Disclaimer: I haven't really tried XNA, so some of my assumptions may be wrong. I code in C++/DirectX 11 myself.
Microsoft seem to be focusing on C++ a lot lately, especially the new C++11 standard. I don't know how this ties into Xbox 720 yet, but we might just find out in April.
Two devs from XNA/DirectX have written a library called DirectX toolkit. It contains a lot of the functionality from XNA (http://directxtk.codeplex.com/).
With the new C++11 standard I feel that C++ has become easier and safer to use. You don't need to use the old-style pointers, you can just use unique_ptr or shared_ptr .There are a lot of videos available on channel9 about the new features. The ones from Herb Sutter are particularily good. Here are two intro videos in case you're interested: