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New source possibly confirms Xbox 720 features including backwards compatibility and no always-on requirement

A user on NeoGAF has found a new source that may very well be the final release specifications for Durango, Microsoft's next-gen Xbox console. The source seems to put many of the dreaded rumors to rest, dispatching worrisome rumors like always-on, limited backwards compatibility, and more.

A NeoGAF user by the name of Cheesemeister has reportedly found what appears to be the final specifications for Microsoft's next-gen console, the Xbox 720.

The source–a supposed anonymous Microsoft employee who specializes in software–reveals an array of features that will put a smile on the face of any gamer–especially long-time Xbox aficionados–and puts to rest many of the daunting rumors like limited backwards compatibility, always-online requirements, and the lapse of indie game support.

In a condensed document, the source touches upon a list of the Durango's purported features, and event mentions a May reveal for the console–which has been known for a while now.

Below you can find a selection from the document itself:

  • You are not required to be connected to the internet in order to play Durango games and MS were NEVER considering doing such a thing. Now please, just read that last sentence over and over again until it sinks in. Done? Good.
  • Ok, moving on. Have you read the VGLeaks article about the Durango specs? Yes? Good because everything you read in that article was 100% correct. Except, for one tiny little detail that MS kept guarded from most devs until very recently. That detail being that every Durango ships with an Xbox 360 SOC.
  • There was a reason why MS hired so many former IBM and AMD employees. I'll admit I'm not an electrical engineer (I'm in software) so I won't pretend to know the ins and outs of how the 360 SOC integrates into the Durango motherboard. All I know, and all I need to know about this new change is that I (or a game dev) can use the 360 SOC in parallel with the original Durango hardware.

What does this mean in basic terms? Well, apart from Durango having 100% BC with the 360, it also increases Durango's processing power a fair amount.

  • Kinect 2.0:  Again the specs from VGLeaks are correct, there's been no change and there won't be. However, the fact is, is that software can do ANYTHING, and with the quite substantial increase in the hardware over Kinect 1.0, any humanly noticeable lag should be gone.
  • Controller: The controller is pretty much the same. The D-Pad has been improved, but the change will only be noticeable when actually using it, i.e. it looks exactly the same, I haven't actually touched it, this is just what I’ve been told. AA batteries will make a return, but the new wireless tech MS has created for the controller, improves battery life by 16%. Again, this is just what the doc says.
  • Xbox Mini/Xbox TV: Yes, this is happening, although as far as I know, it’s a whole different team over at MS that are handling this. As has been reported its main purpose is to compete with Apple TV, so expect this thing to be small and around $100.
  • It contains the 360 SOC (similar to the one in the Durango); however no disc drive is included (to decrease size). But of course you can still play any XBLA/Games on Demand game. That’s all I really know about the xTV so I’ll leave it at that. Thurrott seems to know more than anyone else about this, so go ask him.

The source also divulges that Durango will be running essentially the full version of Windows 8 without the "desktop side of things", and will also be running the new WinRT framework which means, the source says, the Durango will be the most "indie friendly of all the big 3 next gen".

Gamers around the world are no doubt hoping that many of these features are genuine, however like any claims made by a potential source, we must take them with a grain of salt and chock it up to rumor, regardless of how enticing the list is.

It's nice to finally get a list of positive features for Microsoft's next-gen console for a change, as most of the rumors are filled with daunting and worrisome topics like the requirement of an extra peripheral just to play old Xbox 360 games, or the dreaded always-online function.

It's also interesting that the supposed Microsoft employee refutes some of the claims that were made in the Durango's leaked SDK–like the always-on requirement–but then goes on to say that many of the specs were genuine. In any case, we'll hear more about the Xbox 720/Durango when it's supposedly unveiled in May, where many of the countless rumors and speculation will be put to rest.

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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