Microsoft is set to unveil the Xbox 720 at CES 2012 in January, with developer versions of the next-gen console landing before Christmas.
This is according to Edge magazine – owned by the same publishers as TechRadar – which is reporting that it has a source close to the matter working at Ubisoft Montreal.
Both Sony and Microsoft have denied that next-gen versions of their consoles are close to being released but Edge believes that Microsoft is hard at work prepping the Xbox 720 for a late 2012 release date and a surprise showing at CES 2012, which takes place in January.
According to Edge, Ubisoft Montreal – which is not commenting on rumour or indeed speculation – is already working on PCs which have been kitted out with the Xbox 720's specs.
Although these specifications aren't known, the GPU for the kit is apparently made by AMD.
Check out our '5 things we want to see in the Xbox 720' video.
All about the next gen
If 2012 is indeed the year for the Xbox 720, then it would mean that Microsoft isn't going to let the Nintendo Wii U take much of the next-gen limelight when it is also released in 2012.
Just last week it was leaked that the codename for the next-gen Xbox was Loop and this week Brian Prince, Senior Architect Evangelist for Microsoft, hinted that he was working on some "exciting cloud-based stuff" for the Xbox platform.
While we assumed this was for the Xbox 360, could he have been talking about the Xbox 720?
This isn't the first time an Xbox 720 release date was rumoured. In October, it was reported that the next-gen console would be launching at gaming expo E3 in 2013.
This makes a lot of sense considering the Xbox 360 made its debut at E3 2005, but it is always nice to have a release date rumour in the week that marks 10 years since the arrival of the original Xbox.
Edge is also hinting that Sony is working on a quicker release of the PlayStation 4. In its report it believes that "one major Sony-owned studio has now ceased PlayStation 3 development [with] its entire focus having shifted to the console's successor."
CES is known for its big tech launches but we're not sure if it is the place to show off the Xbox 720. Edge is a reputable source, however, so we are badging this as Quite Likely.