The past year of 2012 saw many features and details regarding the Xbox 720 either leaked or revealed from a number of sources, so it's time to have a look back at all we think we know about the Xbox 720.
Back at the beginning of April, an anonymous source who allegedly had working knowledge of the Xbox 720's development claimed the system will have a dual GPU setup, a four to six core CPU and it will always be on the Internet. In addition, the console will have a built-in Kinect and a Blu-Ray drive.
This rumor was acknowledged and denied by Microsoft.
It was only about a month later that another unnamed source claimed the console's were being manufactured by a company called Flextronics, which is located in Austin, Texas. IGN's source did say the systems were being made for developer use only.
What many would consider to be the biggest and most authentic piece of information that was uncovered regarding the system, would have to be the leaked Microsoft documents that were discovered during the middle of June.
The document claimed the system would be launching during the holiday season of 2013, the price of the system will be $299 and it would be supporting an upgraded version of Kinect, "Kinect 2.0."
In addition, the documents alleged the console would be sporting a Blu-Ray optical drive and would apparently be four to six times more powerful than the Xbox 360.
It also talked about featuring reality glasses, which would be called "Fortaleza," and those would be released in 2014. The bifocals would run off of WiFi and 4G connections.
A little over a month and a half later, further performance details regarding the system surfaced revealing the development kits, which had been sent out to developers, had an Intel CPU, NVIDA graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 64-bit operating system.
The system's release date had been danced around quite a bit and a report that was published back toward the beginning of August alleged the manufacturing of the system's Oban processor was experiencing shortages.
If the rumor turns out to be true, this undoubtedly would result in the system not being released next year, but an unnamed source had different thoughts to offer.
The person said, "Microsoft insiders tell us that the planned launch date is September 2013, and that is not changing without heads rolling internally."
During the middle of September, a new patent that was made available to the public, and it revealed potential plans Microsoft may have in place for a new "immersive display experience."
The system will supposedly create "user enjoyment of video games and related media experiences can be increased by making the gaming experience more realistic.
"Previous attempts to make the experience more realistic have included switching from two-dimensional to three-dimensional animation techniques, increasing the resolution of game graphics, producing improved sound effects and creating more natural game controllers," the patent said.
About a week later a new patent application revealed some new control features Microsoft could possibly be implementing in their next system.
The application filed summarizes a wearable electromyography-based controller that will supposedly measure muscle activity and will be able to control devices such as a gaming console, television, stereo, etc.
In the middle of October, a new video surfaced from Microsoft that had an employee using a gloveless wrist sensing controller, while performing demonstrations of the various actions it can execute.
The wearable device can be used as a gaming controller. An example of this is when a player mimics using a gun with their hand and the screen responds in the same way by shooting a bullet or object toward the target the person is aiming at.
Selecting objects within the virtual environment can also be done with specific hands gestures.
No line of sight to an external sensor is required while the wrist device is in use. This is contrary to the sensor that is needed for the Kinect to be utilized properly.
Not all of the revealed content has been promising for the new system, as the beginning of November yielded a newly discovered Microsoft patent that pointed toward heavy content monitoring from the technology giant.
The patent went on to discuss things by saying, "Content is distributed to consuming devices, such as televisions, set-top boxes and digital displays, with an associated license option on the number of individual consumers or viewers allowed to consume the content.
"The limitation may comprise a number of user views, a number of user views over time, a number of simultaneous user views, views tied to user identities, views limited to user age or any variation or combination thereof, all tied to the number of actual content consumers allowed to view the content," the patent states.
Price is certainly going to be a concern for gamers when they consider purchasing a new Xbox 720; and toward the end of November there was a certain report that came up and pointed toward a high price for the new system.
The report stated "the price [that has been] mentioned [is] around 400 to 500 Euros or your region’s equivalent."
In case you were wondering what the dollar conversion above would be, In Entertainment is suggesting the Xbox 720 would cost somewhere in the $510 and $638 range.
Shortly after that, a new feature surfaced discussing how Microsoft will try and implement some form of what the Wii U has with its GamePad.
"One very interesting detail revealed in the CVG report is that the new Xbox will feature an 'innovative' controller. While this could simply refer to new motion controls being included in with the classic Xbox controller design, it’s safe to say that gamers could be worried that Microsoft will try to re-invent the current, perfectly good, controller design.
"The Wii U GamePad may be an innovative controller, but it’s unlikely that Xbox gamers will want to use something that heavy for the type of multiplayer gaming the Xbox is famous for," the report stated.
At the near end of November, another Microsoft patent filing was released that pointed to the company's own form of augmented reality glasses.
"One example of this is the augmentation of football games to display a first down marker superimposed on a playing field in a broadcast television event, and the broadcast of replays both on broadcast television and large displays at the venue of the event.
"When attending live events, spectators may be provided with screen displays augmenting the performance.
"This augmentation can include instant replays and language translation. Such augmentation causes the user to divert their gaze away from the event toward the display device," the filing reads.
Finally, this past December saw a massive amount of alleged information spill onto the web discussing all of the important features the 720 could have.
"[Xbox 720 is] slated to be the most powerful out of all the next-gen consoles. [It will be] about 4 to 6 times more powerful than Wii U and 2 to 3 times more powerful than Playstation Omni. The project has gone through many name iterations and will not be decided on until shortly before it’s E3 unveiling.
"They are thinking of 'soft launching' it Holiday November 2013 and then have a full blow out in the summer. All units will come with Kinect 2 built in which can track up to four people, all objects in the living room, clothing, face structure and fingers. It can also understand different voices and has its own PPU.
"In 2014, Microsoft will introduce the 'LiveWall,' a omni-projection unit that will allow game environments to be projected nearly 360 degrees around the user. Using Kinect 2, they have two demos of one that is a battlefield RTS and one that is a kung-fu game with guys attacking all around.
"The LiveWall can also project different images on the wall, so people can play different games on different walls. Microsoft is prepared to champion this unit as a cheaper and more effective alternative to wearing a 'goofy, stupid VR' headset to combat Sony’s Omniviewer while Sony is going to point out the low resolution quality and the lack of privacy.
"The system is going to be very expensive in the $499 range so Microsoft is planning on using a remodeled Xbox Live (Possibly renamed X-Box Life) [and will] offer a Pro (Gold) subscription [with a] two or three-year contract to sell with the unit at $300 – $399.
"The final goal with the tech is to shrink the system on a chip down enough so it can be put into tablets, PCs and Smart TVs so that all devices are Xbox ready," the report stated.
Not much of this has been talked about from Microsoft; however, it provides people with an interesting look into what the Xbox 720 could be bringing to gaming when it launches potentially next Fall.