Microsoft has announced that it will unveil its next generation Xbox console on the 12 May in a special programme on music channel MTV.

The announcement will come four days ahead of Sony and its planned PlayStation 3 unvieling and ahead of E3 the gaming expo held in California.

Elijah Wood, of Lord of the Rings fame will host the show that will be aired in the UK and Japan a day later on the 13th.

The special one off will include footage of next-generation Xbox games and also online play, Microsoft said.

Microsoft has yet to announce a date for release or a name as yet although industry commentators believe that we could see units in the shops by Christmas this year.