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It’s been six years since the release of the Xbox 360 and as to be expected, consumers are anxious to tuck in to the next installment. There have been many conflicting insights with regards to which features will and which will not make the cut of the next-gen Xbox – dubbed the Xbox 720 – but a recent report from Xbox World seems pretty adamant it will feature a Blu-ray drive and offer Kinect 2.0.

The UK-based mag follows the Xbox religiously, and as well as the apparent insider information suggesting the upgraded Kinect hardware and Blu-ray drive, it also indicates there’ll be a A/V port – enabling watching and recording of broadcast TV.

Back when the Xbox 360 first arrived, Microsoft backed the main rival of Blu-ray – HD DVD. While it wasn’t supported natively, consumers could buy a separate HD DVD drive in order to watch their movies in high-definition. Unfortunately, the format – like Betamax and VHS – was trumped by Blu-ray, and with Sony offering a Blu-ray drive as standard in the PlayStation 3, the battle to secure the successor to the DVD was certainly won by the Japanese outfit.

As well as the Blu-ray drive, the Redmond company is also said to be introducing Kinect 2.0 alongside its next-gen console. The software maker has not been saying too much with regards to the upgraded motion sensing peripheral, but leaks have suggested it’ll be more accurate, offer stereo imaging, improved voice recognition, and the ability to track up to four people at once.

Microsoft couldn’t have asked much more of the original Kinect. It took off in unprecedented fashion, quickly becoming the fastest-selling gadget of all time, and if the alleged improvements bear fruit, I wouldn’t be surprised if history repeated itself once again in terms of sales.

There are plenty of other murmuring in circulation, including the prospect of a controller packing an HD display, but if we were to go through every single semi-plausible rumor, we would literally be here for hours.

The Xbox 720, which is codenamed Durango, will pack in the kind of power you would expect of a next-gen console, and although Microsoft has been looking to appeal to a wider audience, the 720 looks as though it’ll still have plenty for the hardcore gamer.

(via Cnet)

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