Xbox 2 Before PS3?Microsoft Japans new Xbox division chief Yoshihiro Maruyama says that his companys next generation machine, casually referred to by media outlets as the Xbox Next, will not see its shadow until 2006. Maruyamas comments support statements made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last year, when he told the Nikkei Journal that the console will be released no sooner than 2006 in Japan. But whether the Xbox Next will be out before or after Sonys next generation machine is not decided, according to an interview with Maruyama contained in the current issue of Famitsu. "I hope that we can release the machine in the near future, but it wont be next year," commented Maruyama, who joined Microsoft last September after being hired away from Square Enix. "Considering that the PlayStation 2 is entering its fifth year and that its game lineup is in its prime, were estimating that the successor to that console will be released after 2006. Whether well release the successor of the Xbox before the PS2s needs to be decided carefully. It has strong pros and cons." One of the issues surrounding the original Xbox was the fact it was was considerably larger than other game consoles in the market. Rumors have been floating the Xbox Next will be considerably smaller and possibly uses notebook PC components. While Maruyama did not comment on specifics, he confirmed that the Xbox Next will indeed be smaller than the current Xbox. "In terms of hardware, we get a lot of requests asking us to reduce the consoles size. Actually, I was thinking so myself before coming to Microsoft. We promise that well make the new console smaller," Maruyama said.