Microsoft bosstype Robbie Bach has confirmed the company is already considering options for its next console - and has been since before Xbox 360 even launched.
"We start thinking about the next generation before we shipped the Xbox 360," he told Venturebeat.
"It doesn’t start with a date. It starts way upstream with silicon development. From that comes a series of data points. You start making early technology choices. It’s an evolving thing. Stuff doesn’t become concrete until you get inside a window of when you have to ship, more than 18 months or so out."
However, that doesn't mean we're likely to see the next Xbox any time soon. "Our view is we will be selling Xbox 360 for a long time. We are always working on new technologies. We have people working on those."
How many people, Robbie? "People ask me how many people I have working on the next generation. On the one hand, it’s everybody. On the other, it’s nobody." Right. "People are continuously working on new technology." Thanks for that.
When asked if Microsoft plans to launch its new machine before Sony once again, Bach replied, "Too early to tell." But he added, "If you take the question of whether it was the right thing to try to be first, the answer to that is definitely yes. It has given us a leg up in a number of places that are super important. It has given us a leg up with game developers. It has given us a leg up from an economics perspective. It helped us expand Xbox Live quickly.
"At a strategy level, if you asked if we wanted to be first again, I would say yes."
Last time around it was all a happy accident, according to Bach. "The truth is when we set that date, we didn’t do it to be first. We thought Sony would ship at that point. But they slipped a year."
Read the full interview for more from Bach, including his views on the three red lights of death.