UPDATE: EA has since denied it has access to this prototype, despite originally chosing not to comment on the report. Updated story immediately below followed by original.
Yesterday Develop broke news that a new Xbox dev kit has rolled out to developers.
Our source, as well as pinpointing key details of the kits' content, said that the unit had been seen at EA and could even be talked up at E3 to 'steal Wii 2's thunder'.
EA, despite originally declining to comment, has since distanced itself from the claim report.
"This story is a total fabrication – 100 percent not true," EA vice president of communications Jeff Brown has this evening told other sites.
But just because EA is denying it has devkits (which of course the company is duty bound to do anyway if it has taken receipt of cutting edge prototypes under licensee NDA), doesn't mean they aren't real.
Our source is insistent that, regardless of whoever has possession of it, the prototype unit is real.
So that just begs the question - who does have one?
The snarky answer to that is 'no one' - but our man attests that developers have been allowed to see improved features that upgrade the device's current capabilities.
Specifics include a speedier and enhanced interface with its successful Kinect controller that means the camera kit is more responsive.
Previous rumours have also said Microsoft has a new disc format to add to the machine.
Any company that has been granted access or ownership (temporary or otherwise) to such a devkit will be honour bound to deny it.
And third-party developers, both in-house and independent, will want as much access as possible to such devices to make sure they are ready for launch.
In fact, Develop knows of at least two franchises in Europe currently undergoing production with new consoles in mind - so a next generation is coming, whether publishers and console manufacturers want us to know about it or not.
The successor to the Xbox 360 console is on desks at an unnamed Electronic Arts studio, Develop understands.
The new hardware, sent to EA last month, is a very early build with no casing – it is in fact being stored inside a PC shell.
EA developers are getting to grips with the tech to create first-generation software, Develop has been told.
“Quite often when new consoles come around they’re packaged into a PC shell, but actually what’s inside is an entirely new console,” a senior, trusted, well-placed source said.