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For many gamers, the current release cycles of consoles is simply not frequent enough. The market leaders – Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 – are both several years old, and while many gaming fans are content running on old hardware, the majority are looking to the future in anticipation for what’s next.

There has been quite a significant amount of talk with regards to Microsoft’s next console, dubbed the Xbox 720, with all manner of specs and details arriving at frequent intervals. Over the weekend, a supposed Xbox 720 "Durango" dev kit cropped up on a secretive forum, and on the face of it, looks much like a normal PC tower running your standard debug launcher.

Of course, skeptics latched onto the striking resemblance to a standard PC, questioning its authenticity, but at such a point where Microsoft isn’t giving much away, we need to take whatever we can get. The prototype supposedly packs in an Intel processor, NVIDIA graphics, as well as more than 8GB of memory.

According to EuroGamer’s Digital Foundry, which did its homework on the leaked hardware including liaising with developers, the system is indeed genuine, and the leaker, operating under the pseudonym "DaE," reckons Microsoft’s next-gen console will pack in an eight-core CPU, as well as Blu-ray, true 1080p and native 3D output.

Anticipated to be around six times as powerful as the current Xbox, it will be an all-round entertainment hub, as the Xbox 360 has become over the years. Previous Dashboard updates have seen the 360 turn from a simple gaming platform to a social, streaming media, music and web service – appealing to all members of the family in the process.

A short while ago, there was rife talk of Redmond-based Microsoft releasing two separate entities, one being a fully-fledged console, with the other being an entertainment-focused unit for families and casual gamers looking for all-round entertainment. Such rumors appear to have died down of late, though, and the Xbox 720 is expected to arrive late next year, in time for 2013′s holiday season.

With Microsoft having offered an insight into the future of Kinect, it’s a great time to be an Xbox fan, and although much of what’s been gathered is simply rumor, it appears as though the next-gen Xbox will continue the market-leading form shown by its predecessor.

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