Microsoft is faced with the decision of whether to risk launching its XBox 2 by Christmas of 2005, giving it an edge and first to market over the competition, but it also means that the competition can then adapt their console designs and claim superiority. According to developer reports and to a steady supply of leaked statements, Microsoft's next-gen console is the one that is nearest release.
US sources, including a major publisher claiming that Microsoft is definitely targeting Christmas 2005 with its next XBox, have been insisting that MS is willing to take that risk, especially when considering that PS3s launch may be pushed back as far as 2007. The first reports surfaced when developers began revealing XBox 2 game release dates which were very close to the Christmas 2005 season.
Microsoft has suffered this round of the console wars, largely due to Sony's head start with the PS2 and the news coming from Sony itself can only be seen as encouraging with Sony's European chief David Reeves, already having claimed that the PlayStation 2 is only halfway through its life-cycle. There is also speculation that Sony's insistence to integrate high-end DVD technology into the PS3 may also lead to a delay.
If all these prove right, Microsoft could end up with a one year jump on the PlayStation 3, with Nintendo's offering, currently codenamed Revolution, expected to appear half-way between the two.