Xbox 720 Rumor Roundup: Specs, Release Date, Launch Titles, Xbox Mini And More

By Binu Paul , Updated Apr 13, 2013 11:53 AM EDT
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There are fresh rumors regarding Microsoft's next Xbox, codenamed Durango, seemingly every hour on the hour. Here's a roundup of what we heard last week.

AMD x86 Processor

In an attempt to cut costs and attract developers to create more titles, Microsoft will reportedly use an AMD x86 processor in the Xbox 720 game. AMD, who also provides chips for Sony's PlayStation 4, will provide a Jaguar-based CPU clocked at 1.6GHz, which has game developers doing the dance of happiness because it makes cross-platform development vastly easier than it is now. However, the next Xbox is unlikely to have backwards compatibility, rumors suggest.

Release Date

The longer Microsoft clings to its policy of not commenting on the release rumors, the more weight gets given to people claiming inside knowledge. There were (wrong) predictions of Xbox 720 news at this year's Game Developers Conference. The latest rumor is that Microsoft will spell out its plans on its next Xbox console at a bespoke event in April or May this year followed by details of it launch lineup the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. Meanwhile, noted Windows blogger Paul Thurrott speculates that the Xbox 720 will be announced on May 21, priced at $300 for a subscription-based model and $500 for the standard model.

Xbox Mini and Kinect

According to a recent rumor coming from VGLeaks, the next console will play local content without an Internet connection just fine. What's more interesting is that the report claims that Microsoft will launch a second console at the same time, an Xbox Mini, which will require an Internet connection all the time since it doesn't support physical media. Xbox Mini is not a 360 add-on, but a standalone product which can play Xbox 360 titles from Games on Demand, and Xbox Live Arcade titles as well. The device, set to compete with Apple TV, will launch at $149 or lower.

It's also rumored that Microsoft will outfit the Xbox 720 with the ability to hook up to your television set and track your eye movements with the Kinect 2.0, which will be at the heart of the Xbox 720 experience.

Ryse and Forza To Be Xbox 720 Launch Titles

Meanwhile, Microsoft is believed to be working on a number of launch titles for its new Xbox console and according to The Verge, Crytek's first-person Roman combat game "Ryse" and a new "Forza" will debut on the console. The report speculates that Crytek, along with Microsoft Studios, has been rewriting "Ryse" to take advantage of the upcoming console. The Verges says Ryse is designed to be Microsoft's next "Gears of War" / "Halo" mega launch title. "Sources tell us that a new "Forza" title with "super life-like" graphics will also be made available at launch, alongside a zombie game and a family game set on an island with Pixar movie-style graphics," the report states.

Always-Online Xbox, 'Deal With It' Debacle, and Orthy's Departure

Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth became so unpopular after his infamous 'Deal With It' rant on Twitter that it cost him his job. Rage swept through the gaming community, generally a model of decorum,  when it got hold of the rumor that Xbox 720 requires a constant Internet connection. Getting involved with the heated discussion, Orthy told the skeptics to "deal with it" and "get with the times and get the Internet" on his now private Twitter page. His being so out of touch with the reality of many gamers was received with outrage and meme making. Microsoft had to release a statement apologizing for the tweets, saying "We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers."

Later Game Informer broke the news that Orth had left his job at Microsoft following the Twitter tirade. It remains unclear if his leaving was voluntary or a forced resignation; however, his impolitic thoughts didn't help.

Complete Specs List

Below is a full list of specs from the Durango dev kit given to leaks site vgleaks.com. Keep in mind that dev kits and retail units can differ significantly.

CPU:

 - x64 Architecture

 - 8 CPU cores running at 1.6 gigahertz (GHz)

 - Each CPU thread has its own 32 KB L1 instruction cache and 32 KB L1 data cache

 - Each module of four CPU cores has a 2 MB L2 cache resulting in a total of 4 MB of L2 cache

 - Each core has one fully independent hardware thread with no shared execution resources

 - Each hardware thread can issue two instructions per clock

GPU:

 - Custom D3D11.1 class 800-MHz graphics processor

 - 12 shader cores providing a total of 768 threads

 - Each thread can perform one scalar multiplication and addition operation (MADD) per clock cycle

 - At peak performance, the GPU can effectively issue 1.2 trillion floating-point operations per second

 - High-fidelity Natural User Interface (NUI) sensor is always present

Storage and Memory:

 - 8 gigabyte (GB) of RAM DDR3 (68 GB/s)

 - 32 MB of fast embedded SRAM (ESRAM) (102 GB/s)

 -Ffrom the GPU's perspective the bandwidths of system memory and ESRAM are parallel providing combined peak bandwidth of 170 GB/sec.

- Hard drive is always present

- 50 GB 6x Blu-ray Disc drive

Networking:

 - Gigabit Ethernet

 - Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct

Hardware Accelerators:

 - Move engines

 - Image, video, and audio codecs

 - Kinect multichannel echo cancellation (MEC) hardware

 - Cryptography engines for encryption and decryption, and hashing

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