Chris Lewis, Xbox's EMEA VP, has estimated that the Xbox 360 is about halfway through its life cycle, explaining that Kinect has given the machine extra legs.

"We see it as about halfway through." he told MCV. "Xbox is defying the normal curve you might expect. There's no doubt that Kinect put a huge shot of adrenaline into the business."

"What we are now seeing is massive swathes of families and younger audiences flocking to it. As you saw at the press conference, we are now in line with what we projected at E3 2010."

It isn't all about families, however, and Lewis is aware of the commitments Microsoft has to its core audience.

"What you will see is us using Kinect to enhance the experience and not detract from it. I don't think our core gamers will tolerate anything else from us."

The 360 has been on the scene for nearly six years now, which - going by Lewis' estimations - will mean the console will have finished its cycle by 2017. Obviously there's overlap between generations, but with the announcement of a new machine likely at E3 2012, it's fair to assume the 360 is a little further on in this cycle than Microsoft is willing to admit. Either that, or Microsoft anticipates a hugely long tail for the Xbox 360 as a low cost, casual gaming device.