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Countdown to Xbox 720 - release date, price, specs and games

Our continually updated list of next generation news and rumours

Let's get one thing out of the way first: no, Microsoft probably won't title its next generation Xbox "Xbox 720", because that would be an act of blithering, literal-minded idiocy. The 720 handle does appear on certain design briefs, but most respected sources now agree that the new console will simply be known as "Xbox" - we refer to it as "Xbox 720" simply because that's what much of the internet has decided to call it, and we do so enjoy being relevant to the internet's interests.

Got all that under your bonnet? Right, let's get this show on the road. Laid out magnificently beneath these words is our live next generation Xbox hub feature - a round-up of all the most plausible recent Xbox 720 news and rumours, which we're going to update round the clock from now till the next Xbox reveal event on 21st May, 6pm UK time. We've got all sorts of crazy shenanigans planned for the event itself - liveblogs, video coverage, spec breakdowns, instant reaction pieces, community insight, photography, the works. More on that front soon - in the meantime, bookmark this page now to stay ahead of the curve.

21st May
Microsoft's Xbox One reveal has concluded - you can watch the whole thing here. We've published what we fondly consider to be the ultimate Xbox One data blow-out, best enjoyed alongside the first official screenshots.

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20th May
You can expect lots of exclusives at E3, according to Microsoft. New Condemned, please.

17th May
A new Xbox 360 dashboard update is apparently planned to pave the way for a NextBox release in the autumn or winter. Also, we've been chatting to the people behind Halo 4's CGI about what the next Xbox bodes for videogame storytelling.

16th May
Lionhead's hiring for Unreal engine experts with experience "reimagining existing franchises". Could point to an upcoming Fable 4 announcement.

15th May
I've had another look round Microsoft's Careers pages in hopes of An Hamazing Discovery. There's more evidence in support of the machine's rumoured specs.

10th May
Ubisoft has explained how the Xbox 360 and next gen Xbox versions of Watch Dogs will differ. It comes down to the "richness" of the sandbox, basically - better hardware means better wind and water effects, among other things.

9th May
Activision says there are too many "unknown factors" with PS4 and Xbox 720 right now. I hear you, Kotick.

7th May
Apologies for the break in updates! There was the bank holiday to reckon with, and I've been away from my desk on Official State Business. Here's the latest rumour: the next Xbox won't, in fact, be an always-online machine. You'll apparently be able to play single player games, Blu-ray films and watch live TV without connecting to the internet.

Also, Wolfenstein; The New Order has been announced for current and next generation consoles.

3rd May
I've rounded up all the rumours as to next gen Xbox exclusives. The most interesting of the lot (in my opinion, anyway) are Respawn and Black Tusk's new IPs.

2nd May
Former Microsoft exec and Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux will speak at the Xbox reveal event. According to him, the console should be about games first, connected services second.

1st May

Call of Duty: Ghosts has been announced for the next generation Xbox. We'll lay eyes on the game at the console's reveal event.

30th April

According to Kotaku's contacts, Microsoft is "aggressively" pushing for third-party exclusivity deals to make up for its relative scarcity of internal studios, and may have cancelled a number of unannounced next gen projects.

Kotaku also claims that Respawn Entertainment's first game will be an Xbox 360 and Xbox 720 exclusive, and is yet another always-online shooter. Because it's not like there are many of them knocking around right now.

Sadly, Xbox IllumiRoom doesn't appear to be a launch day Xbox 720 feature. Microsoft's researchers say they're looking "five to 10 years ahead".

29th April
Microsoft has showcased Xbox IllumiRoom in a new video - in case you'd forgotten, this is that fancy-dan tech that projects game graphics beyond your TV. They're calling it a "next generation console peripheral" nowadays. Hmmm.

The breakdown
Xbox 720 specs
Here's a quick summary, drawn from the more credible rumours: 8GB RAM, an X86 CPU with eight cores running at 1.6Ghz, 500 GB hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, built-in Kinect 2.0 and Illumiroom support. For the longer version, see below.

Xbox 720 specs - everything we currently know about Microsoft's new Xbox
Microsoft job listings back up leaked Xbox 720 specs
Xbox 720's AMD chip equals "more games", no backwards compatibility
Rumour - next gen Xbox controller practically identical to predecessor, currently sports stripes
The next gen Xbox "most likely" won't play Xbox 360 games, claims EA exec
Rumour - next gen Xbox won't run without next gen Kinect, game installs mandatory

Xbox 720 release date and price
According to the latest rumour, which comes care of the man who correctly predicted the next generation Xbox's reveal date, the new console will be sold for $499 upfront (around £320) or $299 (around £192) plus a two-year Xbox Live subscription at $10 a month. Most sources agree that it'll launch in November 2013.

Xbox 720 release date is early November 2013, two pricing models available - analyst
Cheaper, dev-friendly next gen Xbox will release in November, claims analyst

Xbox 720 games
The stand-outs include Battlefield 4, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag and Cyberpunk 2077. See below for a fuller list.
All confirmed Xbox 720 games in one place
Rumour - four next gen Xbox launch titles
"The next Halo?" Microsoft's Black Tusk studios has new IP in the can
EA and Microsoft sign next gen exclusivity deal, may involve Battlefield 4 and Respawn's new IP - report

Will the Xbox 720 require an internet connection?
This has been repeatedly rumoured by Edge, Polygon and Kotaku sources. We have our doubts - global broadband infrastructure is simply too flaky to support such a machine - but it's safe to say the new Xbox will emphasise online play rather more than its predecessor. Microsoft may still be making its mind up on this front - the most recent rumour suggests that it will let individual publishers decide whether they want their games to be always-online.

Xbox 720 games won't be "always-online" unless publishers say so - report
Microsoft creative director defends always-online consoles, trades blows with BioWare
Rumour - next gen Xbox Durango developer documents leak: "always on, always connected"

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Is Microsoft developing an Xbox Mini, codenamed Stingray?
Releasing a new, discounted "slim" or "lite" version of an existing console alongside next generation hardware is pretty routine behaviour for manufacturers, but rumours suggest Microsoft may have something more ambitious in mind for Xbox 360 - a download-centric or even download-only machine that may be optimised for casual play.

Rumour: Microsoft also planning new $99 Xbox 360

Watch this space, and by all means share your thoughts on what we know so far. Popcorn sold separately.

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