Microsoft's Xbox 360: Leaks hint that the successor to the machine will be released in 2013 - and will no longer have a DVD drive
The follow-up to the Xbox 360 is due out next year - and the machine will no longer have a disc drive, according to a source within Microsoft.
Instead, games will download to the hi-tech new console - or gamers can carry them on a memory card.
No exact release date has been revealed, but the leak lends weight to the rumour that Microsoft might show off the new Xbox at the games industry conference E3 in Los Angeles in May.
The 2013 launch date is reportedly 'confirmed'.
Nintendo will show off its 'next-generation' Wii U at the same conference.
The new Wii U console is said to be twice as powerful as Xbox 360, and Nintendo has already shown off ia tablet-style controller with a built-in screen.
Microsoft is reportedly briefing game industry partners with information about its own machine.
The lack of a disc drive is not hugely surprising - Microsoft already sells a huge amount of games via its Xbox Live internet service, and offers web-TV and downloadable films via services built into Xbox Live.
Gaming industry trade magazine MCV reported the leak from an unnamed source, who claimed the information was covered by a strict non-disclosure agreement.
'Although the console will not include a disc drive, it will offer compatibility with some sort of interchangeable solid-state card storage, although it is not known whether this will be proprietary or a more standard format such as SD,' said MCV's Ben Parfitt.
'The omission of a disc drive signifies the beginning of a new era for games consoles and represents a potentially savage blow to the already beleaguered video games retail sector.'
Nintendo's big franchises such as The Legend of Zelda remain exclusive to its consoles
Nintendo's Wii U console builds on the motion-controls of its predecessor, but adds a secondary controller with a screen