The Xbox 720 rumor floodgates are pouring over. A source speaking to Kotaku and going by the name of SuperDaE has reportedly obtained two Xbox 720 development kits as well as system overview documents, which detail the specifications of Microsoft's still-unannounced next-generation platform.
The first bit of information from the source claims the Xbox 720 will require Kinect to function. According to the source, an updated and improved version of Kinect will ship with every unit sold and will not be an optional accessory, as the motion-sensing device currently is for Xbox 360. For the Xbox 720, gamers will need to have the new Kinect plugged in and calibrated for the console to function at all, the source said.
This mandatory Kinect implementation for the Xbox 720 will reportedly be a benefit for developers. Because every system is guaranteed to have a Kinect unit, studios can program their games with the technology in mind, the source said.
As for specifications, the new version of Kinect is reportedly able to track up to six individuals in the same room at all times. In addition, the peripheral's camera will be able to independently track thumbs, allowing it to know whether a player's hand is open or closed. The camera can also read facial expressions, the documents said, meaning it can tell if a player is angry, sad, or excited.
Another reportedly mandatory feature for the Xbox 720 will be game installs. On Xbox 360, players have the choice of whether or not they wish to install a game to their hard drives. Sometimes doing so yields various benefits. To accommodate the heavy and numerous downloads, all Xbox 720 systems will ship with a 500GB hard drive, the documents said. In addition, games can reportedly be installed in the background.
In addition, the Xbox 720 will reportedly be able to simultaneously run more than one game or application. This is nothing new for smartphones or PCs, but would be a first for any console. The documents reportedly state Xbox 720 games can be put into "suspend" and "constrained" modes, which allow players to pause a game, switch to another title, then return to the first without losing any save information.
Concerning the Xbox 720's controller, Microsoft is reportedly readying a "natural evolution" of the Xbox 360 input, according to the source's information. Xbox 360 controllers will reportedly not work with the next platform, due to Microsoft's "new wireless technology."
As for Xbox 720 specifications, the machine will reportedly run on a custom hardware architecture that features an 8-core, 64-bit CPU running at 1.6GHz. The system also supposedly boasts an 800mhz Direct X 11.x GPU, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and a 50GB optical disc drive. The platform will also reportedly feature built-in Wi-Fi (though it will also sport an ethernet port), as well as support for stereo 3D content in 1080p. Audio will be handled by either HDMI or optical connections and can support up to 7.1 channels, the source said.
Today's report did not mention at all the speculation that the Xbox 720 could block, or in some way prohibit, gamers from playing second-hand titles. Analysts collectively do not believe this is likely. Additionally, GameStop last week said gamers are unlikely to purchase a future platform that blocks used games or restricts gameplay in another way.
Additionally, no mention was made today of whether or not the Xbox 720 would require a constant Internet connection, as was previously rumored.
The Xbox 720 has not been announced and the above information is, of course, not confirmed. A Microsoft representative told GameSpot, "We do not comment on rumors or speculation. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform, but we don’t have anything further to share at this time."
Microsoft may break its silence soon, as the company is believed to officially announce the Xbox 720 during an Apple-style media briefing in March, perhaps in conjunction with the 2013 Game Developers Conference. Competitor Sony is believed to beat Microsoft to the punch and will announce the PlayStation 4 during a New York City "PlayStation Meeting" briefing on February 20.
Microsoft has sold sold 75.9 million Xbox 360 units worldwide to date.