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The race for the Next Gen crown starts in 2012...

Platforms: Android | Microsoft Xbox 360 | Nintendo Wii-U | Sony PlayStation 3

The next generation arrives in 2012! That's our current prediction for the next major iterations of both the Xbox and Playstation platforms.

With the Nintendo Wii-U scheduled to make an appearance in the same year, it could be we have a direct three-way fight for supremacy as none of the stakeholders want to be the last to leave the starting blocks.

The Wii-U will be a major step up in processing power for Nintendo's lead platform, but it's not expected to be a significant improvement over the 360 and PS3. If, as rumoured elsewhere, the Xbox 720 appears by next Christmas, Nintendo will be quickly knocked onto the back foot. We know that development on the next-gen Xbox has been going on for some time with key platform leads working on hardware and software. Now Edge are reporting that some studios, including Ubisoft Montreal have received 'target kit' which is likely to broadly match the specs and functionality of the next Xbox and that official dev hardware will be hitting studios early next year.

Elsewhere, Sony, have recently shutdown all PS3 development at one of their key studios and have shifted them towards software development for their new, as yet unannounced, platform.

We think the first six months of 2012 are going to be make or break for the three main console manufacturers - with Microsoft looking increasingly likely to announce their slimmed-down, Kinect enabled console in January at CES in Las Vegas and Ninty showing off their final Wii-U hardware next June, Sony will have to do something to ensure they don't end up playing catchup as they have this generation...

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