Electronic Arts has strongly dismissed claims that its internal development teams are already working with the hardware that will become Microsoft's successor to the Xbox 360.
A report from respected industry publication Develop on Friday suggested that EA has been given the kit by MS, inside a PC shell.
However, EA spokesperson Jeff Brown told IndustryGamers: "This story is a total fabrication - 100 percent not true."
Develop reported that "a senior, trusted, well-placed" source said EA was working with a "very early build" of the console "with no casing", in order to ensure it could have games to launch on the system on day one.
The source suggested that Microsoft was readying a shock announcement for the hardware at E3, to rival the unveiling of Nintendo's new console, currently dubbed Project Cafe.
"Quite often when new consoles come around they're packaged into a PC shell, but actually what's inside is an entirely new console," the source said.
"Why let Nintendo steal the thunder in June [At E3]? It doesn't want to lose momentum. That's why I think Microsoft is rushing to make an announcement at E3."
Develop's informant said Microsoft was pushing ahead for a 2012 launch for the new console.