The rumours surrounding Microsoft's next Xbox game console - supposedly the Xbox 720 - seem to suggest, according to the latest reports, the console will debut sometime during Christmas 2013. However, it should be noted such rumours first emerged online much earlier and suggested the hardware would emerge in 2012 itself. Another report indicates Microsoft is all set to announce the Xbox 720 at the Los Angeles-based E3 industrial trade show in June.

More speculation, this time by VideoGamer, suggested the company could look to steal a march on rivals Sony and launch its new console before the Japanese giant had a chance to upgrade the PlayStation 3, with the expected PlayStation 4 (which has reportedly been codenamed Orbis).

However, the head of Corporate PR at Microsoft, David Dennis, squashed rumours about the June E3 launch, insisting the company had no such plans.

"While we appreciate all the interest in our long-range plans for the future, we can confirm that there will be no talk of the new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon. For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360 - and it is the best year ever for Xbox 360. The console is coming off its biggest year ever - a year in which Xbox outsold all other consoles worldwide," the company has been quoted as saying.

As far as rumoured specifications for the new console are concerned, Microsoft reportedly detailed to certain partners that the Xbox 720 would have a Blu-Ray drive (BD), which, as one would expect, runs contrary to another rumour citing it would not. Instead, the new console could offer compatibility with interchangeable solid-state card storage.

Although the read speed of the DVDs is faster when compared to BDs, the latter can store more data. A dual-core BD can store 50GB of data compared to Xbox 360's dual-layer DVDs which can only store data between 8 and 9GB, according to a report.

Furthermore, the Xbox 720 could pack two GPUs, like two individual computing systems put together. The graphics cards are thought to be equivalent to AMD's 7000 series GPUs. The Xbox 720's graphics units are expected to work independently, drawing different items simultaneously.

The new console will have either four or six CPU cores, one of which will be dedicated to the Kinect and another to the operating system. Finally, as an anti-piracy measure, the Xbox 720 will need an always-on Internet connection.

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