The first credible details on Microsoft's next-generation home gaming console have finally come to light after an internal document leaked online this past weekend.
Whether the details in this document can be trusted remains to be seen, but it is worth noting that Covington & Burling LLP, the law firm that represents Microsoft, has removed the leaked document from its original home at scribd. While this doesn't confirm that the document has credibility, it certainly suggests that Microsoft has a reason to want these details buried.
As one would expect, the 'Xbox 720' is significantly more powerful than its predecessor, the Xbox 360 which was released in 2005. The purported specs can be found below, but expect the Xbox 720 to be able to play games in full 3D, true 1080HD and support even more non-gaming functionality than the current iteration of Microsoft's console.
As with the initial Xbox 360, consumers will have the option to purchase different versions of Microsoft's next gaming console although it looks like there will be more options in the future. Rather than just different options for hard drives, it looks like the entire system may be designed to be "modular design to facilitate SKU updates later in lifecycle."
The Xbox 720 is also rumored to be supporting Blu-Ray for game storage, a welcome change from the limitations of dual-layer DVD's currently employed by the Xbox 360. Gone will be the days of 3-disc games, as Blu-Ray can store more than enough data to utilize just one disc.
Microsoft's popular Kinect camera sensor peripheral will also be getting an upgrade and looks to be a pillar that the Xbox 720 will be leaning heavily on when it eventually launches. The Kinect isn't the only interesting peripheral in the Xbox 720's future, however, as the document details the very interesting Fortaleza AR glasses. These are augmented reality glasses, much like the ones that Google unveiled earlier this year. The Fortaleza glasses will be used with the Xbox 720 to provide information from the game and presumably from Xbox Live (friends online, new messages, etc?). The glasses will definitely come into play in-game, as they are sometimes referred to as Kinect Glasses in the documentation, suggesting that they will work in conjunction with Kinect.
There's no saying for sure whether this document is legitimate, but it sure seems like a lot of effort to put in just to hoax consumers. Bear in mind that even if the information is authentic, it was started in 2010 and much of it will be subject to change. The console is projected to launch next year, for around $299 depending on the bundle in question, we would imagine.