Historically, a console life cycle has usually lasted about five to six years. So, with the Xbox 360 getting set to celebrate its sixth birthday this November, it shouldn't be a surprise that Microsoft is laying the groundwork for its next move in the gaming hardware market.
According to several job postings on LinkedIn, Microsoft is forming a team "responsible for defining and delivering next generation console architectures from conception through implementation." Currently, the company's Interactive Entertainment Business is hiring an Audio/Video Hardware Architect, Audio Architect, and a Graphics Architect for positions with descriptions that contain the aforementioned language.
Another position, for Wireless DV Engineer, will play "a key role in the development and verification of the Xbox and future platforms." (Emphasis added.) The Xbox division is also hiring a Design Verification Engineer and a Senior Hardware Verification Engineer.
Microsoft's original Xbox model came out in November 2005 and was beset with hardware failures that ended up costing the company in excess of $1 billion due to warranty extensions. The problems were largely remedied with newer chipsets, with the whole console undergoing a redesign that resulted in 2010's slimline Xbox 360 S. That model is the one currently on the market in both 4GB and 250GB configurations.