The last couple of weeks or so have seen a flurry of Xbox 720 rumors popping up all over the place. The latest ones suggest that Microsoft could be splitting the Xbox brand into multiple consoles, and that it may end up playing Xbox 360 games after all.
Let's start with backwards compatibility. Previously we reported that the Xbox 720 might not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games because of Microsoft's decision to use AMD technology instead of going with IBM again. Now, though, there are rumblings that Redmond might solve the problem by including a built-in Xenon chip in the Xbox 720, thereby making it capable of playing 360 titles.
The rumor comes courtesy of Expert Reviews, which cited leaked information from Pastebin. The site also said that the Xbox 720 won't require an Internet connection to function, which is rather different compared to everything else we've been hearing lately.
Meanwhile, the website VGLeaks claims it received new information about Microsoft's Xbox strategy last week that involves the company releasing a cheaper Xbox Mini alongside the Xbox 720. The Xbox Mini wouldn't actually be a next-gen system; like the Wii Mini, it would essentially be a redesigned Xbox 360, to be used to tackle Apple TV. The system would have no disc drive, but it would be able to play 360 games that users could download through Xbox Live. It would not play Xbox 720 games, and presumably would launch at a much cheaper price.
What's more, VGLeaks contradicts the previous Xbox 720 backwards-compatibility rumor by saying the capability wouldn't come out of the box.
"Instead, this functionality will come from the other unit that will be networked with the Durango to provide this (not unlike the DVD add-on for the original Xbox)," the site reads.
The site also states that an always-online requirement won't be necessary, and that the Xbox 720 won't block used games.
With so many rumors flying around, it's hard to know what to actually believe and what to toss aside. Microsoft refused to comment on the situation, so we'll likely just have to wait until it officially unveils the system, either near the end of May or at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.