One of the most anticipated gadgets of the year is Microsoft's reportedly next-generation gaming console - the successor to its Xbox 360 - codenamed Xbox 720. There are a number of rumours emerging, concerning eveyrhing from the release date to the processors and other design specifications. The new console is expected to debut late in 2013.

In the meantime, check out a re-cap of known and new expected features...

Powerful GPU Equivalent to AMD's 7000 Series GPUs

The Xbox 360 was launched in 2005 with the best available technology. It uses an IBM Power PC with a trio of 3.2GHz processors and ATI graphics card which puts out, according to Techo Latte, a significant degree of power. The biggest rumours, to date, are those surrounding the Xbox 720 Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) - the unit is expected to pack cards similar to AMD's 7000 series GPUs, according to VG247 - and it will have two such. The GPU structure in the new Xbox will differ from normal dual PC set-ups in that each chip can work independently of the other.

16-Core Processor

The Xbox 720, also believed to be codenamed Durango, will have either four or six CPU cores. One of these will be reserved for the Kinect accessory and the other for the OS. Meanwhile, an earlier IBTimes UK report suggested the Xbox 720 could feature a monster 16-core IBM PowerPC Central Processing Unit (CPU). Meanwhile, the development kits for the next-gen Xbox, according to Sillegamer, were reportedly shipped to developers in March.

Blu-ray drive for next Xbox

Microsoft's new game console is expected to feature a Blu-ray Drive (BD). BDs hold more data when compared to DVDs. A standard dual-layer BD contains 50GB of data compared to the Xbox 360's dual-layer DVDs which can only contain between 8GB and 9GB, reports Techradar. An earlier report suggested Microsoft told its partners the next Xbox would not include a disc drive. The new console will offer compatibility with some interchangeable solid-state card storage, suggests report by MCV.

Anti-Used Game System

Sony, according to a Christian Post report, will not block used games from being played on the to-be-launched PS4 (reportedly codenamed "Orbis"). On the other hand, Microsoft reportedly intends to incorporate some anti-used game system, according to Kotaku. However, there are no further details on this count.

Xbox 720 to have Kinect 2

The Xbox 720 is expected to be equipped with Microsoft's next-gen motion-detecting Kinect game accessory system, according to The Huffington Post. The new Kinect will feature an on-board processor, a feature which was reportedly planned for the first Kinect. The processor will enable the new Kinect to detect users' motions more effectively, according to Kotaku.

3D Display feature and Touch-screen Controller

The next version of the Xbox expected to launch in 2013, according to Forbes. It will have 3D display features and a touch-screen controller. The new Xbox, it is believed, will about six times more powerful than the Xbox 360.

Always-on internet connection

The next Xbox will require an always-on Internet connection, in order to run games. This is believed to be a security measure employed by some game developers to combat pirated software, reports The Guardian.

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