Report: Xbox 720 (Next) powered by "core version" of Windows 8

Last month, technical analyst Paul Thurrott accurately predicted that Microsoft’s long-awaited Xbox 720 (Next) console would debut on May 21. This week, Thurrott reported that the next-gen console is powered by a core version of Windows 8.

In addition, the analyst pinpointed a November 2013 launch window, describing a two-tiered pricing plan: $300 for a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription at a monthly price of $10 or an outright purchase of $500.

Thurrott also reiterated that the Xbox 720 Next will include a Blu-ray drive and require an “always-on” Internet connection, noting that the controversial stipulation “isn’t as Draconian as many seem to believe.”

Interestingly, Thurrott now says Redmond is moving away from plans to offer a stripped-down, entertainment hub version of the Next, instead opting to launch a new, cheaper version of the Xbox 360.

Although Redmond has yet to officially confirm console specs, the Xbox 720 Next is widely expected to be powered by an AMD 8-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz graphics platform and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.