This week Microsoft notified employees that new security measures will be implemented, such as limiting employee access at four Xbox and Interactive Entertainment Business locations. This is a move believed to maintain confidentiality concerning upcoming products and prevent potential leaks, especially those linked to the Xbox 720, GeekWire reports.
According to the report, this is the first time Microsoft has enforced security standards such as these. Until now, the company had practiced an open access policy across its Redmond campus, with employees previously holding access to any building.
Although the heightened security measures are believed to be a means of preventing Xbox 720 leaks, Microsoft did not mention the console in its staff memo. However, the limited-access buildings are key Xbox and Interactive Entertainment workplaces, which implies that the measures are Xbox-related.
The changed security policy could be another indication of the Xbox 720’s release date.
“If the company were aiming for a fall 2013 launch of a new console, it would make sense for preliminary systems to start arriving soon for internal testing,” writes Todd Bishop of GeekWire.
Microsoft has yet to unveil its Xbox 720, but it's generally believed that the console believed will launch within 18 months. This notion comes from a Microsoft job opening that was posted in early August. The ad described a Central Marketing Group Director position, seeking a candidate who would develop “branding strategies and marketing communications for the Microsoft brand.”
The Windows manufacturer slipped a hint about the Xbox 720 release date in the portion of the job description below:
“Over the next eighteen months Microsoft will release new versions of all of our most significant products including Windows (Client, Server, Phone and Azure) Office, and Xbox, along with completely new offerings like Microsoft Surface.”
After attending the 2012 Gamescom event in August, Electronic Arts Labels President Frank Gibeau provided insight as to when the next-generation consoles will launch. The EA executive said that he has seen both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 successors firsthand, CVG reports.
“We’re into the sixth or seventh year now of this generation of hardware and so it’s a mature market,” he told Bloomberg TV. “In terms of [software sales] fatigue, I consider it more of a mature market, a stable market. The new hardware is going to be coming out in about a year’s time, so we’re right around this period in time when the market’s going to slow down and then you have a new game changer coming with all new technology, all new hardware, and another growth period.”
Gibeau did not disclose any information about the names of these consoles, however.
“I don’t know what they’re calling them, I’m under non-disclosure so I can’t comment too much about what they’re specifically doing.”
Microsoft’s increased security follows an allegedly leaked patent that was discovered in early September. The filing that dates back to 2011 depicts an augmented reality gaming system in which images would be projected on to a player’s surrounding surfaces, creating a completely immersive gameplay environment.
Preceding this patent was a 56-page document from Microsoft detailing the company’s plans for its Xbox 720. The company responded to the discovery of these documents, which were found in June, but did not confirm or deny their validity. CVG reported that a source has confirmed the legitimacy of this paperwork, but until Microsoft makes any announcements, it can only be considered a rumor.