Xbox 720 'Oban Chip' already in production, claims sources
New sources indicate the processor chip for the Xbox 720 entered production in December 2011, according to technology website Fudzilla. Codenamed "Oban", the new main System on a Chip (SoC) for the Xbox 720 is reportedly being produced by both IBM and Global Foundries for Microsoft.
It is being said that "the power behind the next Xbox will be a PowerPC CPU that is married to an ATI Southern Islands GPU, or modified 7000 series."
If rumors are true, the first batch of these Oban chips will be shipped for developer consoles - making any chance for a 2012 console release highly impractical. However, according to sources, an announcement before the end of 2012 might at least be possible. Of course, Microsoft already squashed those chances when they told GameSpot there would be no Xbox 720 announcement at E3 2012, confirming they have "nothing to announce".
"It would seem Microsoft’s strategy of getting it in 2013 is all but assured," the website claims. "We do think that the chips will be in production by the end of the year for consoles destined to be sold in 2013."
Fellow technology publication Semiaccurate, which has also covered the production of the Oban chip, also speculates that the chips are likely scheduled for mass-production in December 2012 - meaning 2013 could be the start of the next-gen race.
There are currently whispers of development kits being expected as early as March or April of 2012, if all goes well. If true, we should have some more idea at what Microsoft twill be doing with the next-gen Xbox, or Xbox 720.