Although Microsoft has said the next Xbox won't be launching anytime soon, the rumor mill just won't quit.
Gaming blog VG247 is now reporting that Microsoft is hard at work on the next Xbox, and when it finally launches late next year, it'll come with a Blu-ray player. The device will also ship with two AMD GPUs, making it "like two PCs taped together," the blog's sources say.
Those reports aren't necessarily groundbreaking. AMD has hinted from time to time that it'll be Microsoft's partner in the next Xbox. Gaming blog Kotaku also said earlier this year that its own sources have confirmed that the next Xbox will launch with Blu-ray and not the DVD drive available in the current Xbox 360.
If the next Xbox does indeed ship with a Blu-ray player, Sony might have trouble holding back its chuckles. The company currently offers Blu-ray support in its PlayStation 3, due mainly to the fact that it's one of the founding members of the Blu-ray Disc Association, and licenses Blu-ray technology to other companies. That little wrinkle had been widely viewed as the reason Microsoft hasn't brought Blu-ray to the Xbox 360; the software giant ostensibly has no desire to give cash to its chief competitor in the gaming space.
Looking ahead, however, Microsoft might have no choice but to support Blu-ray in the next Xbox. Next-generation titles will be far more capable than their current-generation counterparts, causing them to take up more disc space. Blu-ray allows for far more data capacity, making it a near-necessity in the next generation. Sony, meanwhile, could stand to gain from that.
But VG247 believes that there's more to the next Xbox than Blu-ray and better graphics -- two likely features. The blog also said today that the next Xbox will require an "always-on Internet connection" to combat piracy. Microsoft's motion-gaming peripheral Kinect will come built-in to the next Xbox and won't be an accessory, according to VG247.
VG247 didn't provide details on what might just be the most worrisome feature rumored to be coming to the next Xbox: a ban on used-game playing. Back in January, Kotaku said that it heard from a "reliable industry source" that the next Xbox would come with a feature to ban playing used games. Microsoft hasn't confirmed that, of course, but the prospect of it is making many gamers think twice about buying the upcoming console.
"I don't normally buy used games," CNET commenter "Niceguy4186" said in January. "But if they were to do this, I would probably boycott the new system just out of principle."
Looking ahead, Microsoft says that it plans to speak exclusively about the current Xbox at the E3 Gaming expo in June. It has yet to give any indication of what it plans to offer in the next Xbox.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the latest report.