Xbox 720 console prototype cuts tell of a stripped-down final release

This week traffic in the game console realm has ramped up, and not just because Microsoft will be releasing one half of the information necessary to understand their next release in the Xbox 720. While Xbox evangelist Major Nelson makes sure the world knows that they'll be able to watch the whole event with a Live Video Player app on Windows Phone 8, SlashGear prepares by revving up the analysis engines and thumbing through the tiplines.

While the big event starts at 1PM Eastern Time tomorrow, it becomes time here and now to see what we've got on tap. This is the Xbox 720, very possibly set to be the first Xbox since the first released at the start of this line to be named simply "Xbox." Along with it comes rumor of an Xbox Surface device, bringing on a whole new generation of Microsoft's home-made tablets aimed directly at the gaming world.

With or without the Xbox Surface, word of early prototypes has reached SlashGear's ears from sources anonymous, noting several elements as being cut or at least having been put on the cutting block and kept at the last minute for the console. One of the more important of these is a feature allowing the Xbox 720 to act as a mid-way point between your TV box and your television.

With this constantly-on feature, the Xbox would work with Xbox LIVE to give you updates and send you requests while you're watching television shows or movies. Without such a feature, the Xbox would be attached as it always has been – connected to an input on your TV separate from the rest of your devices. With an HDMI-in port on the Xbox 720, it would appear that, somehow or another, Microsoft intends to keep you at attention all the time.

The Xbox 720 has been tipped to have "Xbox TV" features both in and out of the mix in past iterations before its final presentation this summer, with Google TV boxes having acted as a guide at points here or there. With cries out for a fully games-dedicated machine from early testers of the device, it may be that Microsoft has pulled back a bit on the entertainment side of things.

It's been suggested that this version of the Xbox might work with DVR functionality as well as a TV tuner, both of these having been available as accessories for the PlayStation 3 internationally in the past. With such things built-in to the new Xbox, things could be more centralized for Microsoft in the living room than ever before.

The Xbox 720 has been suggested to be revealed in pieces, similar to what Sony is doing with with the PlayStation 4 – and both devices will have a massive showing at E3 2013, where gaming has its heyday each year.