Based on pictures and purported eyewitness accounts that made the rounds of the Internet over the weekend, the console will be known as " Xbox 360."
Microsoft would not confirm any of the information circulating on the Web, saying "everything you are reading about at this point is buzz and speculation."
The console is mostly white and designed to stand on one end, will feature a wireless controller and also a remote control that appears to handle multimedia functions like audio and video playback, according to various online forums that track consumer technologies.
The console's power button has "skins," customizable appearances that can apparently be added by the user. Other peripheral devices that appeared in some of the shots include a headset and a kind of Web camera. The pictures first appeared prominently on the tech Web site Engadget.com.
On Monday afternoon, gaming and technology Web sites including TeamXbox.com, GamingHorizon.com and Engadget began to publish identical-looking lists with detailed technical specifications for the console.
Among those details were a detachable 20 gigabyte hard drive, support for wireless networking, three 3.2 gigahertz central processors, surround sound and universal support for high-definition video.Hardware Specifations:
- Support for DVD-video, DVD-Rom, DVD-R/RW, CD-DA, CD-Rom, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 cd, JPEG photo CD
- All games supported at 16:9, 720p and 1080i, anti-aliasing
- Customizable face plates to change appearance
- 3 USB 2.0 ports
- Support for 4 wireless controllers
- Detachable 20GB drive
- Wi-Fi ready
Custom IBM PowerPC-based CPU
- 3 symmetrical cores at 3.2 GHz each
- 2 hardware threads per core
- 1 VMX-128 vector unit per core
- 1 MB L2 cache
Custom ATI Graphics Processor
- 500 MNz
- 10 MB embedded DRAM
- 48-way parallel floating-point shader pipelines
- unified shader architecture
- 512 MB GDDR3 RAM
- 700 MNz DDR
- 22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
- 256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
- 21.6 GB/s frontside bus
- Mulitchannel surround sond output
- Supports 48khz 16-bit audio
- 320 independent decompression channels
- 32 bit processing
- 256+ audio channels
The sites also said there would be two tiers of the Xbox Live online gaming service, one free and one with a subscription that would offer enhanced matchmaking and customization features.
Types of Xbox Live:
Xbox Live Silver (no subscription required)
Xbox Live Gold (subscription benefits)
Features for Gold service
* Also for Silver
# Also for Offline
- Seamless transition to Xbox Live account from Xbox to Xbox 360
- Access to MMOs (additional fees may apply) *
- Free Xbox Live weekends *
- Multiplayer online gameplay
- Avatar for gamer profile * #
- Motto for gamer profile * #
- Personalized look for Xbox System Guide * #
- Offline achievments * #
- Online achievements *
- Access to other players' Gamer cards via Live *
- Cumulative gamer score * #
- Location/language profile * #
- Reputation *
- Enhanced matchmaking using above
- Skill level matchmaking
- Gameplay style profile (casual, competitive, etc.)
- Recent players list *
- Free and premium download game content *
- Free and premium downloadable movies, music, tv *
- Downloadable demos/trailers *
- Microtransactions *
- Custom playlist in every game * #
- Play music from portable devices * #
- View images from digital camera * #
- Strem media from Windows XP * #
- Interactive screen savers * #
- Track info for CDs * #
- Communication with voice, video or text *
Plenty of details remain to be revealed, including when exactly Xbox 360 will ship, what it will cost, what will be included, what games will be available at launch and whether it will be compatible with games for the original Xbox.
It was not clear if all of those questions will be answered on Thursday's MTV broadcast, or even next week at the news conference Microsoft will hold at E3, the annual games industry trade show in Los Angeles.
Microsoft said in early April it would unveil its new console on MTV, a change in tactics in an industry where new hardware has always been revealed at trade shows closed to the public. Microsoft said at the time it wanted to break that mold and drum up public enthusiasm for its new machine.
That Microsoft planned a new console this year was perhaps the worst-kept secret in the industry though, as game publishers have said over the last few months they expect a new console ahead of this year's holiday season.
The original Xbox launched a year after the debut of market leader, Sony's PlayStation 2, and that head start proved invaluable to Sony. Early on in the Xbox's life Microsoft promised it would not be beaten to market with its next console.
Sony is expected to offer some details about the PlayStation 3 at E3 next week, though the console itself is not expected until sometime in 2006.