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November 19, 2012

Xbox World's Closing Sally Features Advance Word on the Upcoming Xbox

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

With Xbox World having something of a shelf life – the December 12 issue will sadly be their last – they've decided to pull out all the stops by putting out pretty much everything they have available for their final issue. What's in the big batch of news? As it turns out, some very exciting information about Microsoft's (News - Alert) next foray into the console gaming market, which technically hasn't even been named yet.

While technically, no one knows if the new name for the next Xbox will be the Xbox 360 2, the Xbox 720, the Xbox or any of a wide variety of possible names, the folks at the U.K. gaming magazine Xbox World have brought out a lot of fresh information – as well as some recap of old information – ahead of their December 12 shutdown. First out of the bag is the idea that the next Xbox will do what many said the current one should have, especially in light of the fact that the PlayStation 3 can already do it: Play Blu-ray discs.

Additionally, the new Xbox is also said to support a version of the Kinect motion-tracking controller, potentially even going so far as to give it its own processor. But this isn't the end of the trail for the potential offerings with the next Xbox (far from it!) as it’s also set to include both TV output and input, directional audio, a new class of controller described only as "innovative,” and even support for a kind of augmented reality glasses in the style of Google Glass.

As for the tech specs, the developer kit that's actually currently making the rounds offers a 16-core processor – four hardware cores with four logical cores each – and fully eight gigabytes of RAM, putting it on par with the best in gaming PC. By way of comparison, a top-end Alienware Aurora from Dell (News - Alert) will only pack in a six-core processor, though it can top out at 32 gigabytes of RAM.

Since Microsoft has no plans to hit the 2013 CES event at last report, the current target date for revealing this to the public seems to be the 2013 E3 event this June, with a likely eye toward getting them in stores in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

Microsoft, frankly, needs a new console in play, and it needs one in rapid fashion. With the Wii U from Nintendo already set to take over this holiday season by default, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 showing its age, Microsoft needs an impressive new system to recover the market share it may well start to lose to Nintendo.

No one wants a repeat of the Wii, which ran riot over Microsoft and Sony alike in the early going of that round of the console wars. If Microsoft's offering turns out to do half as much as the early word says it can, well, it's going to have a very good shot at coming out on top indeed.

Naturally, all of this is still somewhat up in the air, and will be so until Microsoft makes the official unveiling. But for right now, Xbox World's parting shot is going to provide plenty of food for thought.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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