It's the question on the minds of countless gamers: What's up with the next Xbox? With Nintendo's next-gen system already on store shelves and the creaky Xbox 360 hitting middle age in dog years, many of us are prepping for Microsoft's next gaming console, also known in gossip circles as the Xbox 720.
When asked about the future of Xbox, a Microsoft spokesperson told RedBullUSA.com, "Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention."
Translation: We still want to sell a lot of Xbox 360s for a few more months, thank you. We suspect that the cat will finally be let out of the bag at the E3 Expo in June. In the meantime, here are the hottest rumors and speculation about the next Xbox.
What's in a Name?
Last year, a senior technical designer with Crytek wrote a tweet (later deleted) that accidentally leaked a possible code name for the next Xbox: 'Durango.' Other sources say it has been nicknamed 'Loop.'
But both are unlikely to make it as the final name. Keep in mind that before the Xbox 360 was released, Microsoft considered Xbox Next, Xenon, Xbox 2 and Next Box. Most people are referring to the system as Xbox 720, but Microsoft has kept mum about an official name.
Under the Hood
The Xbox 720's main chip, called Oban, has likely gone into production as of the end of 2012, according to the blog SemiAccurate. How powerful will it be? IGN reported last year that the Xbox 720's engine would be six times that of the Xbox 360 and 20 percent better than the Wii U.
That doesn't mean the games will necessarily look six times better, it's just a rough estimate of what the processing power will be like. The system is also expected to include a Blu-ray drive, which is able to contain two to five times more data than a standard DVD.
Kinect, Part 2
A 56-page document believed to be leaked from Microsoft this summer, according to GameSpot, says that the Xbox 720 will feature a new built-in Kinect sensor (unofficially dubbed 'Kinect V2') that will be better at tracking your body and will be able to see four players at once and allow you to sit down while playing. Will a 'Dance Central' dance party be in our near-future?
Thanks to a lawsuit, we now know about Bungie's secret project, codenamed 'Destiny.' The court documents revealed that Bungie, maker of the original 'Halo' trilogy, is hard at work on a sci-fi shooter...
Augmented Reality Glasses
Microsoft is also working on augmented-reality glasses for the Xbox 720 nicknamed 'Fortaleza,' according to the aforementioned leaked document. The only other real details are that the glasses are compatible with Wi-Fi and 4G connections and would launch in 2014.
They sound somewhat similar to Google Glass, the glasses headset that Google announced in June and are currently developing. Google glasses have video and audio capability, a built-in accelerometer and are controlled by head movements.
The Games for the Xbox 720
Thanks to a lawsuit, we now know about Bungie's secret project, codenamed 'Destiny.' The court documents revealed that Bungie, maker of the original 'Halo' trilogy, is hard at work on a sci-fi shooter that will release every two years, with the first game coming in 2013 to Xbox 360, but the later games would hit Xbox 720, the next PlayStation and PCs.
Rumors are also flying after developers Infinity Ward ('Call of Duty'), Remedy ('Alan Wake's American Nightmare'), and Bethesda ('Fallout') posted jobs for next-gen console games. Some industry experts also suspect that open-world action game 'Watch Dogs' from Ubisoft and third person action game 'Star Wars 1313' will launch on Xbox 720 because specific platforms for those games have not yet been announced.
Most signs point to the Xbox 720 dropping during the holiday season of 2013. Bloomberg cites the ever-astute “people familiar with the company's plans” in a recent article stating that it will be released for Thanksgiving and Christmas sales. Cost-wise, the allegedly leaked Microsoft document hints that the next Xbox would cost $299. We advise you start saving up your pennies now.