Next-gen console talk will not cease to exist until actual announcements for Microsoft's next Xbox and Sony's next PlayStation are officially announced. Until then, we'll have to settle for a heck of a lot of speculation and tons of analysts chiming on what they think will happen in the forthcoming home console generation.
According to Industry Gamers, analyst and marketing expert Scott Steinberg stated that...
"If I had to place my bets, I would say that Microsoft has been the most forward-looking of all three manufacturers; through a combination of skill and luck, Microsoft has very effectively positioned itself to lead the way forward through a combination of services, content and new hardware accessories - Kinect being the notable example,"
Kinect has been a pretty big factor in how Microsoft repackaged the Xbox 360 throughout 2011 and managed to stay ahead of the PlayStation 3 in global sales, although the 360 still trails the Nintendo Wii by a significant margin. Speaking of Nintendo, Steinberg doesn't see Nintendo as being quite as forward-looking for the next-gen of console gaming as Microsoft, saying...
"I think Nintendo desperately needs to play catch-up on the online, connected, and streaming multimedia fronts," ... "Nintendo's not unaware of the challenges it faces, but traditionally it's been a company that in the past has been very profitable and has very cleverly straddled the line between game and technology toy. They've almost been operating in a different market entirely... I would never count them out of the race, as we've seen countless times before in history, but certainly at this point they're going to have to give themselves a shot of adrenaline and really show why they're going to rocket to the front of the pack."
No one pegged the Wii to lead the pack this generation, yet it did and it has. A lot of naysayers looking down on the Wii U may be in for a rude awakening given that Nintendo is an unpredictable beast while both Microsoft and Sony play it "safe".
For now, no one really knows what Microsoft has planned for their next-gen home console other than a few rumors regarding the NextBox's hardware specs and an equally flimsy release date, which is supposedly targeted at a November, 2013 release.