Sick of Xbox 720 rumours yet? Ah, but this one's different: it's written in complete sentences rather than mystery-mongering three-word phrases, and the source actually has a name. According to tech blogger and serial leaker Paul Thurrott, the next generation Xbox will go public on 21st May. Two days before my birthday, then. Way to upstage, Microsoft.
Not only that, but it'll reportedly accompany a new version of the Xbox 360 which retails for $99. Oh, and apparently it "must be internet-connected to use". Take the rain with the shine.
"The next Xbox is code-named Durango," Thurrott commented in a What The Tech podcast transcribed by All Games Beta (ta VG247, Gaming Everything). "And we have talked for a while about this notion that there might be another version of the Xbox that was just aimed at entertainment-a non-gaming device. That device was code-named 'Yumo' and they're not making it. They may make one in the future, but it's not happening this year."
"So the new Xbox that comes out this year will just be the Xbox," he went on. "And I mentioned before they're also going to sell a new Xbox 360 code-named 'Stingray' that will be $99. And you might look at that as two things: backwards compatibility, obviously, suggesting - I don't actually know this for a fact, but based on the fact that they're making one - I don't think that the new Xbox will play 360 games.
"But that I don't actually know, that I'm guessing. But, the other one is that, $99, that's a real cool price. And so we know that the Xbox 360 does Netflix, Hulu Plus, yada yada yada, and you can make the argument that's kind of a low cost entertainment device, too.
"Durango is going to be expensive [laughs], you know $500, $300 for the subscription model, that kind of thing, but you know, Blu-ray, blah blah blah, but the thing that interest me, going back and looking at some of the stuff I got a long time ago, it actually says 'must be internet-connected to use' in the notes. And that's all I have, but it does say that."
"Originally, they were going to announce this thing in April 24, now they're going to announce it May 21. We know there are events occuring this year where we're going to learn more about Durango," Thurrott added. As to when the machine will release, he's calling "early November, yeah. E3 is going to occur. BUILD is going to occur in San Francisco in June when they're going to talk about the developer story because it's a Windows 8 device. It's going to have the same, or basically the same, developer tools and developer APIs and all that kind of stuff."
Microsoft was recently obliged to apologise to customers after a creative director told always-online detractors to "deal with it", in what's been cast as a harmless off-the-cuff exchange with BioWare's Manveer Heir. The always-online rumour is as old as the hills, and Jonty among others remains thoroughly unconvinced.
Here's an unconfirmed list of Xbox 720 specs - in brief, it's said to include a dedicated Kinect port, a built-in "Natural User Interface" sensor, a 50 GB 6x Blu-ray disc drive and eight 1.6 GHz CPUs.
Update: The Verge has pitched in on the story. "Sources familiar with Microsoft's Xbox plans have revealed that the event will be at a small venue with a focus on providing the very first details on the next Xbox, codenamed Durango, and Microsoft's plans for Xbox in 2013."