Nice catch by PC World this morning, digging up a series of job posts on LinkedIn that show Microsoft staffing up the Xbox team responsible for “next generation console architectures” — which translates into a successor to the Xbox 360, or an evolution of it.

What really caught my eye wasn’t the fact that Microsoft is hiring but instead the clear interest in 3D gaming technologies demonstrated by one of the postings. This is one area where Sony’s PlayStation 3 has been out ahead of Microsoft, and it’s notable that the Redmond company actively preparing, at least, to move in that direction.

“The ideal candidate should have a broad background in 3D graphics rendering architectures and algorithms (ideally with gaming applications in mind), 3D software pipelines, and physics,” reads the job listing, adding later, “The ideal candidate will have been the lead architect and/or implementation lead of a 3D graphics core.”

I’m still a skeptic on 3D content in the living room in general, until there’s an inexpensive, glasses-free technology that works really well. But I believe video games are the exception in the short term. Gamers are accustomed to wearing goofy equipment, like headsets, so glasses won’t be much of a stretch. I also had a brief experience with a 3D console game recently that convinced me of the value, particularly in shooters.

The combination of Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor and 3D would be pretty wicked. Or at least nauseatingly good.

PC World’s Matt Peckham interprets another job listing, focusing on the on-board console silicon, to suggest that is “not really persuaded by the whole cloud-streaming-games phenomenon.” But it’s more likely that the company will continue to apply its “software-plus-services” model here — leveraging both the cloud and local processing at the same time to try to improve the experience.

On Windows PCs, that approach is also evident with hardware-accelerated graphics in the upcoming Internet Explorer 9, which should do some interesting things for web-based games.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment on the job postings, and we’ll update this post depending on the response.

Update: The official word from Microsoft: “We’re always looking for talented people to join the Xbox team and help us to innovate Xbox 360. We don’t have any further comment on this or any other job posting.”

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  • Vl

    I don’t see what about the job description implies 3D as in 3D glasses-3D – it merely means 3D Graphics like 1st person shooters and most games using 3D graphics in the past decade.

    • Anonymous

      Understood, I get what you’re saying. It’s open to interpretation, and not very clear. At this stage, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were 3D as in actual 3D.

      • Briguy992

        I agree with VI. It sounds like this is just talking about typical 3D graphics instead of stereoscopic 3D. Plus, the Xbox 360 can already support some stereoscopic 3D I believe (Avatar has basic 3D output, but I doubt it’s as advanced as the PS3 since Sony is pushing it way harder).

      • Joe

        Uhh, it’s only open to interpretation if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Look at nearly every technical game job description and it lists similar requirements. Nothing about the posting at all indicates 3D display technology, only the standard 3D graphics hardware you find in every pc and console. Why would it mention 3D rendering pipelines if they’re actually looking for experts in 3D display technology? Completely different things.

  • Bob

    Is it me, or do MS job postings always seem about a year behind where you’d expect them to be? Is that emblematic of why the company is always late, or do they just keep stale postings for H1B reasons?

    • Ben

      Its probably just you. Who says this role hasn’t been around for a while and the previous person has just moved on…could be anything and making random assumptions is kind of pointless.

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