When rumors surfaced that Microsoft might announce the so-called "Xbox 720" at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month in Las Vegas, speculation ramped up about what features the new console might include.
While the next-generation Xbox failed to make an appearance at the event, critics and fans were treated to some juicy gossip this week as rumors about the console began trickling out over the Internet.
We've rounded up some of the most prevalent rumors below:
Fall 2013 Release Date
According to IGN, the next Xbox should ship to retailers in late October or early November of 2013. That's about a year after Nintendo is set to release its next console, the Wii U.
Blu-Ray Player And "Kinect 2"
The Xbox 720 may come equipped with a Blu-Ray player and the next generation of Microsoft's motion-detecting Kinect system, according to Kotaku's Stephen Totilo.
"The new Kinect would contain an on-board processor, a feature originally intended for the first Kinect. That processor would enable a new Kinect to more effectively detect users' motions," Totilo wrote.
Much More Powerful Than The Xbox 360
Multiple bloggers have reported the Xbox 720 will employ next-generation processors and graphics chips that will make the console six to eight times more powerful than its predecessor and 20 percent more powerful than Nintendo's forthcoming console the Wii U, InformationWeek reports.
Initial reports from Fudzilla said the console would employ a new, 32-nanometer PowerPC chip called Oban, designed by IBM and produced by IBM and Global Foundries, as well as an ATI 7000-series "Southern Islands" GPU. But IGN followed up and reported that the GPU will be based on an ATI 6000 series from last year, which is similar to the current Radeon HD 6670.
The current Xbox 360 uses a triple-core IBM Xenon chip, and an ATI "Xenos" GPU.
Won't Play Used Games!?
For stores like GameStop that buy and sell used videogames -- as well as any gamer accustomed to buying used or trading with friends -- the most unsettling rumor about the Xbox 720 is probably speculation that the console won't play previously used discs.
"I've heard from one reliable industry source that Microsoft intends to incorporate some sort of anti-used game system as part of their so-called Xbox 720," Stephen Totilo wrote on Kotaru, adding that the source wasn't sure what technology Microsoft would use to actually achieve this.
Wired's Chris Kohler suggested the possibility that Xbox 720 games will be a hybrid of old discs, with no used-game restrictions, and downloadable single-user games like those currently sold for the iPhone, tablets and on some social networks.
"What we are possibly looking at now is an interim period in which the disc as a delivery method is still around but it becomes more like a PC game, which are sold with one-time-use keys that grant one owner a license to play the game on his machine," Kohler wrote.
For more, check out IGN's video report on the Xbox 720's rumored hardware below: