A new, albeit unsubstantiated report claimed this week that Microsoft's next Xbox console will not house a Blu-ray player inside.
The next-gen Xbox, expected to be unveiled this year by Microsoft, has alternately been referred to as the Xbox 720 and the codename Durango. Previous reports have claimed that it would come packing a Blu-ray player.
Monday's report comes from Gaming Capacity, which said it received its Xbox 720 info from a source who's "had hands-on time" with Microsoft's new console. The source spoke under condition of anonymity, Gaming Capacity noted.
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Given the nature of this report, it's advisable to note that none of these Durango details should be considered gospel until Microsoft makes its own formal announcement, but they're worth examining nonetheless.
The importance of Blu-ray
Curious about the possibility of the next Xbox console launching without Blu-ray, TechRadar reached out to GamesRadar Managing Editor Tom Magrino to get his thoughts.
"I avoid absolutes as a rule," Magrino said. "That said, there is a zero percent chance that the next Xbox will ship without a Blu-ray player.
"Setting aside the wealth of leaks from reliable sources, Microsoft's strategy for years has been to turn the Xbox into the de facto media hub for every family's living room, not just a game console.
"It can't, with a straight face, continue to make that claim without a Blu-ray player, seeing as that is the future of physical media, unless it created its own HD DVD player.
"Oh wait, it already tried that with the Xbox 360, and it was a colossal failure. Microsoft fought in the high-def media playback war, it lost, now it's time to pay the piper."
As for the idea of a new Xbox console that eschews physical media in favor of all-digital content, Magrino said it's unlikely.
"Fast, reliable broadband has to be in place before physical media gets dropped completely, and that's not going to happen any time soon," he said.
Next Xbox specs
While the Blu-ray debate will clearly stay heated, the same source revealed a few other details: The Xbox 720 will apparently have three times the processing power of the Xbox 360, and will launch with both 320GB "Arcade" and 500GB "Pro" configurations. A 1TB HDD will be available as a separate add-on.
This report also got into the nitty-gritty details, claiming that the new Xbox will pack a 1.6GHz eight-core AMD x64 CPU, a Direct3D 11.x 800MHz GPU, and 8GB of DDT3 memory.
Xbox 720 at E3?
As for the timing of Microsoft's announcement, Gaming Capacity's source claimed that the Xbox booth is going to be "party central" at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.
It's not clear exactly what that means, but it could hint at an Xbox 720 announcement at E3. Microsoft may opt to hold its own event to christen the console, much like Sony did with the PS4, but perhaps it will try to steal the show come June.
According to the report, the Xbox 360 successor will be released during the 2013 holiday season.
And then there was 4
With PlayStation 4 confirmed for a holiday 2013 release date, it's a safe guess that Microsoft is probably hustling to make sure Durango comes out around the same time.
The Xbox 360 launched earlier than the PS3 in the last generation of gaming consoles, and you can bet neither company wants to fall behind this time around.
If both the Xbox 720 and the PS4 get a release at the end of the year, a lot of gamers are going to have a tough decision to make come the holidays.
TechRadar asked Gaming Capacity to offer us proof of its source's veracity, but the site produced nothing substantive, casting further doubt on this report.
- We've reviewed the Xbox One (it has a Blu-ray player)