This is it. Microsoft is going to reveal the new Xbox on May 21.
But just because we know when it's coming doesn't mean we're going to stop speculating about it, and Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott today revealed on his Windows IT Pro blog what he "knows" about the box also known as "Durango."
The juiciest morsels? No doubt that the new Xbox will definitely include a Blu-ray optical drive, and will indeed require an always-online internet connection.
Thurrott was already right about when the new Xbox will be revealed, predicting that the Xbox event would be moved from April 24 (yesterday) to May 21. And TechRadar named him one of the biggest mouths in tech - so maybe it's worth listening to him on this topic.
Whether that means the console itself is changing or Microsoft is just altering the message around the new Xbox is unclear, and we'll likely never know for sure.
Either way, word from Thurrott is that like the PS4 announcement, the May 21 new Xbox announcement will be more of a tease, with the full reveal coming at E3 2013.
New Xbox release date
After that, Microsoft will discuss the new Xbox's developer platform at the Build conference in San Francisco in late June, and the new Xbox release date will go down in early November, Thurrott wrote.
Beyond that, the blogger expects the new Xbox price to come in at $499 (around UK£322, AU$484) by itself or $299 (around UK£193, AU$290) with a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription at $10 (around UK£6, AU$9) per month, which adds up, strangely, to $539 (around UK£348, AU$523) in total.
Either way, that price prediction aligns nicely with previous rumors that the new Xbox price.
Xbox Mini scrapped?
Moving on, the less expensive entertainment-focused version of the new Xbox, known unofficially as the Xbox Mini, has reportedly been scrapped.
Thurrott wrote that plans for the less-gaming-more-Netflix version of the new Xbox, codenamed "Yuma," are "on hold" for the year and could stand the chance of never making it out to the public.
However, there may be some device cross-over as the new Xbox's firmware is based on the "core" version of Windows 8, indicating that there could be common apps between the new Xbox and other Windows 8 gadgets, wrote Thurrott.
Xbox 720: to Blu-ray or not?
Reports about the new Xbox have disagreed for months on whether Microsoft's next console would sport a Blu-ray drive.
But as GamesRadar Managing Editor Tom Magrino put it last month, "There is a zero percent chance that the next Xbox will ship without a Blu-ray player." That's one prediction that's backed up by what Thurrott wrote today.
Dropped calls and draconian limitations
The blogger revealed that the new Xbox will indeed require an always-online internet connection, something that's been speculated about for some time but that we still hesitate to believe if only due to the sheer horror of the idea.
Not everyone has reliable internet, after all, and there's no logical reason a dropped connection should prevent gamers from playing single-player games.
When a Microsoft employee spouted off on Twitter and showed just what little the company apparently understands about gamers' concerns over an always-online Xbox, Microsoft apologized but did not deny the rumor.
We know in our hearts that an always-online new Xbox is the worst idea ever, but Thurrott wrote that it "isn't as Draconian as many seem to believe."
And we'll believe that when we see it.
New Xbox 360?
But the blogger had nothing to share when it comes to backwards compatibility, whether the new Xbox will block used games, the console's expected specs (an AMD chip is rumored), the new Xbox controller, or even its official name (it's definitely not "Xbox 720," if Microsoft knows what it's doing).
What we do know is that all (or at least some) will be revealed on May 21.
Of course, just because he was right about May 21 doesn't mean Thurrott knows all that's going on at Xbox, so be sure to take what the Micro-watcher says with an understanding the full truth of Microsoft's Xbox vision won't be known until next month, if not later.
For more on the new Xbox, check out TechRadar's 10 ways the Xbox 720 can win the next generation of consoles.
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