The penultimate issue of fading UK gaming publication Xbox World is set to reveal a number of the key specifications and features of Microsoft's forthcoming next-gen console, commonly thought of as the Xbox 720.
Codenamed 'Durango,' the new platform promises a "spec greater than anything even the most hardcore PC gamer has," according to the magazine, which dedicates an eight page feature spread to the Xbox tell-all - potentially its last big scoop before it is shuttered at the end of the year.
The report is based around insider knowledge and an official product information leak that briefly circulated the web earlier in the year before Microsoft forced a takedown.
Headlining the spec broadcast is the apparent confirmation of a quad-core processor. Comprised of "four hardware cores, each divided into four logical cores," for a powerhouse 16-core third-generation Xbox, the new device's chip infrastructure is supported by 8GB of RAM (up from 512MB shared memory on the Xbox 360) and should confidently handle existing gaming set-ups.
It should also be capable of handling futuristic new modes of play, with the Xbox 720 likely representing a major step in the direction of augmented reality (AR) gaming - a glasses add-on is heavily rumoured post-release, or maybe even accompanying the console in the first instance.
Moreover, Xbox World said Microsoft's next-gen platform, which is expected to arrive in autumn 2013, should herald the arrival of Kinect 2, an improved motion-sensor based hands-free controller system. The successor to 2010's Kinect device, the refreshed add-on should feature improved image and depth recognition.
"Kinect 2.0 tracks up to four players and can read even the smallest movements of your fingers thanks to advancements in camera technology and processing grunt," the magazine claimed.
"[AR] would work alongside Kinect or Omnitouch to turn your living room into a virtual reality environment in which game characters could appear," it opined.
Elsewhere, Xbox World draws attention to the installation of an optical Blu-Ray disc drive, which would bring Microsoft's next-gen Xbox up to speed with the built-in hardware featured on rival Sony's PS3 platform. A number of new connectivity options are also set to feature, according to the publication, including discreet USB 3.0 ports and AV input/output for greater compatibility with broadcast TV.
Both seem strong candidates for inclusion and are in line with Microsoft's re-imagining of the Xbox as an all-in-one entertainment hub, with the Redmond-based company also thought to be developing its own cloud gaming service à la OnLive - a firm it has been linked with a takeover of in the past.
A number of the features being touted for inclusion on the new Xbox centre around the iconic US computing giant's new Windows 8 operating system. A modern/Metro-style UI definitely seems to be here to stay, while SmartGlass integration is also widely regarded as a given, and downloadable Xbox smart TV apps are likely to be foregrounded in the platform's next iteration.
From a design perspective, image renders of a potential Xbox 720 produced by Xbox World depict a sleek black device with rounded corners. To this end, the new Xbox is expected to utilise the same 'VapourMG' magnesium used to produce Microsoft's Surface RT. The substance aids the cooling process and is also likely to feature on any Xbox/Surface-influenced Microsoft gaming tablet introduced in the future.
Finally, Xbox World's dramatic pièce de résistance stokes the fire with regards to the eventual naming of Microsoft's next-gen gaming platform, which is expected to be announced at the E3 conference in June 2013, ahead of its aforementioned pre-Christmas release.
According to the magazine, "Apple has changed the rules for branding," with its 'new iPad' coup, and Microsoft may follow suit by giving its upcoming console a minimalist moniker along similar lines: "It'll almost certainly just be 'Xbox', the magazine claimed