Before you go leaping to any conclusions, do remember that Microsoft plans on keeping the Xbox 360 going until at least 2015 so we're not really talking imminent changes here. Nonetheless, the software giant has listed a plethora of new job openings, with the most interesting ones being at its Mountain View research campus, where a team responsible for "defining and delivering next generation console architectures" is looking for fresh blood. A graphics hardware architect is sought to ensure that the next Xbox strikes the optimal balance between the awesome and affordable, while a design verification engineer and a few others will be hired to test and help develop prototypes. This bolstering of numbers seems to indicate Microsoft is starting to ramp up research and development on its next-gen home entertainment linchpin, and while nothing's likely to emerge from those Mountain View labs in the short term, the mere sound of clanking tools and buzzing electrons is getting us excited already.