Microsoft remains on track to reveal its long-awaited Xbox 720 (Next) console this June at E3 2013 in Los Angeles.
Until then, Redmond has refused to confirm or deny various reports and rumors detailing the console's alleged specs.
Nevertheless, a number of industry sources seem to agree on a range of hardware for the 720, which is apparently fitted with AMD's eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a (Radeon) Direct3d 11.x 800MHz GPU and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
Recently, a source who claimed to have "hands-on time" with the new console told Gaming Capacity the system is approximately 3x more powerful than the current 360. In addition, both the entry-level Arcade (320GB) and higher-end Pro (500GB) versions should be available at launch.
Interestingly, the source also insisted the new console would not ship with a Blu-ray player. However, as Mark Tyson of Hexus points out, previous reports from numerous publications indicate the 720 will indeed be packaged with a Blu-ray player.
"I avoid absolutes as a rule, that said, there is a zero percent chance that the next Xbox will ship without a Blu-ray player," GamesRadar Managing Editor Tom Magrino recently noted.
"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."
And as TG Daily previously reported, Eidos president Ian Livingstone recently confirmed that both the PS4 and Xbox 720 would be equipped with a Blu-ray player.
"The next iteration of consoles - the PS4 and the next Xbox, have got optical disc drives even though they probably don’t want to have them," said Livingstone. "Broadband speed globally isn’t a level that justifies digital-only.”
Livingstone says Microsoft has "gone halfway" by using a distribution method that's part physical and part digital, effectively blocking pre-owned games in the process.
“With the next Xbox, you supposedly have to have an Internet connection, and the discs are watermarked, whereby once played on one console it won’t play on another."
The Eidos exec also said he believes the generation after the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 will move to digital delivery only for video games.