Rumors about the next Xbox have been floating around for some time now, but now, it looks as though an official launch for the next generation of Microsoft’s uber-successful gaming console is pretty imminent.

Inside sources say that the Xbox buildings on the Microsoft campus are on lockdown, and Xbox Live’s Director of programming Larry Hryb — best known in the gaming world by his gamertag “Major Nelson” — is pretty excited about this year’s E3 Expo video game conference, to be held this summer (Jun 11-13th) in L.A.

In fact … Major Nelson is so excited about E3 that he posted a countdown on his blog on Wednesday (Jan 3), reports Gizmodo.

“And it’s on…” he wrote. Only 159 days left!

Bloomberg reported back in November that Microsoft planned on release the next version of the Xbox — rumored to be called the “Xbox 720” — in time for the 2013 Holiday season.

People familiar with the company’s plans say that the new console’s release would be planned specifically for Thanksgiving and Christmas sales.

According to rumors, the next Xbox (codename: Durango) is expected to have “four hardware cores, each divided into four logical cores,” along with 8 GB of RAM and a bevy of new features — including Blu-Ray support, TV input (as well as output), an “innovative controller” and the introduction of “Kinect 2.0.”

Are you ready for the new Xbox?

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