Xbox 720 Will Be Always Online, Will Launch In Early November With Two Pricing Models [RUMOR ROUND-UP]

By Binu Paul , Updated Apr 26, 2013 10:10 AM EDT

Microsoft is undoubtedly aware of the vocal percentage of fans who disagree with the idea of an "always online" console; however, a new report from a noted tech blogger claims that Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, will always require an Internet connection to function.

Respected tech blogger Paul Thurrott, who has a good track-record in predicting Microsoft plans, including the next-gen Xbox reveal event on May 21, has written an in-depth report on what we can expect from the next console. Of all his predictions, the most important one is that Durango will require an "always online" connection to use it.

"The next Xbox must be Internet-connected to use. This is the source of the 'always on'/'always online' rumors," Thurrott writes in his report. However, he says the feature won't be "as draconian as many seem to believe," suggesting that the requirement will not be as prohibitive as those angered by the rumor fear.

In another major revelation, he says the console will be available in two pricing models: a $499 one-off fee and a $300 outlay requiring a commitment to two years of Xbox Live Gold for $10 monthly payments.

Some of the other information outlined by Thurrott:

Xbox 720 Release: According to him, Microsoft was poised to announce the console on April 24; it however, pushed back the date to May 21 so that it could better position the device against the PlayStation 4, which Sony announced in late February. He predicts the company will announce details about the next Xbox, including the launch lineup of games, on the eve of the E3 tradeshow in early June.

Launch. The next Xbox will launch in early November.

Windows 8 Core: Xbox 720 will be based on the core version of Windows 8.

Blu-ray: Durango will include a Blu-ray optical drive.

No Entertainment Box: Microsoft is believed to have put its plans for a lower-end entertainment-oriented version, codenamed "Yuma" on hold. He says no pure entertainment version of the next Xbox will appear in 2013 (or possibly ever).

Another Xbox 360: "Microsoft will also deliver a third-generation Xbox 360 console this year that will be significantly less expensive than the current models. The new Xbox 360 is code-named 'Stingray,' but it's not clear whether this device is required because the next Xbox isn't backward-compatible or because Microsoft simply wants a low-cost entertainment box alternative," he speculates.

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