The Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and Wii are without doubt three of the most high-profile and best-selling video game consoles in the world and anytime either of these three schedule a hardware upgrade, it is big news.
In this instance, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are set to have gamers in an absolute frenzy, what with all three of them announcing upgrades - the tentatively titled Xbox 720 and the PlayStation 4 Orbis and the more definitively titled Nintendo Wii U.
Check out the Xbox 720 going up against the Wii U
Graphic Processing Unit
Unlike its predecessor the Xbox 360, which was equipped with an IBM Power PC, a trio of 3.2 GHz cores and an ATI graphics processor, the Xbox 720 according to an earlier IBTimes UK report, will have two GPUs. The Graphic Processing Unit of the next Xbox is believed to be equivalent to AMD's 7000 series GPUs. The structure of the GPUs in the new game console will be different from the normal dual PC set-up, in which two chips take it in turns to draw lines for the same object. Instead the Xbox 720 graphic units will be capable of working independently, drawing different items simultaneously, according to a report by VG247.
As per the specification details provided, Nintendo's upcoming video game console will measure 1.8 x 6.8 x 10.5 inches. The new console will pack an Advance Micro Device (AMD) Radeon-based high definition GPU.
An earlier report suggested the new Xbox could have either four or six CPU cores - to be shared between the Kinect controller and the operating system itself. However, another IBTimes UK report suggested the 720 could pack a monster 16 core IBM Power PC CPU.
The Nintendo Wii U will pack an IBM Power -based multi-core processor.
3D Display and Touch Screen Controller
The new Xbox is expected to feature a Wii U-like touch screen controller and offer reportedly revolutionary graphics capabilities, including 3D display features, according to Forbes. The new controller will have an HD display with traditional buttons and stick aiding touch screen controls. The controller, it is expected, could also be used as a remote.
The Wii U will have a 5.3 x 0.9 x 9.0 inches controller, with a 6.2-inch touch screen running at a resolution of 16:9. The new controller will incorporate traditional buttons, including two analog Circle Pads. The rechargeable controller includes a Power button, Home button, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. It includes a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, rumble feature, camera, a microphone, stereo speakers, a sensor strip and a stylus. The new controller can display information on its screen that does not appear on the television and the Wii U also features the combined performance of motion-sensing gameplay with full HD graphics.
According to a report by MCV, the next Xbox could have a Blu-ray Drive (BD). However, the same report also adds the aforementioned information is contrary an earlier report in which Microsoft told its partners the device would be without a disc drive, offering, instead, compatibility with some interchangeable solid-state card storage.
The Wii U will have internal flash memory, as well as the option to expand its memory using either an SD memory card or an external USB hard disk drive. In addition, the system will feature a 12cm High Density Optica Disc and 12cm Wii optical discs.
Anti-Used Game Systems
Microsoft reportedly plans to introduce an anti-used games block, according to Kotaku. This means the Xbox 720, theoretically, will not play used games. However, there is still confusion over the veracity of this claim and its details.
Nintendo, however, will provide backwards compatibility. This means the new Wii U will play all older Wii games and use all Wii accessories. The Wii has sold more than 86 million units and the company is eager that the Wii U do better.
According to a report by the Guardian, the next Xbox will require an always-on Internet connection - a feature reportedly designed in order to ensure pirated software will not work.
Meanwhile, Nintendo, in order to ensure the Wii U is more globally competitive, is likely to venture in a similar direction. The company has been reportedly talking with a select number of top content companies to expand the video-on-demand offerings for its new home console, reports ArsTechnica.
The Xbox 720 was expected to be released at the company's E3 industrial trade show in June, which would mean it hit the markets before major rivals Sony released the PS4. However, the company's Head of Corporate PR has denied that E3 will host the 720's launch. Instead, it is possible the console could see a March 2013 release.
Nintendo has reportedly confirmed the Wii U console will be released sometime during autumn 2012, with no information on a particular release date. However, IGN reported on a leaked memo from a Japanese retailer which spoke of a 18 November US launch.
A report on a Web site called Xbox 720 suggests the new console could cost between $400 and $600.
The Wii U is, according to IGN, expected to cost at least $300.