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Xbox 720 screenshot leak points to always-on, always-connected console

Microsoft is expected to unveil its next-gen Xbox console at June's E3 gaming conference. But screen shots of the new device's development kit have emerged online, suggesting that the firm will be embracing the always-on, always-connected approach with the new Xbox. posted several screen shots of the SDK for the new system, codenamed Durango. Most interesting is the "Durango Hardware Overview" shot, which provides a glimpse of what users will experience on the new Xbox, referred to by some as Xbox 720.

"Durango will implement different power states so that it can always be powered on, but will draw minimal electricity when not in use," it reads. "The console will be ready instantly when users want to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that software console and games are always current. With this 'Always On, Always Connected' design, users will quickly and easily enjoy their connected entertainment experiences, with no waiting for the console to restart or install updates."

Microsoft recently tackled superfast startup times with Windows 8.

The document also said each new Xbox will come with a "high-fidelity Kinect sensor, which will be required for the system to operate."

The new "Durango" controller, meanwhile, "will make the best-in-class Xbox 360 controller even better," according to the screenshot. "It will have low-latency wireless connectivity to the console, and improved ergonomics. System interactions that use the controller will be simplified to make them easier for noncore gamers."

Durango has a Blu-ray optical drive, but when it comes to games, they will not tap into that optical drive. "An installation system is being designed that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed on the hard drive rather than waiting until installation is complete," the document says.

The document cautions, however, that the information is preliminary and subject to change. We'll likely find out more at E3.

Sony recently announced its PlayStation 4 console, which is expected by the holiday season. We haven't actually seen the new PS4, but there are a number of games on tap. Nintendo's Wii U was released in November.