Eight years after the first Xbox 360 units shipped, Microsoft will finally pull the curtains off its long-awaited successor, thought to be the Xbox 720, on 21 May.

The company is holding a press event at 10 a.m. Pacific Time (6pm UK time) that day that will be live-streamed on the Web.

"On that day, we'll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future," Microsoft said on the website.

The company plans to talk about the console games a few weeks later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo - widely known as E3 - which will be held in Los Angeles June 11-13.

The Microsoft announcement follows Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 4 in February. The PS4 gaming console hasn't been shown yet, but is expected to become available later this year during the holiday shopping season.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is [email protected]

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