NEWS - Monday, July 30, 2012

(RUMOR) - Pictures Surface of New Xbox 720 Dev Kit

Photos of a next-generation Xbox development kit have emerged online. The images were first spotted on the AssemblerGames forums when a user named DaE attempted to sell the kit for $10,000. At the time, the pictures were met with heavy skepticism and many assumed they were simply a hoax.
Now, however, Digital Foundry has spoken to "multiple developers working on next-gen projects" as well as DaE himself and confirmed that the images are indeed a legitimate look at the hardware being used to develop games for Microsoft’s next-generation system.

The development kit is described as "an anonymous-looking black box" that has many parts in common with standard gaming PCs. Its placeholder dashboard contains the name Durango, a word that has long been rumored as Microsoft’s codename for the next Xbox. The dashboard’s two options are D3D11Game1 and NuiView, which Digital Foundry describes as "a simple tool for rendering camera views and data from an attached Kinect peripheral."
Kinect functionality is a logical inclusion for the dev kit, as upgraded Kinect features have been heavily rumored and job listings related to the next-gen Kinect recently surfaced.

DaE reports that the most recent round of development kits were sent out in February, with Intel CPUs and an NVIDA graphics card. He says the kit sports 8GB of RAM (though other sources say 12GB) and has a 64-bit operating system.
We haven’t been able to verify these specs, but when we last heard about the system, sources told IGN it would be six times more powerful than current-gen consoles and would feature an AMD 6000 series GPU similar to the Radeon HD 6670. That specific processor includes support for DirectX11, a feature specified in most next-gen job listings. DaE also provided Digital Foundry with a screenshot of Microsoft’s Visual Studio coding tool being used for Durango.

Whether or not DaE’s specific claims hold true, it’s no surprise that these development kits are already in the hands of developers, as we heard back in November that Xbox 720 development kits would be ready by Christmas 2011. IGN’s own sources told us that development kits for the next Xbox were continuing to be manufactured as of May and that developers expect the next generation of consoles to start in 2013.
On top of that, job listings for work on next-generation games have been plentiful recently. We’ve seen postings from Infinity Ward, Id Software and Crystal Dynamics, as well as Microsoft’s own 343 Industries and Rare. It isn’t a stretch to imagine that we’ll see plenty more in the coming months.

Microsoft has yet to officially provide details about its next console, but we’ve reached out for comment about the development kit photos. It’s worth noting that the development kit seen here is simply an early test model for developers to use and does not reflect what the actual final hardware will look like.



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