retail analytics firm the Entertainment Retailers Association.

The recent launch of Nintendo's Wii U and increasing speculation about the prospect of Sony's PS4 may be exacerbating Microsoft’s desire to officially unveil the Xbox 360’s successor.

But will the Redmond-based firm surprise us all by jumping the gun at this year’s CES and divulging some info on its upcoming gaming system? We sure hope so.

Stay tuned to ITProPortal next week, as we will be attending CES 2013 in Las Vegas and keeping you up to date on all the latest consumer electronics news from the event.