Rumors abounded recently about the highly anticipated Xbox 720, Microsoft's next-generation videogame console that has been subject to furious internet speculation concerning everything from its internal hardware to the number after the brand's name. The latest batch of rumors surfaced following an appearance of the Xbox 720's devkit, nicknamed "Durango," for sale on the obscure tech forum Assembler—the price at one point exceeding $10,000.
Like the software development kit (SDK) that was recently leaked for the Windows Phone 8, devkits offer a glimpse inside new hardware. But they only do so through the lens of proprietary software that third party developers will be using to make products for the new tech—apps for cellphones like the Windows Phone 8, games for an upcoming next-gen console like the Xbox 720. This picture can be highly informative since these front-end products are what most consumers will wind up focusing on, but it does not necessarily grant a comprehensive image of the new technology in its entirety. Still, given the price-tag and relative obscurity of this leak, gamers and tech writers alike mostly dismissed it as too good (or too expensive) to be true.
But that didn't stop Eurogamer's Digital Foundry from digging beyond the speculative headlines and seeking out "DaE," the eccentric and mystery-shrouded figure behind the original Assembler post. After backing up DaE's proclomations with other development sources, the report was able to verify that the copy of "Durango" initially leaked was, in fact, real, and that it was also an authentic next-generation SDK for Microsoft's upcoming gaming console. DaE even released a follow-up to his original leak to allay any suspicion of his truthfulness in the form of a screenshot of Microsoft's Visual Studio coding tool.
While the man behind the leak wasn't able to specify exact specs for the machine, he did confirm that Durango runs on an Intel CPU, Nvidia GPU and holds "more than 8BG" of memory. DaE also adds that it is a 64-bit setup designed that could easily run today's PC-based DirectX 11 game engines. His description goes on to hint at an an eight-core CPU architecture for the final mac, though by the end of it's report, Digital Foundry becomes increasingly suspicious of some of DaE's claims.
Still, it is difficult to speculate too far in any direction with the current information, as Microsoft itself will most likely release a finalized version of the devkit to game developers closer to the time of the actual console release date. And the most telling parts of the leak—concerning Microsoft's chosen hardware partnerships for its next generation of console gaming—were also the most difficult to source or verify. But confirming the "Durango" leak is nevertheless revealing of the preliminary information that's been made available to developers who are undeniably poised to begin production of next-gen games despite the veil of secrecy that's still keeping gamers and the general public in the dark.