Some of the rumors on the Internets are easier to vet than others. You can tell it’s shopped because of the pixels, the claim is completely outrageous, or maybe a PR person is nice enough to come out and say something.
Digital Foundry, though, dug up a weird one.
A post appeared on the AssemblerGames forums advertising a Durango devkit for the low-low price of $10,000. The Durango is, of course, the current codename for Microsoft’s follow-up to the Xbox 360. The post included shots of the box itself and of the hardware supposedly running attached to a monitor. Without a doubt, it looks fake. There’s nothing about it that matches the public face of the Xbox. Moreover, there’s the source. Digital Foundry talked to the source of the leak, DaE, whose Twitter feed doesn’t exactly paint an image of the most reliable person you know.
The pictures depict a black box with some blue trim connected to a monitor displaying the word Durango against a black and green Matrix-style background. It looks like someone took their old Dell and put it next to a photoshopped picture. Digital Foundry, however, says they were able to talk to a few developers who are confirmed to be working on next-gen games.
The developers said across the board that these are actually accurate, real shots of the current Durango devkit.
There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence offered by the source regarding the box. According to Digital Foundry, the source says the boxes were sent out in February and feature an Intel processor, an NVIDIA graphics card, and 8-12GB of RAM. The Xbox 360 sports an IBM Xenon-based processor, while the first Xbox was powered by Intel. That shift was supposedly to keep costs down for this generation, so the shift back is curious. The same goes for the graphics. Microsoft switched from NVIDIA to AMD this generation. It’s worth noting, however that DaE indicates on his Twitter feed that “it’s an AMD.”
The screenshots shows that at the very least, if the source doesn’t actually have the hardware, he knows a bit about game development. On the photo of the running hardware, the Durango kit shows D3DD11Game and NuiView. NuiView is a tool used for rendering camera views pulled off the Kinect hardware. The screenshot he included of the actual development software was also confirmed by the developers Digital Foundry spoke with. The program, labeled Microsoft Durango Debugger, shows the same D3DD11Game as listed on the front end screen.
The hardware and the screenshots, as easy as they might be to dismiss, aren’t as silly as they look at first glance.
Pre-release devkits always look like entirely forgettable PCs. It’s not until after the hardware and design of the console are finalized that we’d see anything resembling a real console.