Possible names include Xbox 3, Xbox 720, NeXtbox, Project Midway Redux

Although we are still at the dawn of the next-generation of consoles as we await the arrival of Wii and PlayStation 3, Microsoft is already looking at the next-next-generation. With the software giant's year-long head-start over its competition, its main responsibility is more of a maintenance and improvement of the Xbox 360 toddler rather than to be a frantic parent of a launch in its infancy.

Console generations are usually spaced five years apart. Even with four years to go, Microsoft admits that it is already working on the next Xbox, as revealed in a Kikizo video interview with European Xbox boss Chris Lewis.

"Of course we're thinking about [the next Xbox]. We're constantly thinking about the next thing, we have to. It's my point about complacency - you can't sit back on your laurels in this business - the consumer won't let you, the developers certainly won't let us. So that's happening right now," Lewis reaffirms. "We keep our development cycles very fast and high, that is the nature of the company and how we operate in terms of research and development, and that's no different than any other part of Microsoft."

Understandably, Lewis did not go further into the topic as the current focus of Microsoft’s efforts is towards the Xbox 360. Lewis believes that the next Xbox may be further away than some may think. Microsoft wishes to maintain the lifecycle of the Xbox 360 longer than the scant four years it did for the original Xbox by offering more options for customization and upgrades such as the HD-DVD add-on, 1080p capability and other peripherals.

"We want to give people the chance to continue to expand - either through accessories or storage, or the Live which continually evolves and broadens - 360 can evolve in its own right, and that's an important step that we took beyond [the original Xbox]."

Microsoft's acknowledgment of its plans for the next-next-generation demonstrates its long-term commitment to its Xbox brand and the console market.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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