Microsoft recently stating on the record that the Xbox Durango/720 won’t be officially announced at E3, and likely not until next year, has done little to quell the constant stream of “insider sources” reporting this, that and the other about the next-generation console. The trend continued today. Tipsters informed VG 24/7 that Redmond-based Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox 360’s successor during the holiday 2013 season. That wasn’t all they had to say, either: the next Xbox will also feature a Blu-ray drive and two GPUs if these informants are to be believed.

Today’s release whispers are in line with what some previous industry canaries have been singing, but they fly in the face of the 2014 launch scuttlebutt that has arisen from other loose lips that sink ships, and they certainly don’t match up to the 2012 reports that some deep throats had falsely reported prior to the console-maker’s assertions to the contrary. The lesson here is that while game console rumors, while fun, are a bunch of bologna as often as they are legitimate leaks. On top of that, even legitimate leaks can end up being inaccurate down the road when the manufacturer in question changes its strategy in response to technology developments, movements by the competition, cost issues or any of a great number of other factors.

Nevertheless, VG 24/7’s contacts tell them that Microsoft has released current details on its machine to key third-party partners. When the third Xbox supposedly hits stores in 2013, it is said that dual GPUs will be holstered at its hips. “It’s like two PCs taped together.” No word yet as to what type of tape MS is planning to go with, but here’s hoping for duct or better.

According to the latest batch of blabbermouths, the Xbox 720’s dual units will be configured a bit differently than your average PC equipped with a duo of GPUs. Instead of working in tandem to draw the same thing, Durango’s units will be capable of drawing separate items at the same time. Neat. The cards themselves will on par with AMD’s 7000 line, but will not be CrossFire or SLI.

For those who missed the speculation, last week’s rumor peddlers talked up the yet-to-be-unveiled competitor of the unannounced next Xbox: the Sony Orbis (PlayStation 4). Word is that Sony’s next console will also rely on AMD for its GPU as well as its CPU. No manufacturer was mentioned in connection with Durango’s CPU, but it will supposedly have “four or six” cores, with one being used solely for Kinect and another for the OS. Speaking of Kinect, the motion-sensing tech could be built right into the next Xbox from the start, negating the need for a pricey peripheral.

A Blu-ray drive and Kinect sensor won’t be the only new additions under the hood, either. The final rumor that bubbled to the surface earlier today posited that the Xbox 720 will be required to be online at all times in order to combat pirated software. Previous rumors have also stated that both Sony and Microsoft will have some sort of system in place for preventing or hindering the playing of used games on their systems.

Whatever ends up being in the retail version of Microsoft’s next console, it is looking increasingly likely that it will have to make it in there in time for a 2013 launch. Of course, not Microsoft has hammered out the final release date yet, though. Sony isn’t going to let something so trivial prevent them from feeling “confident” they can beat Microsoft out of the gate, however. The Japanese console-maker is said to be calling Microsoft out, claiming that its Orbis will go on sale before Durango.

That’s everything that managed to flow forth from the next-generation sieve today before it was plugged up. The temporary stopping of leaks didn’t come a moment too soon: thesauruses everywhere are now down to emergency reserves of synonyms for “source” and “rumor.”

Source: VG 24/7